Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, January 17, 2016, pg. 5
One of Albionís major ethnic groups in the late 19th and early 20th century was the Germans. Many families from the Pomerania area (eastern Germany, now part of Poland) settled here after the Civil War. Many of the factory workers at the Gale Manufacturing Company were Germans, and many settled on the western part of our city. There was a German Society club in town, consisting of men who had previously served in the German army. Members of this club bore surnames such as Haeske, Ott, Thurow, Kopp, Schmidt, Schultz, Polzin, Holtz, Thurow, Miller, and Lambrecht. There is a photograph that exists of this group posing for the Memorial Day parade in 1900.
Did you know however that there was a German soccer club here in Albion? Soccer is one of those "imported" sports that didnít catch on here in America until recent years when it was promoted as a safe alternative to American football. It was a main sport however back there in Europe and so a German Athletics Club was organized here in the 1920s consisting of the sons of local German immigrants and interested persons. Manager of the soccer team was Fred Bartel, Sr. The uniforms looked like striped referee uniforms.
A press release about the team printed in the mid-1920s proclaimed: "Albion was able to register a win in the league tournament soccer game held last Sunday in Jackson. After a tough struggle, as the 3-2 result indicates, in which the decisions of the referee played a big role, the team from Jackson had to admit their defeat. The vistory was secured by fantastic passes by team members Eisenwein, Layrer, and K. Schonmann, as well as with fast and sure attacks from midfielders E. Pichard and J. Eichelberger."
Continuing, "They were assisted in the effort by the brilliant defense of the brothers M. and L. Kritschgrau. The rest of the team also did their best. Only the referee seemed not to acknowledge the superiority of the German team, and it seems as if we even had to make a brawl out of this purely German soccer contest. It was through unity and perseverance alone, despite many obstacles, that we were able to take the victory which our athletic achievements so richly deserved. Donít beg, donít ask, Just carry on the brave fight. German Athletics Club of Albion."
From our Historical Notebook this week we present a 1925 photo of the team, labeled the "Albion Rovers" on the back, courtesy of Fred Bartel, Jr. Front row, kneeling, left to right: Fred Schoenmann, Arthur Rossin (captain), unidentified, Mike Kritschgrau, Norman Whitehouse. Top row: Thatís Fred Bartel, Sr. standing on the far left with white shirt. Players: Unidentified, Richard Wellington, Leonard Kritschgrau, Harold Wagoner (goal keeper), Karl Laske, George Williamson, Conrad Schoenmann, and unidentified coach standing on the far right.
The German Soccer Club in 1925
All text copyright, 2020 © all rights reserved Frank Passic