land’s first soccer league was organized in 1906 and when the American Amateur Football Association was formed in1912, it became an affiliate. The United States Football Association was formed in 1913 and was admitted into FIFA the same year. The Cleveland League, immediately joined the United States Football Association and was responsible for promoting intercity play and organizing Ohio competitions pursuant to accepted rules and procedures. In January, 1915 the Cleveland League was superseded by the Ohio State Football Association as an affiliate of the United States Football Association. This new organization collected together all the teams and leagues in Ohio and plans were announced to hold a state championship.

By 1930 Cleveland had become one of the strongest soccer centers in the United States and 1931 was the year in which Northeastern Ohio crowned its first National Champion, Goodyear of Akron. The Wingfoots defeated the Black Cats of New Bedford, Massachusetts 2-0 at Seiberling field in Akron in the National Amateur Cup final. A Northeastern Ohio team repeated as National Amateur Cup Champion in 1932 when the Shamrocks of Cleveland defeated Santo Christo of New Bedford Massachusetts 2-1 on May 1 at Slavia field in Cleveland. The accomplishments of Northeastern Ohio’s teams during the Golden Age of Cleveland Soccer would not have been possible without the efforts of dedicated men who gave unselfishly their time during an era when Cleveland was a bustling industrial center. Two of these men were Robert Butland and William Angus.

 

Butland, who came to Cleveland from England, helped start soccer as a member of the Sons of St. George and became the first president of the Britannia Soccer Club in 1908. In 1917 he became the president of the Ohio State Football Association. William Angus, who learned his soccer in Aberdeen, Scotland, became a member of the Ohio State Football Association when it was founded in 1915. His first position was Secretary of the Cleveland League which he assumed in 1912. He was Chairman of the National Amateur Cup competition for USFA in 1932 when the Shamrocks became National Champion.

 

Soccer in Cleveland experienced a period of decline from 1933 until 1945 but Bill Angus served on the Board of the United States Soccer Football Association as Treasurer and John MacEwen was Third Vice President and also Secretary of the Ohio State Soccer Association. It was symbolic of soccer’s decline in Cleveland that MacEwen moved to Detroit in May, 1940 and was replaced by Emil Klaas.

 

Soccer in Cleveland underwent a Period of Revival from 1946 until 1966 under the leadership of individuals who had been involved in the game for many years. One such man was Colin Commander who was given the first Mr. Soccer title in 1958 by the Ohio State Soccer Football Association and the Cleveland American Soccer League. Commander was Secretary of the Ohio State Soccer Football Association from 1950 until 1961.  He was Secretary of the Cleveland American Soccer League from 1949 until 1961, National Amateur Cup Commissioner, served on the United States Soccer Football Association Publicity Committee and was a member of the United States Soccer Football Association Olympic Committee. Cleveland’s growth in soccer during this period was mainly due to immigration from Central Europe, where effects of the Great War displaced millions of people. Ethnic clubs from Germany, Italy, Hungary, Poland, Ukraine, Croatia and Serbia quickly formed teams and leagues for their members in both adult and youth soccer. Their energy and their enthusiasm spread this relatively new sport in the US to all segments of the population. Eventually with the rise of professional leagues, soccer became a permanent part of the Cleveland sports scene. Most local high schools and colleges today have soccer programs for their students and staff.

 

Also receiving the honor of being named Mr. Soccer of Ohio were Joseph A. Kadar in 1959 and Olympio Sam Pedro in 1960. Kadar served as Ohio Commissioner of the National Cup, President of the Cleveland American Soccer League and President of the Ohio State Soccer Football Association. Sam Pedro was Registrar of the Cleveland American Soccer League.    

 

The Early Modern Period of Cleveland Soccer began with Cleveland’s hosting of the 51st United States Soccer Football Association’s National Convention. Cleveland had also been the site for earlier conventions in 1923, 1929 and 1937. The dates of the convention were June 30, July 1 and 2, 1967. One of the highlights of the Convention from the perspective of Clevelanders was the election of Colin Commander to the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Commander became Secretary of the Ohio State Soccer Football Association in 1948 and was in his nineteenth year in 1967.

 

Other officers of the Ohio State Soccer Football Association in attendance at the convention were Joseph Kadar, President, Joseph Semetko, Vice President, Emil Klauss, Treasurer, David Lieberman, Commissioner of Referees, James Mitchell, State Coach, and Otto Thuransky, Junior Commissioner. When elections were held for the Ohio State Soccer Football Association in 1968, Colin Commander and J. A. Kadar were reelected to the positions of Secretary and President. Frank Csore was chosen as Vice President, Adam Hetzel as Treasurer and Gianfranco Borroni, as Publicist.

 

Gianfranco Borroni would remain active in the Ohio Soccer Association North (OSAN) until the present time along with Dr. John Gyekenyesi who became President of the Lake Erie Soccer League in 1972. He has also been serving as President of OSAN for 23 continuous years, while Gianfranco led the entire USSF Adult Division for 8 years. Other long term current members of OSAN Board are Blaz Pesorda, Kalman Toth, and Regina VanVorous, with a new addition in 2014, John Raguz. Andy Spiranovich is currently serving as Cup Commissioner and Tom Chapman has been State Referee Administrator for many years. Dr. John Gyekenyesi, Gianfranco Borroni and Blaz Pesorda have been inducted into both the USASA and Ohio Adult Soccer Hall of Fame, in appreciation for their long service to the US and Ohio soccer families. Kalman Toth, Regina VanVorous, Andy Spiranovich and Tom Chapman are also proud Ohio Adult Soccer Hall of Fame members.

 

Note:

For those Readers who are interested in more Cleveland Soccer, please see 

HISTORY

GOING BACK IN TIME

  

Three Historians Discussing Past Local Soccer Events With Their Publications

 

 

L-R; John Gyekenyesi, Chuck Murr and Tom Hatfield (with his 930 pgs. book on Cleveland Soccer)

ORGANIZATION OF SOCCER IN OHIO NORTH

 

Cleveland’s first soccer league was organized in 1906 and when the American Amateur Football Association was formed in1912, it became an affiliate. The United States Football Association was formed in 1913 and was admitted into FIFA the same year. The Cleveland League, immediately joined the United States Football Association and was responsible for promoting intercity play and organizing Ohio competitions pursuant to accepted rules and procedures. In January, 1915 the Cleveland League was superseded by the Ohio State Football Association as an affiliate of the United States Football Association. This new organization collected together all the teams and leagues in Ohio and plans were announced to hold a state championship.

 

By 1930 Cleveland had become one of the strongest soccer centers in the United States and 1931 was the year in which Northeastern Ohio crowned its first National Champion, Goodyear of Akron. The Wingfoots defeated the Black Cats of New Bedford, Massachusetts 2-0 at Seiberling field in Akron in the National Amateur Cup final. A Northeastern Ohio team repeated as National Amateur Cup Champion in 1932 when the Shamrocks of Cleveland defeated Santo Christo of New Bedford Massachusetts 2-1 on May 1 at Slavia field in Cleveland. The accomplishments of Northeastern Ohio’s teams during the Golden Age of Cleveland Soccer would not have been possible without the efforts of dedicated men who gave unselfishly their time during an era when Cleveland was a bustling industrial center. Two of these men were Robert Butland and William Angus.

 

Butland, who came to Cleveland from England, helped start soccer as a member of the Sons of St. George and became the first president of the Britannia Soccer Club in 1908. In 1917 he became the president of the Ohio State Football Association. William Angus, who learned his soccer in Aberdeen, Scotland, became a member of the Ohio State Football Association when it was founded in 1915. His first position was Secretary of the Cleveland League which he assumed in 1912. He was Chairman of the National Amateur Cup competition for USFA in 1932 when the Shamrocks became National Champion.

 

Soccer in Cleveland experienced a period of decline from 1933 until 1945 but Bill Angus served on the Board of the United States Soccer Football Association as Treasurer and John MacEwen was Third Vice President and also Secretary of the Ohio State Soccer Association. It was symbolic of soccer’s decline in Cleveland that MacEwen moved to Detroit in May, 1940 and was replaced by Emil Klaas.

 

Soccer in Cleveland underwent a Period of Revival from 1946 until 1966 under the leadership of individuals who had been involved in the game for many years. One such man was Colin Commander who was given the first Mr. Soccer title in 1958 by the Ohio State Soccer Football Association and the Cleveland American Soccer League. Commander was Secretary of the Ohio State Soccer Football Association from 1950 until 1961.  He was Secretary of the Cleveland American Soccer League from 1949 until 1961, National Amateur Cup Commissioner, served on the United States Soccer Football Association Publicity Committee and was a member of the United States Soccer Football Association Olympic Committee. Cleveland’s growth in soccer during this period was mainly due to immigration from Central Europe, where effects of the Great War displaced millions of people. Ethnic clubs from Germany, Italy, Hungary, Poland, Ukraine, Croatia and Serbia quickly formed teams and leagues for their members in both adult and youth soccer. Their energy and their enthusiasm spread this relatively new sport in the US to all segments of the population. Eventually with the rise of professional leagues, soccer became a permanent part of the Cleveland sports scene. Most local high schools and colleges today have soccer programs for their students and staff.

 

Also receiving the honor of being named Mr. Soccer of Ohio were Joseph A. Kadar in 1959 and Olympio Sam Pedro in 1960. Kadar served as Ohio Commissioner of the National Cup, President of the Cleveland American Soccer League and President of the Ohio State Soccer Football Association. Sam Pedro was Registrar of the Cleveland American Soccer League.    

 

The Early Modern Period of Cleveland Soccer began with Cleveland’s hosting of the 51st United States Soccer Football Association’s National Convention. Cleveland had also been the site for earlier conventions in 1923, 1929 and 1937. The dates of the convention were June 30, July 1 and 2, 1967. One of the highlights of the Convention from the perspective of Clevelanders was the election of Colin Commander to the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Commander became Secretary of the Ohio State Soccer Football Association in 1948 and was in his nineteenth year in 1967.

 

Other officers of the Ohio State Soccer Football Association in attendance at the convention were Joseph Kadar, President, Joseph Semetko, Vice President, Emil Klauss, Treasurer, David Lieberman, Commissioner of Referees, James Mitchell, State Coach, and Otto Thuransky, Junior Commissioner. When elections were held for the Ohio State Soccer Football Association in 1968, Colin Commander and J. A. Kadar were reelected to the positions of Secretary and President. Frank Csore was chosen as Vice President, Adam Hetzel as Treasurer and Gianfranco Borroni, as Publicist.

 

Gianfranco Borroni would remain active in the Ohio Soccer Association North (OSAN) until the present time along with Dr. John Gyekenyesi who became President of the Lake Erie Soccer League in 1972. He has also been serving as President of OSAN for 23 continuous years, while Gianfranco led the entire USSF Adult Division for 8 years. Other long term current members of OSAN Board are Blaz Pesorda, Kalman Toth, and Regina VanVorous, with a new addition in 2014, John Raguz. Andy Spiranovich is currently serving as Cup Commissioner and Tom Chapman has been State Referee Administrator for many years. Dr. John Gyekenyesi, Gianfranco Borroni, Blaz Pesorda and Tom Chapman have been inducted into both the USASA and Ohio Adult Soccer Hall of Fame, in appreciation for their long service to the US and Ohio soccer families. Kalman Toth, Regina VanVorous and Andy Spiranovich are also proud Ohio Adult Soccer Hall of Fame members.

 

Note:

For those Readers who are interested in more Cleveland Soccer, please see

  • “History of Soccer in Greater Cleveland from 1906 until 1981”,Thomas Hatfield, outskirtspress, 2014

  • “History of Cleveland Soccer, Wikipedia Free Electronic Encyclopedia

  • “Soccer in Northern Ohio”, Lake Erie Soccer League 1972 Yearbook

  • Various Cleveland Professional Soccer Team Game Programs, Media Guides, especially those of the Cleveland Stokers, Cleveland Cobras/Stars, Cleveland Force, Cleveland Crunch and other less known Cleveland Teams.

  • Cleveland Newspaper Files and Records for the Years in Question.

 

USSF Affiliated Cleveland/Ohio Soccer Is More Than 100 Years Old

 

At the 2013 USSF Centennial Annual General Meeting in Washington D.C., OSAN was recognized as a Founding          Member of  USSF in 1913 through The Cleveland Association Fotball League Membership one hundred years ago.           A Plaque and Certificate was issued to OSAN to commemorate its 100 years of affiliation with US Soccer. (see below)

 

USSF Certificate Showing 100 Year OSAN Membership

USSF Plaque Commemorating the Cleveland League and OSAN Centennial Anniversary

USSF Issued Charter Membership Plaque to OSAN

OSAN Delegation at the 2013 USSF Centennial Meeting in Washington D.C.

L-R; Andy Spiranovich, Blaz Pesorda, Kalman Toth, Dr.John Gyekenyesi, Gianfranco Borroni and Thomas Chapman

Front: Cindy Toth and Iren Gyekenyesi

© 2019 Ohio Soccer Association North

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