NFR: This is Sparta! A Piece of Chicago Soccer History

Discussion in 'Chicago Fire' started by Pablo Chicago, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. Pablo Chicago

    Pablo Chicago Member+

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    I was doing a little research on the history of soccer in Chicago and thought it would be interesting to put a few pins on a map with a little information about dates and events.

    Chicago Soccer History Map

    Clubs touring the states and Canada in the 20s and 30s typically stopped in Chicago and when they did they usually played two games; one against a group of "all stars" and one against Chicago Sparta. I'm not sure when the first "All-Star" team was conceived, but Chicago took the best from each team in the area to play a game against the Pilgrims from England in 1905.

    Chicago Sparta went up against, and sometimes beat, clubs from around the world including:

    • Palestra (Italy)
    • The Mexican Army
    • Audax (Chile)
    • SK Kladno (Czech)
    • Atlante FC (Mexico)
    • Maccabees (Tel Aviv)

    Anytime a large crowd was expected, games got moved to larger venues like Soldier Field, Comiskey Park, and Wrigley, but a lot of games were played at Sparta Stadium (21st and South Kostner), which to the best of my knowledge could seat up to 10,000.

    Sparta Field is mentioned in some Chicago Tribune articles from 1921 and there are several references to Sparta Stadium from 1920 - 1953. It was a bit of a mystery to me why there was no mention of Sparta Stadium after 1953, so I looked up the intersection on Google Maps and the street view shows a picture of a vacant lot from 2009.

    I had a hard time finding out what happened to the stadium until someone turned me onto www.historicaerials.com. I was able to view aerial pics of the intersection taken in 1938, 1951, and 1962. The 1938 shot shows a field marked for soccer and covered grandstands that run along the southside. The 1951 shot shows a field that looks more like a sandlot and half of the grandstands are gone. The 1962 shot shows a newly paved parking lot.

    I drew a diagram overlay on the site where Sparta Stadium once stood so anyone that is interested can see how it was set up.

    The map also includes a pic of the stadium where the first association rules game was played in Chicago in 1893. The first thing that jumped out at me about the pic was the grandstands on either side of the field faced in the same direction. The grandstand on the right looked out over the water where a channel had been dug for rowing competitions.

    One other tidbit of information, the Corinthians (England) played their first night game under the lights of old Comiskey Park on September 11, 1911 and pummeled a group of Chicago All-Stars 11-1. Not sure when the first night game of soccer was every played, but that's got to be close.
    3 people repped this.


  2. ceezmad

    ceezmad Member+

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  3. Pablo Chicago

    Pablo Chicago Member+

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    ...not to dismiss their domestic accomplishments:

    Chicago Soccer League Champs

    1928
    Every year from 1930 - 1936
    1938

    Peel Cup Champions

    Every year from 1928 - 1933
    1937

    National Cup West Finalist

    1927
    1929
    1933
    1936
    1938
    1939
  4. Pablo Chicago

    Pablo Chicago Member+

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    1926 team pic at Comiskey Park when they played Hakoah Vienna:

    [​IMG]

    1926 Program and team pic:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Pics courtesy of Frank Berwyn and The Frank S. Magallon Collection.


  5. chiladd

    chiladd Member+

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    to tie some current Chicago soccer to some history.arne freidrichs former club hertha Berlin used to be one of more popular clubs in the post war years in the Chicago German community.they played numerous tours here in the 1950s and one year played the us men in front of 20000 at one of the high school stadiums I think.
  6. chiladd

    chiladd Member+

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    heck.I think hertha and Chicago have a long back and firth history.I seem to think a bunch of sting player played there.and arne is the second fire player to have played there (Tony sanneh).
  7. Pablo Chicago

    Pablo Chicago Member+

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    More Sparta stuff:

    [​IMG]
  8. Brad Cox

    Brad Cox Member

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    Cool thread here. I love reading up on history. Especially if it's local and sports related. Isn't there still a Chicago Sparta team in the USASA? Not sure they're they same team as in this thread or just a new team that came about though.
  9. jprendiville

    jprendiville Member

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    I know that Sparta ABA existed until (at least)the late 80's. Most of the players were from the Berwyn/Cicero area.
  10. Pablo Chicago

    Pablo Chicago Member+

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    I've updated wikipedia to add information regarding international friendlies and Sparta Stadium.

    Chicago_Sparta
  11. Chris M.

    Chris M. Member+

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    It would be awesome if you are able to track down pictures of the stadium/Sparta in action at their 21st and Kostner ground.
  12. Pablo Chicago

    Pablo Chicago Member+

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    [​IMG]

    Chicago Tribune - September 3, 1928

    Sparta went on to beat Palestria Italia, the Italian champions (according the the Tribune article) 5-1 in front of 5,000 at Sparta Stadium (despite the adverse weather conditions).
  13. Pablo Chicago

    Pablo Chicago Member+

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    [​IMG]

    Chicago Tribune September 7, 1947

  14. Pablo Chicago

    Pablo Chicago Member+

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    [​IMG]

    Chicago Tribune September 8, 1947

  15. Pablo Chicago

    Pablo Chicago Member+

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    [​IMG]

    Aerial view of Sparta Stadium in 1938 (courtesy of www.historicalaerials.com), the year Sparta won the National Cup Challenge (US Open Cup).
  16. Pablo Chicago

    Pablo Chicago Member+

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    Street View from Google Maps taken in April 2009:

    Google Maps

    Tried to post an image from Google Maps without success. If anyone know how to do it, please post. If anyone is driving by this spot, please take a pic and post. Thanks in advance.
  17. Pablo Chicago

    Pablo Chicago Member+

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    The Chicago Reader just wrote an article on Chicago Sparta.

    Zoom In: Little Village

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