During our annual soccer tournament, Spring Kickoff 2015, Julie and her dad, the founder of NWKickers, stopped in for a quick chat. Here is what Julie had to share with all of us in writing about how this great soccer organization came about.
"My Dad, Gerhard Jopp came to USA on May 5th, 1951. He was 18 years old in July of 51 his brother Erwin followed.
The two brothers formed a soccer team in 1952 and originally called themselves Victoria, (which later they changed to Kickers in 1955) they only had 5 players to begin with but had to go to park board to register and get a soccer field. The first field was on Riverside in Minneapolis. Gerhard worked at Marine Manufacturing with a gentleman by the name of John Rider. John was from Poland and also had 5 players he had organized calling them Minneapolis United. They all joined together briefly to form a full team, so that they could play the only other soccer team in Minnesota, "St. Paul Blackhawks"
John split the team and Erwin and Gerhard continued with the Kickers. They were able to round up 11 players consisting of many nationalities...German, Polish,Dutch, Italian,Austrian, Ukrainian and a Lebanian. They traveled to play games to Chicago, Milwaukee, and Ontario, Canada.
Gerhard joined the Army and was gone from 1953 to 1955. On return he continued with the Kickers. Erwin became President and Gerhard took the job of Cashier. They did many fundraising events...from German Dances at the Mpls. Labor union Temple, summer picnics and Christmas Parties.
In 1962 Harry Tietz joined the team, who later expanded the Kickers to the youth.
Today our father is proud of how this team started and all it has accomplished over the years."