Friday, November 11, 2005


Friday - November 11, 2005

It was an emotional sporting moment before a gathering of family, friends, the media and representation from the Canadian Professional Soccer League on Thursday morning, when Max (Markus) Gauss, president of London City Soccer Club listened to an eloquent account of his contribution to Canada’s busiest sport since his arrival in Canada in 1958.
Born in a soccer environment at Filipovo in the former Yugoslavia on December 23, 1929, the son of German parents, and moving to Stuttgart in Germany where the passion for soccer can be even more intense, it’s not surprising the elder Gauss with wife Magdalena and sons Harry and Reinhart would pursue his favourite sport on arrival in London, Ontario following a brief stay in Montreal and Winnipeg.
That was the beginning of a pursuit that after 47 years would reach a milestone at the John Labatt Centre in London when his plaque was unveiled to be the first soccer person to be inducted into the London Sports Hall of Fame. There were four other inductees, all celebrated by more than 400 at a recognition dinner in the evening put on by the London Sports Council.
His involvement with the German Canadian Club in that city played a big part in his soccer escapades of almost half a century, and his successful masonry construction business allowed Max Gauss to spend more than most can afford with firstly the German Canadians in the local amateur league, then the launch of London City in the professional National Soccer League, which today as a member of the CPSL is the longest running professional soccer team in North America. He was a founding member of the CPSL and one of only two to also be a founding member of the earlier Canadian National Soccer League.
“That guy loves the game,” player Ibrahim Hazdic told London Free Press columnist Morris Dalla Costa last month when the word got out the Godfather of London soccer, as the elder Gauss is known, was being inducted. He’s considered a supporter for all soccer in London, sees other teams in the region play, but he’s become best known for moving London into the tough professional soccer arena more than 30 years ago. Together, with son Harry as general manager, the team has been around since St. Valentine’s Day, 1973 and is one of the more prominent teams in this part of Canada.
While son Harry has been the one to look after the pro team, grandson Ryan has recently taken on the role of general manager of the London women’s team, London Selects.
To cap off the week's celebrations, Max Gauss's daughter Linda gave birth to a baby boy on November 9 to name him - yes, Markus.
Writer Christopher Clark asked Max Gauss a number of questions in a quiet moment recently and came up with this account:
Where do you go to think?On the patio in my back yard.
Have you ever stolen anything?Yes. Chickens for food during the Second World War.
What is your favourite restaurant?Irene's sea food restaurant, but I never order chicken.
How often do you eat out in a typical week?Once.
What is your biggest indulgence?Playing cards.What was your favourite birthday party as a child?We never celebrated our own birthdays. We celebrated the birthdays of our name sakes.
Whom would you choose to portray you in a movie?Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Connor).
Is there anything you won't eat?Yes. Spinach, lettuce or anything else that may be healthy.
What reality TV show would you like to be on?None of them; I can't stand them.
If you could know the outcome of one moment in your future, what would it be?That every country in the world can have the freedom that we have here in Canada.
What is your favourite website?
On what occasion do you lie?When I'm asked at what time I get home.
Which talent would you most like to have?To be a great soccer player.
What would you like to invent?A car that doesn't need gas to run.
When and where would you like to retire?I already have and I'm happy right here in London.
What charities do you support?Christian Children's Fund of Canada and the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
What is the most interesting thing you've learned recently?That I was old enough to retire.
How often each day do you check your e-mail?As often as I tell my children to do it.
What is your greatest accomplishment?Keeping my family together.
If you could be a Super Hero, which one would you choose to be?Opa. That's what my four-year-old granddaughter, Montana Kennes, tells me, along with my grandsons Paul, Sean and Ryan Gauss, so why would I want to be someone else? What more could I ask for?
Others inducted on November 10 were the late Frank Colman, baseball, who played for the New York Yankees, Fran Wigston Eberhard, volleyball and women’s athletics, and Bob Hayward with Jim Thompson, speedboat racing.