Recently, former Port Washington resident Wolfgang Woischke was inducted into the Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame where previous inductees have included President of the United States Soccer Federation Sunil Gulati, U.S. Women’s National Soccer team coach Tony DeCicco and Kristine Lilly, who has more than 350 appearances on U.S. National Women’s teams.
“I got a phone call from the Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame chairperson, Patricia Henning, advising me that I was going to be inducted, which was very much a surprise at the particular time,” said Woischke. “It’s a very humble honor to be inducted since I know half of the people who have been inducted. A lot of them I’ve played against or I’ve played with on the same team. Knowing what other inductees have accomplished makes it an honor and I’m very proud to be part of the great Connecticut soccer history.”
Woischke began playing soccer when he was about five years old and still lived in Germany, saying he started kicking the ball around and just continued. After immigrating to the United States in 1960, Woischke and his family moved to Manhasset Isle where he played soccer for Sousa Elementary, Weber Middle School and Schreiber High School.
“It was an interesting thing in the 60s and 70s,” said Woischke. “They didn’t have the kind of teams you have now a days where parents end-up paying for their child’s participation in the sport. At that time I used to meet other soccer fanatics in high school and we would meet up at the high school and on weekends and kick the ball around. At that time, soccer was not as big in the U.S. Interestingly, all of my soccer friends, including myself, received soccer scholarships to attend college. The love for the game and hard work paid off for all of us.”
He continued his soccer career at Mitchell College, then at University of Bridgeport, and went on to coach a high school soccer team to the state championships in Connecticut. While in CT, Woischke also played professionally for the Connecticut Yankees of the American Soccer League. Soon after, Woischke took a job with an American company and worked in Germany.
“I went back to my roots,” said Woischke. “At the same time I played soccer in Germany and coached soccer in Germany. It was like a dream come true.”
While working as the senior sales and production executive of International Sports and Entertainment, the exclusive VIP hospitality program partner of the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, Woischke was able to attend all of the games and visit all of the stadiums involved in the World Cup.
“It was the highlight of my working career,” said Woischke. “It was the most challenging thing I’ve done in my life in the soccer world.”
Being captain and MVP throughout his high school and college career paid off for Woischke as he was inducted into Mitchell College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006 and was later inducted into the Port Washington Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012.
Although Woischke traveled around Europe for work and no longer resides in Port Washington, he says that going back to his roots throughout his life was great, but he always enjoyed coming back to the U.S. because he considered it his true home.
“My fondest memories will always be about growing up in Port Washington,” said Woischke. “Speaking no English and coming to such a friendly environment where everyone was welcoming was great. It was the perfect place to grow up.”
Woischke and his wife Deborah now bounce back and forth between Maine and Florida where Woischke owns Happy Kicks, LLC Soccer/Tennis Academy for Preschool Children. Woischke teaches a combination of tennis and soccer because he believes they are uniquely connected together. Both sports require fast movement and a fast starting point whether hitting a tennis ball or kicking a soccer ball. The two also require eye-ball coordination with hands or feet, said Woischke.
“I’ve had my own company for about 10 years and it’s my way of paying back to soccer,” said Woischke. “Kids just love the combination, learning two sports at one time. It’s so rewarding and it warms my heart when I watch these particular ages. They’re so eager to learn. Their mind spans aren’t that long, but I see the effort they put into it and I see they remember what they’ve learned. It’s just wonderful to see.”