Joe Krische, Joseph Fink, Siggi Stritzl, Arnold Mausser, Erhardt Kapp, Michael Windischmann, Dragan Radovich, Gus Cerri, Gary Kresse, Sima Stancu, Dario Brose. They are some of the greatest soccer players this country has ever produced. And they all came out of the Blau Weiss Gottschee Soccer Club.
BW Gottschee got its start in 1951, after a group of Austrian immigrants who had settled in the Ridgewood and Glendale sections of Queens, New York sought to recreate the spirit of their homeland by forming a soccer club. They wound up doing a lot more than that: Through the success of both their men’s and juniors’ programs, BW Gottschee has elevated the level of soccer being played in the U.S.
The club first made its mark during the 1955-56 season, when its Men’s First Team won the German American Soccer League’s Second Division Championship. This victory earned the squad promotion to the Major Division, and with an explosive front line led by the Loske brothers, Helmut and Walter; Charley Pfister; and Siggi Gudzenties, as well as a defense anchored by future U.S. Soccer Hall of Famer Willie Schaller and Joe Krische, the Men’s First Team regularly drew crowds of more than 2000 to Metropolitan Oval throughout the 1950s and 60s, winning the G.A.S.L. Major Division Championship in 1962-63.
During the same time, BW Gottschee’s youth soccer movement—which started with Junior (U19) and Intermediate (U16) squads before adding a Boys’ progam in 1961— was also enjoying remarkable success. In 1955, the U19 team won the Eastern U.S. Championship, and because there was no national final that year, was declared a U.S. Co-Champion. The U19 teams would go on to win a record number of 19 League Championships, including eight straight from 1968-1975; the New York State Cup a record 15 times; and the Eastern U.S. Championship in 1955, 1958, 1970, 1974 and 1975.
BW Gottschee’s Junior movement celebrated its greatest triumph on August 18, 1985, when the U16 team, lead by Ben Boehm and Martin Petschauer, won the U.S. Championship in Las Vegas, Nevada, becoming the first team from the New York/New Jersey area to claim the title. At the time, this breakthrough achievement solidified the club’s reputation for having what many soccer coaches still consider to be the best youth program in the eastern U.S.
Today, much about Blau Weiss Gottschee has changed. Its teams, once comprised entirely of immigrants, now feature a majority of U.S. born players, and instead of playing in the German American Soccer League they participate in the Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League. And as of 2001, the mud bowl that was Brennan Field (located in Middle Village’s Juniper Valley Park) is now a state-of-the-art facility featuring a “field turf” surface.
What remains the same, however, is the club’s commitment to success. Blau Weiss Gottschee remains one of the nation’s largest and most successful clubs thanks in large part to the high level of volunteerism by coaches and select parents. In addition, it has continued to expand interest in soccer through its girls program (featuring GHS, U13, U11 & U10 teams) and an intramural division (for children ages 4-9). Perhaps most important, the club has been selected by the U.S Soccer Federation to be one of only 64 clubs, now 75, to play in the newly formed U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy Program, ensuring that Blau Weiss Gottschee will remain a soccer force for years to come.