BRICK TOWNSHIP SOCCER ASSOCIATION
The Brick Town Soccer Association held its first meeting at the Junior Sports League building. There were sixty-five members. Tryouts were held in March and one team was formed. They played their first league game in April beating Neptune 4-2. Movies were taken of the game and shown at a later membership meeting. A second team was formed later in the year. Within a few months the club was incorporated.
A search of the township was conducted to locate a soccer field site for the club. Properties in Herbertsville and Osbornville were looked at before the present site on Sullivan Road was found. On August 27, 1971 President Bob Smith and Vice President Don Dunseath signed a lease with VFW Post 5698 for a ten year period.
Through the joint efforts of members from the club and the Brick Jaycees, many hours were spent in clearing the land. Township equipment assisted in making the field level and by December 1st the grading stakes were hammered into the ground.
Work on the field continued as club business was conducted. The club bought uniforms for the teams which were passed from player to player and from team to team.
In the spring of 1972 Mrs. Marie Smith was selected to make a club flag. Mrs. Pat Smith improved on a design by Mrs. Bobby Bornschein and our present club patch was adopted. In April Pat Smith published and mailed the first issue of the club newspaper. The first shoots of grass were seen on our new field in May.
In July 1972 the first two lighting poles were erected. By December, with the Jaycees’ help, all eight were up.
The fall of 1972 saw the by-laws amended, player insurance initiated, the first tag day occur netting $488.52, and a resolution adopted to present annually a trophy to a high school soccer player with high academic grades.
Four teams were entered in competition for the 1973 spring season, two in SSA and two in Monmouth-Ocean. Chuck Wieboldt’s “under 17” team won its division in SSA.
The field was seeded again in March and would be playable by the end of May. The membership elected to celebrate the opening of the field by holding a tournament there. The tournament has since become our annual Memorial Day tournament. The 1978 event accommodating 192 teams was the largest tournament ever held in the county.
Around this time, Pete Marousis, one of our charter members, donated lifetime office space to the club in his new PM Plaza building on Route 88 West. (On February 21, 1978, the building was consumed by fire and many irreplaceable trophies were lost, in addition to furniture and some papers, including the club’s scrapbook.)
By the fall of 1973 floodlights appropriated by the Jaycees from Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia had been wired and installed on the poles. The club then gave permission to the town’s Recreation Department to hold their fall program at our field under the lights. (The Recreation Department had been very helpful to the club in its early days.)
Club patches had been received in July and sold at cost to the members. In October 1973 the club authorized the purchase of traveling patches for the teams traveling out of state to exchange with their opponents.
Formation of the club’s first girls’ team was authorized in 1973.
At the January 1974 membership meeting Al Anderson began period of expansion and growing pains by making a motion to begin a spring intramural soccer program. It became an instant success, complete with a clinic for six year-olds.
The first three girls teams, ‘59, ‘61, and ‘63 went into action that spring, posting creditable records with one team even going undefeated (6-0-1). The Memorial Tournament ballooned to 22 teams with some of our own teams walking away with championship trophies.
During this period, the VFW area became the best accommodated soccer field in two counties.
In February Don Downs and Pat Maher, using borrowed chain saws, felled every tree across the road from the VFRW building; Pete Marousis bulldozed the area clean and Jack Liddy put the finishing touches on our new parking lot by grading it with a borrowed machine.
Fill was brought in and raked into the field, followed by grass seed in April, and green shoots in May. Ron Madge hand-painted our club shield and installed it outside our office at PM Plaza that same month. (President Jack Liddy salvaged its charred remains in ’78 with the intent of re-installing it once we re-settled there.)
Bargains began descending upon the club beginning in September. Don Downs and Chuck Wieboldt motored to the Trenton area and returned with gates, top rail and metal fence posts at a fraction of cost. More bargains popped up in Metuchen and North Brunswick. Pat Maher joined Chuck and Don in November and three trips later the club had ample fencing to close in the field and entrance lane, two sets of bleacher supports, and a large supply of structural aluminum.
For the next four months Mr. Downs’ cellar converted into a machine shop. He emerged in April ’75 with two perfect sets of goals made from the aluminum. They were quickly installed thus replacing the wooden ones.
Joe Scarpelli was instrumental in arranging for our present refreshment stand. It has been a vocational school project and was donated and delivered to the field by the Board of Education. A foundation pad was poured and the little building was rolled onto the pad in April. Bob Koches wired the stand and Gene Fogler did the alterations. Steve Lioumis later extended the pad in front of the counter to reduce the dust.
The growing pains continued as the club approved the entry of five “second” boys’ teams into league competition for the ’75 fall season. The expansion continued until the ’78-’79 season when the club’s league entries totaled 23 teams (16 boys and 7 girls).
In eight years the membership grew from 65 to more than 200, the players from 32 to 375 on tournament teams, and intramurals to more than 500. The teams competed in many leagues, exhibitions and tournaments, winning their share of trophies and establishing the BTSA as a club to be reckoned with. They traveled to Florida, Canada, Ohio, Massachusetts, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Long Island to display their skills and faced opponents from as far away as Great Britain, Germany, and Mexico.