Polonia Sport Club, Inc
10200 West Loomis Road
Franklin, WI 53132
Polonia Sport Club
of Franklin, Wisconsin
CELEBRATING 64th ANNIVERSARY
2014 mark’s Polonia Sport Club’s 64th Anniversary. Over the years, the organization has played a leading role in both the Wisconsin soccer and Milwaukee Polish communities.
In the 1950’s, Polonia’s soccer games and social events were a meeting place for a new wave of Polish immigrants entering the United States following the end of World War II. The Club seemed to attract a younger, very cohesive generation of new Polish-Americans. Under Stanislaw Antosiewicz, the organization’s first president, the motto became “a healthy spirit in a healthy body.”
Polonia soccer players proudly wore the red and white colors of their beloved homeland as they competed against other ethnicities on the soccer fields of Wisconsin. Newspaper clippings tell of the hundreds of Polonia fans, dressed in their Sunday best, cheering on their team.
In 1965 the Sport Club purchased its own property on 12th and Arthur in Milwaukee. This soon became a meeting place for the Club’s supporters.
This permanent club facility and the accompanying growth of the Club resulted in success on the soccer field. Morale and confidence at an all-time high, the Polonia Major team finally achieved the lofty goal of winning the Wisconsin State Soccer Championship in 1968, and again in 1969 and 1970, along with most of the other state tournaments.
Since then, Polonia has added various state, division and indoor trophies to its list of accomplishments. Polonia players can be found on the rosters of various state all-star teams. Polonia’s players have gone on to play on high school, college and professional teams.
John Bocwinski, a Polonia player, represented the United States 13 times on the United States National and Olympic teams. John played on the United States Olympic soccer team at the ill-fated Munich Olympics. In 2007, he was inducted in the United States Soccer Hall of Fame. As John would agree, a feather in the cap of the whole club.
Induction into the Wisconsin Soccer Association Hall of Fame is the highest award presented in Wisconsin soccer. Besides John Bocwinski, Polonia inductees include: John Joachimczyk, Stanley Stadler Sr., Henry Wawrzyniak, Andy Krupa, Stan Szmidt, George Foszpanczyk, Carlos Alvarez, Emmerich Mueller, Stan Kaczmarek, Jerry Panek, Richard Kilps, John Janasik, Dan Stadler, Joseph Beskidniak, Tadek Bista, and Ramiro Alvarez.
In 1978, under the leadership of President Henry Matecki, Polonia purchased 23 acres of land in Franklin, Wisconsin. Unprecedented in United States soccer history, Polonia became the first soccer club to own its own facilities. To this day, Polonia Franklin remains the envy of Polish soccer clubs across the continent. Thanks to the donations, fundraising efforts and the determination of Polonia’s members and directors, this land has become the site of numerous soccer, social, and cultural events.
In 1985, Polonia Franklin played host to the first Annual North American Polonia Soccer Tournament. Mr. Matecki and Polonia Franklin played a key role in developing what is now an annual Polish soccer extravaganza. Polish teams from the United States and Canada, and sometimes Poland, play for trophies and bragging rights in various age groups. Besides hosting this tournament five times, Polonia Franklin has also organized many, many other youth and adult tournaments.
Another source or pride for the Club has been its youth soccer program. Scores of kids, of many ethnic backgrounds, have benefitted from the existence of Polonia Franklin. A pioneer in the development of youth soccer in the 1950’s and 1960’s, Polonia has had teams in recreational, competitive and select levels. These kids have been proud to display Polonia’s colors while competing across the United States. Having even been nationally ranked, Polonia’s players have been awarded college athletic scholarships. Third generation players are now entering the ranks of the adult teams. As the Club’s founders grow older, it is their wish that the torch be passed on to these younger generations. Surprisingly, today Polonia finds itself especially active in the area of girls’ soccer. Who’d a thunk it back then….girls playing soccer?
Over the years, Polonia’s picnics, festivals and religious events have been a source of pride for the Polish community. Whether celebrating Dozynki or Boze Cialo, Milwaukeeans know where they can go to speak the Polish language, listen to Polish music, eat Polish food and drink Polish beer. Most gatherings begin with Mass celebrated in Polish at the beautiful, mountaineer-carved chapel dedicated to the memory of Saint Maximillian Kolbe in the shade of Polonia’s park.
Step by step, the Polonia Sport Club has traveled down a road for 64 years. Soccer, dances, property, fences, soccer fields, buildings and events have led to friendships and memories that will last forever. But most importantly, the Polonia Sport Club is people and the bond that is formed when working toward a common goal. Whether pouring out your last ounce of energy together on a soccer field in the blazing heat or pounding in fence posts on the lot line, our lot line, or building a kitchen one cement block at a time or cooking kielbasa in the sweltering heat of the summer or teaching that five-year-old how to pass the ball with the side of his or her foot. It is the people that make the Polonia Sport Club.
We thank you, the people of Polonia Sport Club, and invite all of you to join us in the celebration!
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