Schwarz, Erno : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Schwarz, Erno

Schwarz was one of the most influential Jews in soccer history. An outstanding winger in the 1920s who played on both sides of the field, he appeared in two games for the Hungarian National team and scored two goals. Erno was also a member of the famous Hakoah-Vienna club which has been inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. Schwarz played in the American Soccer League in the late 1920s and 1930s and became an influential coach, manager, and promoter of the game in the United States. He was inducted into the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1951.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. 1903 - d. unknown

Career Highlights:
Born in Budapest, Schwarz played for the club team FTC (Ferencvarosi TC) in the early 1920s and also appeared for the Hungarian National team. In 1922, he appeared in two games, scoring two goals in a 5-1 victory over Finland in Helsinki. By the mid-1920s, Schwarz was playing in Austria for Hakoah-Vienna and helped them win the 1925 Austrian League title. The following year, Schwarz toured the United States with Hakoah. During the tour, they played ten games in front of a total of 200,000 people, including a single-game record crowd of 46,000 at the Polo Grounds on New York City (the attendance record stood until 1977).

After the tour, Schwarz remained in the U.S. and signed to play the 1926-27 season with the New York Giants of the American Soccer League. He re-joined Hakoah in the summer of 1927 when the club returned to the U.S. for another tour, but then played for the Giants during the 1927-28 season. Schwarz played two full seasons with the Giants, appearing in 71 league games and scoring 18 goals. In 1928, he signed to play with the Scottish club, Rangers, but the deal was called off because of work restrictions in Great Britain, so Schwarz remained in the U.S.

During the 1928-29 season, the ASL broke up when the league banned three of its teams because they wanted to play in the U.S. Open Cup during the ASL season (the ASL forbade any of its teams from competing in the Cup). In response, the three ostracized teams formed a new entity. They called themselves the Eastern League and invited former members of the Hakoah-Vienna to join the new league. Schwarz was instrumental in the formation of the New York Hakoah, one of the new teams in the ESL.

In 1929, during the ASL-ESL "soccer war," the New York Hakoah captured the U.S. Open Cup. In the final against the Madison Kennel Club, Hakoah won both games (2-0, 3-0) and Schwarz scored the first goal in the second game. In 1929-30, the ASL and ESL put aside their differences and merged. The New York Hakoah merged with the Brooklyn Hakoah of the ASL and were re-named the Hakoah All-Stars. Schwarz played the next two seasons with Hakoah and then moved to the New York Americans in 1931 as a player-coach.

Schwarz remained with the New York Americans for a number of years. After the ASL folded in the early 1930s due to economic hardships (caused by the Depression), a second American Soccer League was formed in the fall of 1933. According to soccer historian Colin Jose, Schwarz was instrumental in re-organizing the league. In 1933, Schwarz led the Americans to the U.S. Open Cup final, where they lost to St. Louis. Four years later, in 1937, they captured the championship, although Schwarz's playing career ended that year because of a broken leg.

Schwarz remained involved in U.S. soccer for a number of years after retiring as a player. He managed the New York Americans in the late 1930s and 1940s, and was also the business manager of the ASL. Schwarz was instrumental in promoting tours of top English teams such as Liverpool and Manchester United, and served as chairman of the USSFA International Games Committee. In the mid-1960s, Schwarz also coached the U.S. National team. He was inducted in the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1951; the only other Jewish member of the Hall of Fame is Herb Heilpern.

Budapest, Hungary

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The American Soccer League, 1921-1931: The Golden Years of American Soccer, by Colin Jose (Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1998)