A History of The Old Timers Soccer Association of Maryland,
There is little documentation relating to the association’s
early beginnings. The concept is believed to have originated with
early associates in Philadelphia and it was they who provided the
format of which the present association was founded. It has been
said that in 1951 J. Eugene “Gene” Ringsdorf, Paul Trautner
and Charles “Spike” Zeiler were the first to propose
an assembly of soccer enthusiasts to form a Maryland association.
This first assembly met in Baltimore and chose Frank Heinle to be
their first president. In 1952 the first Hall of Fame Dinner was
held in Highlandtown at the Santa Maria K of C Hall. This dinner
was attended by many of Maryland’s soccer notables and was
reported to be “quite a bash”. Subsequent dinners were
held each year until 1957 after which they were suspended for reasons
that remain unclear to this day. There apparently were differences
between key members of the soccer community that prevented selections
for the Hall of Fame, however, the association’s members continued
to meet socially at different locations in East Baltimore including
Buettners Restaurant, Ikendrantz Restaurant and the Baltimore Kicker’s
Club. Traditionally the association has held regular membership
meetings twice a year. It is not certain what the original qualifications
for membership were, however, some type of recommendation was probably
required and prospective members had to be at least 35 years of
age. The association functioned more like a club and there is little
evidence of any formal structure. Several promotional activities
were held including matches arranged between high school athletes
in Baltimore and Philadelphia.
In 1980 there was a renewal of interest in the Hall of Fame largely
due to the influence of Raymond G. “Granny” Kraft and
Gene Ringsdorf and the association resumed the induction of athletes
into what was known as the “Old Timers Soccer Association
of Maryland Hall of Fame”. Inductions were limited to five,
living, active members of the association. During Ray’s tenure
as president the John A. Schmid Award was instituted to honor those
who had provided outstanding service to the game. The annual dinners
were shifted to the Overlea Hall and subsequently to Tiffany East
to accommodate the increased attendance.
The elections of 1993 promised significant changes when a new executive
board took office under the leadership of Nick Kropfelder. By 1994
we were sanctioned by the Maryland State Soccer Association as the
official sponsors, promoters and guardians of the Maryland Soccer
Hall of Fame and the title of the hall of fame was changed accordingly.
(This sanctioning has subsequently been withdrawn). That same year
the new board took action to provide for the first posthumous induction
of a candidate and non-members were declared eligible for induction.
The number of candidates eligible for induction was changed to six.
Coincident with these changes, the age of eligibility for membership
was reduced to 30 (subsequently reduced to 21) and our welcoming
of females into membership changed our “for men only”
status. By 1995 the association had filed Articles of Incorporation
with the State of Maryland and became a corporate body governed
by officers and an executive board. By 1996, a filing was made with
the I.R.S and we were granted tax-exempt status (I.R.S. 501.C).
By 1996 we experienced a surge in membership, which ultimately took
our rolls up to approximately 350. Interest in Hall of Fame Night
picked up and we found it necessary to secure a larger facility,
ultimately settling in the Columbus Gardens in Fullerton where we
continue to hold our annual inductions to this day. Our Hall of
Fame dinner has evolved into a celebration of soccer where we not
only honor the inductees but also recognize the male and female
high school players of the year, an outstanding referee and a state
youth coach of the year. Nick Kropfelder served a 3-year term and
was succeeded by Willie Rush for a very brief period.
In 1999, Albert Salkowski was elected president. Under Al’s leadership, additional steps
were taken to improve the association. In 1996, it was stated that
Maryland should have a physical location to permanently enshrine
our Hall of Fame inductees and in 2003 a fundraising campaign was
begun to secure the necessary funds for this project. With the cooperation
of Mike Woodard at the Du Burns Arena and the carpentry skills of
Greg Watson, this project became a reality on May 13, 2006 when
the hall of fame cabinets and nameplates were formally dedicated
in the entrance foyer of the arena. Sixty-two donors contributed
over $4,000.00 to provide the financial support necessary to complete
the work and to provide for future additions. A second cabinet serves
as a display case for soccer memorabilia and artifacts associated
with the history of the game in Maryland.
On May 12, 2006, the first female member of the Maryland Soccer
Hall of Fame, Alfredda Iglehart, was inducted posthumously, thus
opening a new era of innovative approaches to recognizing Maryland’s
soccer greats. The principal of Francis Scott Key School and a dozen
of Ms. Iglehart’s former athletes accepted of the honors.
The Maryland soccer community should be proud that six of its members
have been inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame, two of
its members have been inducted into the National Referee Hall of
Fame and one hundred sixty nine of its members have been inducted
into the Maryland Soccer Hall of Fame during the past 50 years.
For over 61 years, the Old Timers Soccer Association has carried
out its mission of promoting the game of soccer, providing fellowship
among the members of the soccer community, preserving Maryland’s
soccer history, and honoring those who have achieved excellence
in the game by their play on the field or their service to its purposes.
In addition, we have provided financial support to such worthy endeavors
as Special Olympics Maryland Soccer, the Brian Hunt Memorial Tournament,
Kicks Against Women’s Breast Cancer, renovation of the Bonvegna
Field, the Maryland High School All-State Match, and the East Baltimore
Hispanic Soccer Program. The Walter Cohen College Scholarship Fund
provides financial assistance to two high school athletes through
the proceeds from the annual Bull/Oyster roast.
Our association is currently at the crossroads of its existence.
Many of the older members have passed on and left the future up
to younger people who will hopefully carry on the work done in recent
years. We are convinced that there are at least 500 soccer veterans
in the Maryland area who potentially have an interest in our association.
There is an obvious need for an association of our type. Communication
with our soccer veterans will always be a top requirement and no
other body has the ability to rally the entire soccer community
together in the bonds of friendship, which we have forged over the
years. Membership is open to all who meet our simple criteria: interest
in the game, acceptance of our objectives and meeting the minimum
Old Timers Soccer Association Of Maryland, Inc.
Celebrating 54 years of Dedication and Service to the Maryland
President . . . . . . . . . . . .Bill Schonowski
Vice President . . . . . . . . Fran McGrath
. . . . . . . . . . . . .Tom Bailey
. . . . . . . Len Lewandowski
Hall of Fame Selection Committee
Tom Bailey, Chair
Association Contact: Tom Bailey