Professor James D. Fernandez at New York University with Luis Argeo, a journalist in Gijón, Asturias, Spain have crafted a wonderful history of Spanish soccer in St. Louis and it’s connections to Gijón, Spain that continue to exist today.
Titled “Home Jersey or Away Jersey” it opens with
Any one who would be surprised to find a Sporting de Gijón jersey framed between trophies and other soccer relics behind the bar of a social club in a city in the Midwest United States, should perhaps read this story.
It discusses the early St. Louis Soccer League, the MUNY League and the development of the game, from a Spanish perspective, here in the Metropolitan area. How about a Harry Keough reference
On that US team, which barely fielded a professional player, were six players originally from Saint Louis. And among those, the defender Harry Keough, a mailman who, by his own admission, had learned how to play soccer with the Spanish workers from Carondelet. The Irishman Keough’s neighbors were as amazed at his skill with the ball as they were at the ease with which he spoke Spanish. In fact, his proficiency in that language led to him being appointed team captain in the US World Cup debut against the Spanish National Team (Spain 3- Us 1).
The connection back to Sporting de Gijón? Jesus Cases, who’s son Nacho is a midfielder for Sporting de Gijón, began his soccer career here in St. Louis before returning to Spain where his son grew up to play for Sporting. Jesus is pictured below with the 1968-1969 Khoury League Atom Division champions he played for. Included on that team are Juan Guzman, Mike Willie, John Richards, Billy Dickson, Tom Brown, Phillip Markus, Steve Huber, Nick Ventimiglia, Gary Fernandez, Joe Fleischmann, Andy Gonzales Jr., Billy Wolff, Joe Papa, Kevin Downey, Mike Heaghney, Bruce Ferenandez, Mike Camp and Mark Camp. Coaches included Ed Fleischmann, Bob Richards, Peter Menendez and Charlie Fernandez.