About the St. Joe Kickers Club
In 1953 newly arrived German immigrants, lonely in their new country, got together to play soccer at Kiwanis Park in St. Joseph. Soccer balls, goal posts, nets and imported jerseys were purchased through the generosity of players and the St. Joe Kickers Soccer Club was formed. Soon dances and meetings were held at the St. Joseph American Legion Hall to raise money for the support of the team. By 1955 the Kickers soccer team was well respected in the community and joined the highly competitive National Soccer League of Illinois, which provided the opportunity to travel to Chicago for away games. Home games were played at St. Joseph High School’s Dickinson’s Stadium. By 1958 the Kickers fielded two soccer teams, the veteran A team and the younger, less experienced B team. In 1959 the senior team accomplished the unthinkable by moving into the First Division of the National Soccer League due to their outstanding record. Soccer continued to grow and the House of David Ball Park became the home field. Soccer tournaments were organized throughout the 1960’s and the Kickers hosted exhibition games against soccer teams from Germany.
To expand membership, in 1968, the English language was adopted as the official language of the Club. Prior to that year, all business was conducted in German. This was followed by the incorporation of the club as the St. Joe Kickers Sport Club, Inc.
In the same year, an 8-acre building site located in Arden, Royalton Township, was purchased and building plans were made. The needed funds were raised through the sale of interest bearing bonds to members, and with bazaars and donations. By 1970 the main building was under construction. Many devoted and hard working members donated numerous hours to the project and the building was completed. On May 15, 1971 the long awaited Grand Opening was celebrated. The new facilities included a dance hall, club room, kitchen, changing rooms with showers, and two regulation soccer fields. An additional 10 acres was purchased in 1973. By 1977 Oktoberfests were held in the newly erected 100′ x 100′ activity hall, built primarily for indoor soccer and off-season soccer practice.
The decade of the 1970’s saw a tremendous growth in soccer and club membership. The Kickers fielded 6 teams: senior A & B, junior A, B, C, and the Old timers. The soccer teams were highly rated and won five Western Michigan Soccer League championships. Their success continued into the 1980’s with the Kickers capturing four Michiana Soccer Association titles. The Oldtimers set an MSA record by winning 55 straight games.
The indoor program currently features teams from middle school through adult.