1963 – Around the World and Close to Home

President John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington, D.C., Beatlemania breaks out across America with the hit "I Want to Hold Your Hand," and zip codes are introduced to the U.S. mail system. Seattle’s Jim Whittaker becomes the first American to summit Mount Everest, Boeing’s 727 takes off on its maiden flight from Renton, the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge opens to traffic across Lake Washington, and the Washington Huskies win six of the last seven games to reach the Rose Bowl.


When Balint Ducz promoted his Hungarians by successfully bidding for a Pacific Coast League franchise, the stakes were raised. The magnificent Magyars left a state league where they were unrivaled against amateurs to a setting in B.C. where the semi-pros around Vancouver and Victoria were already battle-hardened and every bit the equal of Seattle’s best.

While Ducz knew it was going to be a challenge on the field, week in, week out, he was also the first to bet on fan support from throughout Puget Sound. After all, Sunday afternoon matches at Lower Woodland Park were regularly ringed with hundreds and, sometimes, thousands of spectators. There was no gate, no admission and no bleachers, although they might drop a coin or two in the box of Eddie Craggs, who produced the weekly program.

In the PCL, with added costs of travel across the border, including cruises aboard the Princess Marguerite to Victoria, the Hungarians needed to charge admission. Ducz, whose bakery was in Burien, settled in White Center Stadium as the club’s home field. It featured some covered seats and capacity for 2,000. The problem: it was a dozen miles from the region’s soccer epicenter, Woodland Park. Furthermore, once they arrived, they would need to pay for the privilege of watching the finest league north of California and west of St. Louis.

It was not just a change in scenery. Ducz upgraded the roster, adding striker Alex Bogdan from Portland, Tommy Major from Victoria and Zoltan Mako of Denver.

During that first season, the Hungarians would often draw praise and fans – but only on the road. At home in White Center, the turnouts were comparatively paltry. By spring 1963, Ducz was growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of a following. Still, he and the Hungarians stuck with it, returning to the PCL for a second season in 1963-64.

Elsewhere, the University of Washington, in its second season as the state’s only varsity program, opted not to play simultaneously in the state league. Instead, the Huskies scheduled a seven-game slate versus collegiate opposition in British Columbia (varsity) and Oregon (club).

Northwest Champion
Loyal Realty Vikings 8:0 Germania (Ore.)
State Men's Champion
Loyalty Realty 3:0 Germania
State Knockout Cup
Seattle Hungarians 2:0 Germania

1963: Self-Promoted

After dominating the state league, Seattle Hungarians become the first American side to join the semi-professional, B.C.-based Pacific Coast League.

Vikings Deny Huskies in Five-a-Side
April 7, 1963

Loyal Realty follows its state league title with a win over the surprising University of Washington A team in the Five-a-Side final at West Seattle Stadium. Matti Niemela scores the final's only goal. Twenty teams played 19 15-minute games. Washington’s team consisted of young players from Turkey, England, Israel, Spain and Mexico, with Dick Aguirre, a UW football star, being the latter.

Pausing to Remember JFK
November 24, 1963

Play is postponed throughout the state league and the Hungarians’ PCL match is also called off as the nation mourns the assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas two days earlier.

Hungarians Fit to be Tied
December 1, 1963

Mike Kuczi’s last-gasp equalizer gives the Seattle Hungarians their fifth draw in 10 games to open the Pacific Coast League campaign. They Magyars catch North Shore, 1-1, at White Center to stay in fourth place (2-3-5). Tommy Major’s penalty kick midway through the second half hits the post. Steve Furjesi, fouled prior to the penalty, crosses to Kuczi to knock home from 5 yards.

Washington Rules Oregon, Again
April 21, 1963

A hat trick from Reidar Olsen helps propel Seattle’s Loyal Realty to an 8-0 win over Portland Germania as Washington retains the Northwest championship. Matti Niemela and Fred Kristiansen score two goals apiece at Lower Woodland. Washington holds bragging rights over Oregon for the 12th straight year.

Seattle Rules Oldershaw
December 8, 1963

Bill Miller’s three goals in a 4-1 second leg away victory are the difference as Seattle’s CYO All-Stars retain the Oldershaw Cup in the annual series with British Columbia’s North Shore. The aggregate score is 6-1. Seattle had won the home leg, 2-0, two weeks earlier on scores from Miller and Mike Langdon.

Germani Sponsor Film Screening
January 17, 1963

Germania Club of state first division offers a public screening of the epic 1960 European Cup final at the German House on Seattle’s Ninth Avenue. For nearly everyone who attends it is the first viewing of the 10-goal classic won by Real Madrid, 7-3 over Eintracht Frankfurt, before 127,00 at Glasgow’s Hampden Park.

Vikings Lose Their Leader
March 30, 1963

Loyal Realty club president Einar Larson, 58, suffers a fatal heart attack while watching his Vikings in a Knockout Cup match at Lower Woodland. Larson, a small newspaper publisher and advertising executive during his career, was prominent in Swedish community affairs and was trying to bring a Swedish club to play in Seattle. Born in Korsnas, Sweden, he immigrated to Spokane in 1923 and moved on to Seattle in 1942.

PCL Proves Challenging
May 5, 1963

After running roughshod over the state league for two seasons, Seattle Hungarians’ first season in the Pacific Coast League is only good enough for sixth (5-11-4). Hungarians are the only U.S. entry in the eight-team PCL.

Germania Takes Second Half
March 17, 1963

The biggest crowd of the season sees Germania become the first German team to win a state league trophy with a 3-2 comeback win over Loyal Realty to clinch the second half crown at Lower Woodland. The Vikings (6-2-0) cancel out Bert Lerch's opener with early second period goals by Fred Kristianson and Matti Niemela. Walter Schmetzer knots it and Heinz Ritter fires home from 25 yards with two minutes left for the Germania (7-1-0) winner.

College Only for Huskies
November 30, 1963

Washington draws, 1-1, with British Columbia at Lower Woodland, completing a seven-game season (3-2-2) exclusively versus collegiate opposition from Canada (UBC, Victoria and Royal Roads) and Oregon (Portland State).

Germania Clinch First Half
November 17, 1963

A combination of Germania’s thrashing of Fort Lewis and United Hungarian good fortune clinches the first half state league championship. Germania (6-1-0), after winning the second half of 1962-63, defeat Fort Lewis away, 6-3, behind Heinz Ritter's hat trick. Meanwhile, Heinrich Bruenig's counterattack score for United Hungarians eliminates Loyal Realty with a game remaining. Ritter leads the league with 14 goals.

International Incident
February 17, 1963

A Pacific Coast League between the Hungarians and Victoria United is abandoned with three minutes remaining due to a melee. Police responded and escorted the officials from the field after the referee was allegedly attacked by a Seattle player while a linesman was reportedly struck by a fan. Victoria had been leading, 4-1, at the time play was halted. One member of the Hungarians was later suspended indefinitely and charged with assault.

Magyars Win Domestically
April 28, 1963

Les Fabri opens the scoring in the 35th minute and Mike Kuczi’s 30-yard blast midway through the second half seals it as the PCL Hungarians avert a Germania upset in the Knockout Cup final, 2-0. Willi Lindner makes a diving stop of Germania's Peter DiValentine before Fabri strikes on a header from Tommy Major.

Vikings Conquest
March 24, 1963

Behind the two goals of Fred Kristianson, first-half winners Loyal Realty beat second-half victors Germania, 3-0, for the first division championship and the Puget Sound Power Cup. Reidar Olson completes the scoring in the second half.

Aging Star Hits for Six
September 8, 1963

Former Buchan star Merle Mjelde, 36, scores six goals for Black Watch Thistle in a state second division, 9-4 win over Frank’s U-Serve. Black Watch, who feature a black and green tartan in their strip, are sponsored by the Black Watch Regiment, whose band and pipers regularly play at local events. George Goers, a state league veteran like Mjelde, scores two. Mjelde achieves another six-goal game two weeks later.

Soldiers Moving Out
December 9, 1963

Fort Lewis withdraws from state league’s first division after seven games. The Soldiers are unable to field a team following mass reassignments and deployment of personnel, many of them part of escalating U.S. involvement in Vietnam. The sudden subtraction prompts league officials to suggest that Black Watch Thistle move up from the second flight, however they refuse.

Richmond Wins Junior Title
April 8, 1963

Richmond Highland Warriors win the second half title and with it the state junior league championship by drawing, 3-3, with Wallingford Green. Richmond also won the first half.

Finally, A Field of Their Own
February 14, 1963

Seattle Parks Department approves configuration for Interbay sports facility. The $100,000 project features the city’s first dedicated soccer field. Other sports will not be allowed on the pitch, to be built upon the northern portion of the old sanitary landfill.

St. George Wins Fourth Straight CYO
December 1, 1963

St. George gets a second-half goal from Jim Lester to edge St. Anne, 1-0, to claim a fourth straight CYO Cadet championship in a replay at Lower Woodland. The two teams tied 3-3 Nov. 28 following two 15-minute overtime periods. Bill Miller scored two in regulation for St. Anne. St. Joseph wins Midget title, 7-0, over Assumption.

It is my money I’m spending, and this is really no business of certain individuals who have been so ready to criticize. It’s help – such as a playfield, players, and spectators – we need instead of the criticism we have been getting.
Balint Ducz, Hungarians sponsor, on criticism of drawing poorly while playing in Pacific Coast League
The game can be played from ages 6 to 40 there are 11 men on a side, in constant motion rules are simple equipment is inexpensive and can last for 10 years if cared for properly.
Stanford professor Leo Weinstein on why Europeans appear to be in better physical condition than Americans
We are not interested in seeing Hungarian sponsor Balint Ducz lose money on this soccer venture and having to play the games at White Center can only result in a loss. The Seattle club must get a centrally located enclosed park which can be turned into a regulation sized soccer field and which is in easy reach for the soccer fan. We want Seattle in our league, but they must have a satisfactory field.
PCL commissioner Bill Findler, after the Hungarians lose $5,500 in their first season
Ironically, the Magyars are an attraction when they play in Vancouver where their style of soccer is greeted enthusiastically by the Italian and Hungarian communities in that city.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s Ron Tullis on Hungarians’ attendance woes, which may force the club to withdraw from the PCL
1962-63 Hungarians PCL Results
2 St. Andrew's3
1 Vancouver Firefighters3
1 at Victoria United2
2 Vancouver Pilseners2
1 Vancouver Canadians3
1 at Columbus3
0 Royal City3
4 North Shore United2
1 Victoria United1
3 Royal City2
0 Vancouver Pilsener0
6 Columbus4
3 Vancouver Canadians1
2 North Shore United3
2 Vancouver Firefighters2
2 at Vancouver Canadians3
0 at Columbus2
4 at North Shore United0
1 at Royal City2
0 at Vancouver Firefighters4
On this Day in History
July 27, 1977
Tommy Ord scores the Sounders’ historic first hat trick in 4-1 win over Connecticut Bicentennials at New Haven’s Yale Bowl. All three goals come from less than 6 yards out. It's the first career hat trick for Ord, who had been acquired from Vancouver only eight days earlier. His two first-half goals come 74 seconds apart. Barely two minutes into the second half Ord makes it 3-nil. He assists on David Butler's late as well.
More from 1977 ›
July 5, 1969
Eddie Craggs, instrumental in growing and organizing the local game since arriving in 1947, is voted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Known as The Gaffer, he is the state's third inductee (Craggs accepts the award several weeks later, in Miami). Craggs was the longtime secretary of the state senior association and supervised the state league doubleheaders at Lower Woodland Park. He also managed the Fremont Boys Club which then morphed into perennial senior power Buchan Bakers.
More from 1969 ›
August 23, 1998
Dick McCormick assists on a record five goals and Mark Baena scores multiple goals for the sixth time as the playoff-bound Sounders rout Albuquerque, 9-0, for their fourth straight win. McCormick's cross finds Erik Storkson's head for 2-0 in the 26th minute. Four minutes later, he finds Baena for the first of his three goals. Storkson and Patrick Beech, who headed in a McCormick second-half corner, added two goals each.
More from 1998 ›
June 8, 2016
Fall City's Chief Kanim Middle School begins renovations on its playing field, in large part thanks to the Snoqualmie Valley Youth Soccer Association. The new artificial turf surface will be lighted, enabling year-round play. SVYS contributed $1 million to the $2.1M project that replaces a sod surface which has deteriorated significantly since opening in 1991.
More from 2016 ›