Over the past year it’s been a privilege to share some stories both from Seattle’s vault of soccer history and reconnect with those giants who guided us to this point in time, when football’s support here has reached historic levels.
To give added oomph to celebrating this Sounders anniversary I was invited to share what I’ve experienced and what I’ve learned. And when an invitation was lacking, sometimes I made things happen, and starting this blog was among those measures.
In closing out 2014, I’ve curated the XI posts I most enjoyed researching and writing, then linked them below. Also, because I can, I named another seven to be dressed and ready on the bench.
Thanks for reading. And feel free to let me know what kinds of things you’d like to see going forward. Because the great thing about history is that we’re always making a fresh batch.
Sounder at Heart’s Jeremiah Oshan suggested it, and it was truly an pleasure asking his family and former coaches what makes Marcus Hahnemann so unique, words that I wanted him to see.
As a Centralia high school senior, I requested a Sounders appearance at an assembly. They sent four starters south, 90 miles to Centralia, and they blew away the students with energy and showmanship. Among them, Mike England was simply pure class in how he engaged everyone. I began our interview by making sure he knew the difference he makes, then and now.
What if, I wondered. What if MLS had brought Seattle into the fold from the start? The Sounders were not only predominantly homegrown but a side that would’ve instantly challenged for the title in the league’s inaugural season. If they had, how many trophies might we possess?
Three-hundred appearances is a mean feat even if you’re a star. Having seen Zach put into the extra work during and after training, and knowing there still far more to it, I wanted others to share why they think he’s been able to meet every challenge and continue to grow as a player.
V. Sounders at 40 (Seattle Times three-part series)
The Seattle Times , sports editor Don Shelton and beat reporter Matt Pentz were ideal partners in providing a platform to both tell the Seattle pro soccer story and honor those on whose shoulders Sounders FC now stands. As Matt’s fine feature illustrated, the local soccer community really doubled down and invested in the game’s future here when pro game was at its ebb. There’s no way to objectively compare players of the different eras over 40 years, so I went directly to coaches and let them pick teams for the ages.
Asked to condense the ‘How did we get here?’ story into 2000 words, I sought to share little nuggets and elements the Sounders’ founding fathers felt were integral to Seattle becoming a bastion of of the sport.
Today, it’s DeAndre Yedlin coming through the academy system, a top college program, the Sounders first team and then being sold to Spurs. But in the beginning, Jimmy McAlister made it big with little infrastructure or a road map.
True grit got Seattle its second title as the Sounders overcame injuries and loss of key players to MLS to repeat as A-League champs.
No Sounders personality over 40 years is more joyous than Pepe Fernandez. His love for the game and its people is infectious and he’s truly a Seattle treasure.
X. Alan Hudson Homecoming (Three-part series)
I had long wanted to see original Sounders come back from Britain to witness the effect of their early devotion to building the game. Against considerable odds, Alan Hudson got that opportunity and I was grateful to share both his story and his reflections.
Part of the Sounders Anniversary series, here’s a look at the qualities of a team skipper, from Jimmy Gabriel to Brad Evans.
In The 18
It’s an exclusive club: Only 11 men have managed the Sounders since their inception, and each did so in their own, distinctive way.
I can’t thank my parents enough for what they gave me, and I miss them dearly. Learning that this story from 2009 was well-remembered, I brought it back for the Christmas season.
There’s a significance to playing on Thanksgiving that goes back to our forefathers gathering to play or college teams going deep into the national tournaments.
Believe it or not, promotion/relegation was once tried in Northwest collegiate soccer, and it proved a springboard for one program first becoming a champion at the small-college level, then a playoff contender in Division I.
From the ol’ Fort Dent days to Starfire’s initial opening to the addition of the Sounders HQ in 2009, it’s been amazing to see the transformation of this soccer park. With the S2 investment, it can jump to a whole new level.
How fun it was to hear stories from the gentlemen who actually were there at the start of local collegiate soccer in the Sixties. Ron Jepson (UW) and Joe Zavaglia (SU) are true community treasures.
Seattle Pacific’s remarkable four straight trips to the NCAA D2 final (three championships) becomes all the more special as nearly 30 years have passed and no team has matched it.
How to take the U.S. Open Cup to the next level, not just in Seattle.
A Closer Look at All-time Seattle Selections (Three-part series)
Drilling deeper on the coaches’ choices for Seattle’s best over past 40 years.