Ben Boehm has been one of the key pieces for Gottschee over the years. (Michael Lewis/FrontRowSoccer)

This was a piece I wrote about B.W. Gotttschee celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2011

By Michael Lewis Editor

Now, this is something not many American soccer clubs – youth, amateur or pro – can say:

On Saturday night, B.W. Gottschee will celebrate its 60th anniversary as a soccer club at Leonard’s of Great Neck.

Born in 1951, Gottschee has espoused the finer points of the beautiful game through the years, and it has been rewarded with plenty of trophies and championships and a long, successful existence that some clubs envy, while others try to emulate.

The club’s philosophy in recent times has been simple and to the point, yet quite effective: Be one with the ball.

This soccer club gets get. It’s not about winning – although Gottschee has won more than its share of titles through the years. It is about learning and teaching the beautiful game and becoming skilled with the ball. When you do that, winning will become a product of that style and philosophy.

In this day and age of instant gratification, it is easy to get caught up with winning today and forgetting about what it takes to become a good soccer player or good soccer team tomorrow. Fortunately, Gottschee has not veered far off the path.

I have had the pleasure of knowing, interviewing, writing about some of the finest soccer individuals around (you don’t have to be a world class player or a professional coach to reach that status). The list includes the likes of Ben Boehm, Miguel Brunengo, John Krische, Scott Knight, Milton Espinoza and Milton Espinoza, Jr., an amazing father-and-son tandem whose passion and interest for the game is second to none, and Giovanni Savarese of the Cosmos, who run Gottschee’s teams in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.

They will be the first ones to tell you they did not invent the game. They just picked up the torch from other generations of players and coaches.

That impressive list includes National Hall of Famers Arnie Mausser and Mike Windischmann, who captained the U.S. World Cup team at Italia ’90, professional players Erhardt Kapp (New York Cosmos), Mohammed Mashriqi, Siggy Stritzl, John Grasser, Dragan Radovich, Dario Brose and Walter Loske, among others.

That, as they say, is the tip of the proverbial iceberg, because the supporting cast behind these individuals through the years has been second to none.

Which is a major reason why this club has not only survived, but has thrived. The passion of the players, coaches, administrators and even parents has been the other part of fuel for success for six decades, while many other clubs have come and come or been forced to merge to stay alive.

Here’s to another six decades of success and then some.