"Mr. Soccer" Manfred Szameit – Sioux Falls, SD
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member wildernessmama
N 43° 30.265 W 096° 44.438
14T E 682646 N 4819311
Quick Description: This historical marker is posted near the soccer fields at Yankton Park.
Location: South Dakota, United States
Date Posted: 7/23/2011 6:58:10 AM
Waymark Code: WMC452
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member MNSearchers
Views: 2

Long Description:
This historical marker is posted near the soccer fields at Yankton Trails Park. Its text reads as follows:

“Manfred Georg Sigismund Szameit was born in Madusee, Pomerania, Germany on September 10, 1936. Three years later, Fuehrer Adolph Hitler ordered Nazi Germany armies to invade Poland. This action greatly worried Manfred’s father Heinrich. Concerned about his family’s safety, Heinrich moved his wife and children to his father’s farm. Fearing that they might be killed by Russian soldiers, they spent several months in hiding. After the war ended, Heinrich made plans for them to escape from Russian dominated East Germany Manfred was unaware of his father’s plan until the very night that they left. Hiding by day and walking by night, the small group eventually crossed the border into West Germany. At the age of 12, Manfred experienced freedom for the first time. It was in West Germany where Manfred’s soccer career began, as a goalkeeper for the village of Schoningen.

“Eight years later, his family obtained approval to come to the United States. They sailed together for 13 days on a military transport ship with several hundred other immigrants. Sponsored by Vern and Ione Endahl of rural Baltic, Manfred’s first job was as a farmhand on the George Kelly farm near Crooks. Later he served in the U.S. Army for two years on active duty and four years as a reservist. After several years as a dry cleaner, bank teller, and computer programmer, he was appointed Auditor and then Finanance Director for the city of Sioux Falls. In 1962 he married Helga Haydl from Zuckmantel, Transylvania, and they became the parents of a daughter, Alexandra, and a son, Hans-Peter.

“Manfred loved America. As a naturalized citizen, he embraced the nation’s many freedoms and often publicly praised his country. He volunteered for many charitable events, and his civic memberships and activities led to numerous offices and awards. He was a founder of the German Fest, and all-city celebration commemorating those of German ancestry.

“When Manfred came to Sioux Falls, he discovered that the sport of soccer was virtually unknown. He began to promote it as a sport that anyone could play. With his unbridled enthusiasm, he soon became known as ‘Mr. Soccer.’ He had his Volkswagon Beetle painted so that it appeared to be an oversized soccer ball, and his car’s doors were printed with the slogan ‘Catch the Soccer Bug.’ His car soon became his trademark. Today soccer is one of the most popular of the recreational sports in Sioux Falls. Thousands of boys and girls of all ages and proficiencies fill the rosters of hundreds of teams, some playing soccer year-round.”

This two-sided historical marker was dedicated in 2009 by the Minnehaha County Historical Society, the Downtown Lions Club, and the Sioux Falls Soccer Association.
Marker Name: "Mr. Soccer" Manfred Szameit

Marker Type: City

Marker Text:
See above


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