Heidelberg soccer still kicking after 103 years
The Heidelberg Soccer Club formed in 1916 when a group of Heidelberg boys organized a team. In 1927, Heidelberg was the first Western team to win the National Amateur Challenge Trophy by defeating the Eastern champions, the La Flamme Cobblers of New Bedford, Mass.
Later, the U.S. Football Association honored the Heidelberg team by selecting Berk Jones to be a member of the 1936 U.S. Olympic soccer team. Newspaper articles dubbed the team “The Golden Tornados” and called Heidelberg “The Soccer Capital of the United States.”
In 1921, the Heidelberg Tornados were Keystone League Champions and won again in 1934, 1936-37, 1946, 1955 and 1968-70. In 1955, they became the first Western Pennsylvania team to win the Keystone League, the National Open and the West Penn Conference titles all in the same year.
They went on to become 10-time champions of the West Penn Cup. They won the 1927 Soccer Football League Championship trophy in the former Pittsburgh Press League. Many other titles have been won over the years as well.
Craig Drinkhall, long involved with local soccer at Heidelberg and in South Fayette, became concerned more than 10 years ago when he learned that much of the club’s history was being lost as players and coaches moved away or became deceased. He began scanning old photos and news articles, setting up the club’s website in 2006, and then went on to help revitalize the club. He became president of the group’s board of directors, now reorganized with a new written constitution and set of bylaws.
Games are usually played at one of the school fields in the Chartiers Valley School District, Heidelberg Park or South Fayette High School Stadium. The club has an over-30 team, an over-40 team competing in the Pittsburgh Masters Soccer League, and an over-50 team competing in the Super Masters Soccer League of the PA West Adult Division. Their over-30 and over-40 teams were division playoff finalists in 2018. Playing at Highmark Stadium in downtown Pittsburgh, the over-50 team won its first-ever title with a 2018 win over their rival team from Harmarville.
The club also holds several social events, including an annual Married vs. Singles Game where the Singles won 3-2 on a 90-degree day this past July 4. Their second Annual Turkey Bowl was played this past Thanksgiving Day at Collier Park.
The club is constantly adding to its database about the club’s history, player information and championship details and welcomes contributions of photos, old uniforms, news articles, historical information and more.
Visit heidelbergsoccer.com for more information.