Self-Promoted

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 Magyrs 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).

ADULT AMATEUR
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.

Magyrs 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.

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).

Washington Rules
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Vikings Conquest
March 24, 1963

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

Youth: Seattle Rules
December 8, 1963

Bill Miller’s three goals in 4-1 second leg victory are the difference as Seattle’s CYO All-Stars retain Oldershaw Cup in series with British Columbia’s North Shore (6-1 aggregate).

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.

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
Ironically, the Magyrs 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
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
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
September 30, 2009
Cor van der Meer, founder and former longtime coach of men’s and women’s soccer at Community Colleges of Spokane, dies after a lengthy battle with lung cancer at age 74. Van der Meer was regarded as Spokane’s Mr. Soccer. He was CCS men’s coach for 20 years and 11 for the women. He also founded a five-a-side tournament now marking 25 years.
More from 2009 ›
May 20, 2007
Washington State Youth Soccer Association moves girls club soccer from the fall to the spring, Feb-April. It will impact roughly 2,000 players in the U15-U19 age groups in the Washington State Premier League and Washington State Youth Development League, and comes partly in response to the WSYSA seeing decreased participation in its older age groups.
More from 2007 ›
April 28, 1957
First-half strikes from Pat Brown, George Goers and Mike Kligerman get Buchan Bakers on track for the Northwest championship. The Breadmen hang on for a 3-2 victory over Portland Vikings at Catholic Memorial Stadium.
More from 1957 ›
January 20, 1988
Michelle Akers, who prepped at Shorecrest and now plays for Central Florida, is named the college player of the year by the NCAA and the National Collegiate Soccer Coaches Association of America. Akers scores 11 goals to help UCF reach the NCAA quarterfinals. Also named to the Division I All-America team were Lori Henry of North Carolina (Shorewood), Colorado College's Kerri Tashiro (Interlake) and Shelley Separovich (Shorecrest), and California's Kathy Ridgewell (Evergreen).
More from 1988 ›