Brief But Bitter: Sounders Strike of ’79

It lasted just four days and only one round of matches. Still, America’s first work stoppage for professional soccer left a mark as plain as studs being raked down an opponent’s shin.

And while many markets witnessed little disruption to business as usual, Seattle was not spared. All but a handful of players walked out and the replacements’ display was televised for all to see.

Here’s a chronological look back at how the North American Soccer League strike of 1979 played out for the Sounders.

Tony Chursky was the first casualty of the labor unrest. Seattle traded their player representative to California before the strike. (Frank MacDonald Collection)

Owners of the 24 teams had set on a collision course with the players for nearly two years. In 1977, 93 percent of the players voted to authorize formation of a union. By August of 1978, 75 percent voted to be represented by the NASL Players Association.

The National Labor Relations Board promptly certifies the union, and just as promptly NASL owners refuse to recognize the union.

Continue reading Brief But Bitter: Sounders Strike of ’79

Going Forward in the Great Indoors

Certainly small-sided teams have played an extensive role in Puget Sound soccer’s storied past. Now, 40  years since it began as mid-winter oddity and space holder, indoor soccer may have found its role for the future.

Forget the fog machines and lasers, the pregame pomp and circumstance. The stripped-down game of 6-a-side can still play a vital role in American player development.

Indoor soccer may have slipped beneath the waves at the professional level when the Tacoma Stars and Seattle SeaDogs succumbed in the Nineties. Yet at the participant level it’s plying the waters quite well.

Bellingham United at Tacoma Stars
A capacity crowd at Tacoma Soccer Center watched the Stars win the 2015 WISL title. (Courtesy Wilson Tsoi/

Up and down the I-5 corridor are more than a dozen indoor centers, filled on winter noon hours, evenings and weekends with players young and not-so-young. Also packed to capacity earlier this month was the Tacoma Soccer Center gallery, with a standing-room only crowd of 740 watching the born-again Stars win a regional championship.

Continue reading Going Forward in the Great Indoors

What Might Have Been: SeaDogs Finish Strong

For those inclined to seek lost treasures, a mission awaits: Where exactly resides the championship trophy for the Seattle SeaDogs?

Is it stowed in the garage of some player or coach? Maybe in the corner of a former owner’s basement billiard room? Or was it somehow designated for the dumpster or worse, a fateful trip to Oklahoma City?

The SeaDogs were one of the shortest-lived professional soccer clubs in Cascadia, yet they will forever hold the distinction of defending Continental Indoor Soccer League champions. In short, they had their struggles but finished on a high note.

SeaDogsLogoDuring their three-year stand at Seattle Center, the SeaDogs were met mostly with ambivalence by the soccer community, if not the general public. They announced themselves 19 months in advance of their debut and during the one window over 41 years that Puget Sound was without a functioning club. Still, they were essentially greeted with a collective shrug.

Continue reading What Might Have Been: SeaDogs Finish Strong

When the Stars Came Out at Night

If you wanted more–more music, more lights, more goals and, yes, a little more skin–then the Tacoma Stars truly were tempting during the 80s and early 90s.

You say you like the Sounders flame throwers? They wouldn’t hold a candle to the fog, driving disco beat and laser light show when the Stars ran out. Can’t get enough Oba goal backflips? Then meet the original Flipper, Gregg Blasingame. And if a no-shirt pose on The Bachelor is your guilty pleasure, then game nights at the T-Dome provided all the reality required.

TacomaStarsThe Sounders had been all about soccer. In Tacoma it was Welcome to The Show.

Continue reading When the Stars Came Out at Night