1958: YEAR ONE
• The first official soccer season includes 8 games. Only 2 are home (Doubleday Field on Riverside Avenue; the new high school field on North Avenue is not ready).
• The first game ever (Sept. 23, 1958) is a loss – 3-2, to Andrew Warde. Bill Needham and Dee Tashian score the first two goals in Wrecker history. Staples will never again lose to the Crimson Eagles (and avenge that loss by the same 3-2 score less than a month later). The 3 goals the Wreckers surrender in game 1 are the most recorded against Staples for six years.
• Two days later Staples records its first win – a convincing 4-0 shutout over Roger Ludlowe, thanks in part to new goalkeeper George Scott. The Flying Tigers will never in their history beat Staples. In 1986, when Warde and Ludlowe merge to become Fairfield High, their combined record against the Wreckers is a frustrating 1-65-0.
• Bill Needham nets four goals in a 5-2 win over New Canaan. Though tied several times since, that is still the Wreckers’ single-game scoring record.
• Games are played in four quarters. The change to two halves comes in the early 1970s.
• The Town Crier refers to Greenwich High not as the "Cardinals" but the "Millionaires."
• The first anti-soccer vandalism occurs one Saturday night, when the goalposts are sawed down.
• Players on Staples’ inaugural team include Joe Arcudi, Jim Brophy, Bob Denham, Dennis DePierro, Doug Fenton, Bob Fortin, Buddy Frey, Dave Guidera, Ed Glynn, Dick Hyde, Dave Jacobson, Keith Jones, Bill Needham, Peter Paul, William Schneider, George Scott, Jack Sigovich, Dee Tashian, Warren Van Scoyac, Andre Tolleson Dave Underwood, Bill Ydel and Herb Young.
CO-CAPTAINS: Bill Needham, Dave Underwood
COACH: Albie Loeffler
1959: A SEASON OF FIRSTS
• The Wreckers play their first year of Fairfield County Conference (soon to be called FCIAC) competition, their first game at the North Avenue field, complete their first undefeated regular season, win their first (unofficial) league championship, achieve their first Number 1 state ranking, participate in their first state tournament, and gain their first post-season recognition.
• The first game ever at North Avenue is a 7-0 blowout of New Canaan. Less than one month later, the Rams tie the Wreckers 2-2, on a goal in the final 5 seconds. Dee Tashian ties the scoring record with four goals in a 9-0 thumping of Andrew Warde. Staples clinches a berth in the state tournament with a season-ending 2-0 victory over Norwalk.
• Staples’ .950 winning percentage earns them top seed in the six-team state tourney. In their first game they outplay Glastonbury but are knocked out 1-0. Exactly 30 years later the Tomahawks will also end the Wreckers’ hopes with a shutout – and go on to win the state crown.
• In the Town Crier’s first-ever soccer photo, the familiar Block "S" on the jersey stands out sharply. The team’s first page 1 story runs next to a piece about Westport teachers asking for a salary increase of $200 (to $4,600).
• Bob Fortin, Dave Guidera, Phil Needham, Peter Paull, Jack Sigovich and Dee Tashian are three-year members of the squad, having started with the unofficial club team. Other team members include Joe Arcudi, Al Arraiz, Jim Brophy, Bill Danneman, Ed Glynn, George Guidera, Dick Hyde, Fred Lewis, Steve Lynch, Roy Remlin, Bob Schaefer, Charley Schaefer, Bill Schneider, Mitch Seltzer, Dan Shulman, Dave Sigovich, Dave Smith, George Swift, Fabrizio Vatali, Billy Ydel, Steve Yolen and (no first names listed) Foxley, Hestwood and Longmier. Joe Arcudi goes on to open a pizza parlor and is elected Westport’s first selectman; George Guidera becomes an attorney and is chosen Weston’s first selectman, while Charley Schaefer later owns, with his father Tip, Schaefer’s Sporting Goods.
• Glynn, Tashian, Swift, Hyde and Needham make the County Conference All-Star first team; Sigovich, Arraiz and Lynch are voted to the second team.
• Bill Needham, a ’57 and ’58 standout, is a starting halfback on the Wesleyan University freshman team, the first in a long line of Wreckers who go on to star for the Cardinals. His brother Phil writes the soccer articles for the Town Crier – the first in a long line of team members (including John Green, Mark Brickley and Dan Woog) who cover the team while on it.
• Albie Loeffler officiates the very first NCAA soccer tournament, held at the University of Connecticut over Thanksgiving weekend. Starring in that four-team event was the University of Bridgeport’s Jim Kuhlmann. He goes on to serve as Loeffler’s student teacher, then becomes one of Westport soccer’s most loyal and special volunteers.
COACH: Albie Loeffler
1960: THE PERILS OF SUCCESS
Regular season • Despite only four returnees from ’59, the Wreckers open with a 7-0 walloping of Andrew Warde; 34 players see action. The only
regular season loss is 3-0 to Greenwich – the second-greatest margin of defeat until 1997.
• Staples meets E.O. Smith-Storrs for the first of many times. The Westporters are up by 2 goals late in the match. But with Jim Kaufman on the sidelines nursing a bloody nose, the Panthers tie. Two overtimes end in a draw — but the Wreckers lose, because the tie-breaking procedure in use counts corner kicks to produce a winner.
• In a year of skimpy newspaper coverage, this quote by the Town Crier’s Dick Waterman stands out: "Soccer players, unlike the brawnier football specimens, come in all sizes and shapes. They are tall, short, thin, heavy, but all want to play soccer for Staples and that’s what counts."
• Other team members include Rick Arenander, Punky Ball, A. Berney, L. Butone, Buck Clark, B. Danaher, T. Dinkham, Grif Foxley, Bill Gish, D. Grant, B. Hestwood, F. Hubbard, S. Hyde, Jack Lillis, Doug Lorenzen, Burke Mandable, J. McCarthy, Dick Olean, J. Paull, P. Pervinsek, Roy Remlin, Bill Schneider, B. Shulman, Dan Shulman, Chris Smith, D. Smith and E. Street.
• Co-captain Bill Schneider is the state Class A discus champion, with a throw of 138 feet.
• Jim Kaufman goes on to work with Albie Loeffler at Woodbrook, one of the nation’s first soccer camps. Kaufman and Jim Kuhlmann later own The Soccer Farm, where they train hundreds of Westport soccer players.
• The junior varsity goes 5-0, so the future looks good.
CO-CAPTAINS: Roy Remlin, Bill Schneider
COACH: Albie Loeffler