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SOCCER GAINS GROUND IN AMERICA By HORST BUSCHHOLZ [[image]] RALPH PIPER and his wife Zora U.S.A. have been conducting courses in physical education in Burma during the past year. Here Mrs. Piper is seen conducting a class in exercising routine at Rangoon University. Her classes cover a number of sports and recreational activities and the most popular is square dancing. AFTER long years in obscurity, soccer has finally gained recognition in the United States as a spectator sport. Soccer will probably never surpass the popularity of baseball, America's great national sport. Still there have been occasions when such large crowds have gathered to watch soccer that ardent baseball fans have been wondering what happened to their game. New York is the biggest soccer centre in America, and Downing Stadium on Randall Island, just North of Manhattan, is jammed time and again by 25,000 fans cheering their favourite elevens. A match between Isreal's[[Israel's]] Olympic soccer team and a New York selection last year drew 45,000 people to the Yankee Stadium. These attendance figures may seem insignificant when compared to the crowds of 100,000 and odd frequently recorded in Europe or in South America. But soccer in the United States only recently became a truly "American" game, played by players born here. For years it was a game of immigrants and naturalised[[naturalized]] citizens, an import sort of tolerated, but not really taken seriously. Only twenty years ago the United States Olympic squad was made up entirely of foreign-born players who learned the game in their own homelands, but last year at Melbourne, the United States soccer Olympians were all American-born. However, the foreign accent on soccer is still here. In the semi-professional American Soccer League, for instance, clubs have such names as the Brooklyn Italians, the Polish Falcons and the Newark Portuguese. Soccer in New York springs from "old country" fraternal societies, which still operate teams under the name of the organisation[[organization]]. The German-Americans play regular series for annual cups and are particularly strong in the East. New York is also the home of the Swedish, Greek, Danish and Norwegian soccer clubs. Of the more than 50,000 registered players in the United States, New York has about 5,000. In addition there is at least twice as many junior players, and in the State of New York and surrounding states the figure probably reaches four times as high. America's second soccer city, St. Louis, has some 4,500 active players. The main soccer sponsoring body there also runs youth clubs in and outside schools in a vast area around the city. Chicago is third in soccer importance. Thus the main interest for soccer centres in these three cities and their neighbourhoods, but interest is wide also out in the far West, where regular Division play is schedules just as it is in the East. Of course, these areas do not see any crowds to speak of, but the ardent fans brave wind and rain when their favourite team is scheduled to play. Many of baseball's luminaries started out kicking the ball, and soccer fans point out with both pride and sorrow to the immortal Babe Ruth, of the New York Yankees, who palyed[[played]], soccer while at St. Mary's School in Baltimore, Maryland. Said one soccer enthusiast: "What a wonderful soccer start he would have made." Yogi Berra, a current Yankee baseball celebrity, first touched a ball in St. Louis. It was a football. With the crowds increasing, and more people taking an active interest in soccer, American newspapers appear to be forced to give the game space. But with a few exceptions, soccer is seldom featured on the sports pages. New York tabloids did not even bother to mention that Kutis of St. Louis became the United States champions this year. But they are coming along slowly, as soccer gains ground. They should, for they have had plenty of time. According to one source, soccer was introduced to Harvard, Yale and Princeton universities back in 1840. [[left margin]] 30 [[/left margin]] [[right margin]] NATIONAL SPORTS [[/right margin]] STELLA WALSH TO COACH AMERICAN ATHLETES FOR NEXT WORLD OLYMPICS By Harrison Crawford FORTY-FIVE-YEAR-OLD Stella Walsh one of the world's greatest women athletes, today lives and works in the Los Angeles suburb of North Hollywood, and her interest in the world of sport is still very much alive. A participant in five sets of Olympic Games and Women's Olympiads, Stella makes use of her athletic proficiency in the business world. She was born Stella Walasiewiczwona in Wierzchownia, on the old Russian-Prussian border. Her parents were peasant-farmers. Her father, an ardent Polish nationalist, foresaw impressment into the Russian Czarist Army at the outbreak of the first world war and fled to the United States with his wife and Stella, who was then fourteen months old. There was a playground near the family's home in Cleveland, and as Stella grew older she took advantages of its facilities. She won titles as the playground champion in such sports as baseball, roller-skating, ice-skating and track. When The Cleveland Press, a daily newspaper, sponsored a girl Olympics meet to find competitors for the Olympic Games of twenty-nine years ago, which were held at Amsterdam, sixteen-year-old Stella was one of the one thousand four hundred girls who participated. She claimed first place in the fifty-yard dash, equalling[[equaling]] the United States record of 6.1 seconds. As a result of this victory she became Cleveland's representative at the Olympic try-outs at Newark, New Jersey. The third fastest contestant in the one-hundred-metre dash, she was chosen for the Amsterdam Olympic team, only to be disqualified. later because her parents had not become American citizens. Twenty-seven years ago, invited to the Women's World Olympics at Prague as a competitor, she won three gold medals. Largely as a result of this outstanding performance, Miss Walsh competed in the Olympic Games of twenty-five years ago as a member of the Polish team, setting a new world record in the one-hundred-metre dash. Her over-all international athletic record is phenomenal. In 1930, at Prague, she won the sixty-metre, one-hundred-metre and two-hundred-metre runs; in 1932, at Los Angeles, she was first in the one hundred metres; in 1934, in London, she was victorious in the sixty metres and placed second in the one-hundred-metre and two-hundred-metre runs; in 1936, at Berlin, she placed second in the one hundred metres, and in 1938, at at Vienna she won the one hundred metres, and two hundred metres and placed second in the running broad jump. Stella attributes her athletic success to the fact that she has competed against male competitors frequently in practice sessions. In Cleveland she used to run against Jesse Owens when the latter was a secondary school athlete. "After performing against that type of competition I found it easy to outdo most of my feminine rivals," she recalls. Twenty-five years ago Stella met the late Babe Didrikson Zaharias, another all-time great women athlete, in a broad-jumping meet at Dallas, Texas. She broke the United States record on her first jump, and the Babe at her first attempt, did even better. Both athletes kept outperforming each other until the sixth and last jump, which Stella won. As a commissioner for women's sports in the South Pacific Association of the Amateur Athletic Union of The United States she administers a programme to develop new athletes. In this capacity she was responsible for grooming two girls for the last Olympic team, Earlene Brown, the American champion shot-putter and discus-thrower, and Irene Robertson, the American recordholder for the eight-metre hurdles. Commenting on the American women's increasing interest in athletics, Stella says: "They're beginning to understand that you can't be just a week-end competitor. European women athletes train every day. If American women hope to compete against them successfully they'll have to follow the same routine." Miss Walsh, already selected as a trainer-coach for the next United States Olympic team, hopes that in the next years her instruction will benefit those of her pupils who have aspirations to compete in the Games at Rome. [[image]] STELLA WALSH demonstrates the form that made her one of the outstanding broad jumpers in the world. This 45-year-old athlete, also a sprinter competed for Poland in the 1952 and 1956 Olympics. She is now an athletic instructor for a toy company in California and will coach American athletes for the 1960 Games.
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