On Columbus Day 1967 Daphne and Brian Knight and their two sons, Paul aged 10, and Julian aged 6, moved from England to Glen Rock.
Both Paul and Julian were enthusiastic players of England’s national sport, soccer, and were disappointed to find that there was no organized youth soccer options in Bergen County. The only youth soccer available at the time was played by ethnic leagues and it was usually necessary to be a member of a Social Club such as "The Polish Eagles” or a similar organization in order to play the game.
In the fall of 1968 Brian Knight organized a team of local children who played informally among themselves, since there were no other teams to play. The following year, 1969, the word had spread and no sooner had the "informal team" started to practice when children appeared literally out of the woodwork.
The first practice held at Memorial Field attracted about 20 boys. The following night nearly 30 showed up. None of them knew much about the sport and Brian was completely overwhelmed. On the third night with even more boys appearing, so did Bill Carbone, the boys' soccer coach at Glen Rock High School. Quickly realizing the problem, Bill volunteered his varsity players to act as coaches, and thereafter the boys were divided into teams each with his own junior coach.
However, two problems still remained. There were no other teams to play, and no fields on which to play. Brian read in the local paper that a dentist in Waldwick, Kevin Loughlin, was seeking to establish a youth soccer league in Bergen County. Consequently, a meeting took place and the Glen Rock-Waldwick Youth League, the precursor to the Northwest Bergen Soccer Soccer Association (NWBSA), was formed.
Since Soccer was practically unknown in the area, and since most available open space was dedicated to baseball, the question of playing fields still remained. The Glen Rock Director of Recreation, Carl Zaisser, was extremely helpful. He made Wilde Memorial field officially available for the first time, but unfortunately had no budget available for any equipment. Fortunately, Brian’s employer generously donated the goal posts, Daphne sewed the corner flags by hand, and both Brian and Daphne spent a long hot September Saturday laying out the field and painting lines on the grass with paint brushes because there was no line marking equipment available. They looked back on it with disbelief because on that September day they hand painted over 700 Yards of 4" wide white lines, and used nearly 20 gallons of cheap latex paint in the process!
As well, there were no goal nets or uniforms. They decided to charge a nominal fee of $5.00 per player to cover the costs and the Glen Rock Soccer Club was officially born.
There were no soccer uniforms available in those days, so softball shirts and gym shorts were purchased. A well-known New York advertising agency was at that time designing a totally new image for a major oil company. They generously had their art department create a logo for GRSC. Based on the hourly charges relating to the project they were working on, they estimated that the logo would have been worth $30,000.00 if officially commissioned. The logo is now over 50 years old and is still used by the Club.
Experienced coaches were also a problem. Jack Barcinski who had come to the USA from Poland by way of Brazil was walking across the field from the train when he saw the kids practicing. He immediately offered to coach. Joe Neer did the same, as did Steve Hirschfield so the Club now had 4 coaches and thanks to the high school varsity players, as many assistant coaches as we needed.
The first two "official" teams were for 10 and 11-year-old boys, and were called the HAWKS and the FALCONS. They would be joined the following season by the EAGLES when Jim Thielke volunteered as a coach.
Meanwhile another problem developed. All the younger brothers wanted to play! More varsity players volunteered. The juniors were divided into teams and played each other informally after the official league games. The following year, 1970, the first official Registration took place. The first family to arrive were the Quiats, Carl the father and his two sons Loren and Ira, followed closely by Peter Mullaney and his son Peter, and Phil Omsberg and his sons Eric and Kieth. The younger brothers were formalized into 4 teams who played each Sunday at Coleman School. The original JACKRABBITS, COUGARS, BOBCATS, and TIGERS grew in the following years to 12 teams.
In the fall of 1970, the first ever Soccer Day was held, featuring a Glen Rock All Star team who of course played the Waldwick All Stars since there was still no one else to play. One of the original jerseys from that match is now hanging in the Glen Rock Inn.
In the Spring of 1971 John Kicks of Wyckoff who had recently arrived from Seattle which had a thriving Youth League, contacted Glen Rock and Waldwick, saying he had heard of interest from Wyckoff and Oakland and was proposing to form a League.
Glen Rock Soccer Club had by now become a formalized entity with a governing board. The First Board consisted of Brian Knight, President, Jack Barcinski, Vice President, Daphne Knight, Treasurer with all other functions being taken care of by Carl Quiat, Phil Omsberg, Jack Lavin, and Lother Stiefel.
Carl Quiat volunteered to attend the first exploratory meeting of the new multi town League and by the fall of 1971 the brand-new NorthWest Bergen Soccer Association (NWBSA) was formed which by then also included Allendale and Ho-Ho-Kus.
Glen Rock Soccer Club by this time had over 200 players registered. Authentic soccer uniforms were being specially imported, goal nets and line markers were now owned and Sunday games were now being played at Coleman School, Hamilton School, the High School, and Memorial Field. Later, the demand would be such that St. Catherine’s RC Church generously allowed the use of their field. The heavy-duty posts for each field were purchased by the Club at a cost of around $500 per set.
The level of activity, the budget, and the ever growing liability potential was such that at the urging of Phil Omsberg who was an Attorney, the Club incorporated as Glen Rock Soccer Club, Inc. Brian Knight and the group of dedicated individuals who had made it all happen were concerned that the governing philosophy of the organization should always remain intact. The Philosophy was based on two simple ideas. Everybody played at least half a game and there would be an "open" selection of teams with no "stacked" teams. For this reason a two tiered system was developed whereby there would be Trustees as well as elected Board Members. Board Members would handle day to day organization and Trustees would provide the oversight necessary to maintain the organization's goals.
By the mid-seventies the Club and its League, the NWBSA, was being approached by the parents of girls. Against some quite strong opposition, the girls league was organized. The GRSC’s girls’ teams were some of the first in the nation! This practically doubled the size of the organization and girls’ soccer has from that point on been one of the strengths of the GRSC.
Back Row: Joe Boyer, Terry Cohoon, Paul McCullough, Paul Knight,
Scott Puritz, George Long, Keith Johnson, Richard Leto
Front Row: Rob Bechard, Charlie Havelka, John Hellendoorn,
Jay Ubelhart, David Sayles
Back Row: Mark Newsome, David Ruef, Geoff Putnam, Brian Weissman, Mark Kincheloe, Bennet Schacter, Neil Culligan, Bobby Hirschfeld,
Steve Ruden, Matt McCann
Front Row: Jack Lavin, Bob McCormick, Donald Berrian, Doug Carter, Laurin Quiat