A Few of My Favorite Things: 2016

It’s now been two years since I began my blog and returned to writing about soccer, mostly in a Washington-centric, historical context.

Sure, there could be a compendium of such abstract topics published in a book someday. But why not share some of it soon, not later. Here, then, are XV pieces that appeared either on my blog or other digital outlets during 2016. I enjoyed researching and writing them, and hopefully you enjoy them as well.

I. Unexpected Title Run by Sounders? It’s Happened Before

Once you’ve lived through an epic turnaround, your faith becomes stronger. And for reasons illustrated in this Seattle Times feature, I always held out hope the Sounders would overcome all the adversity and play for a championship. As it turned out, they did their predecessors one better by winning the final.

II. There’s Something About Jordy

Puget Sound has produced some top-class strikers in the past, and I Continue reading A Few of My Favorite Things: 2016

Washington’s 2016 Top Team Performances

While broader views of this past year are as mixed as imaginable, there’s no mistaking 2016 as vintage in terms of Washington teams’ feats on the pitch. National championships at the professional and collegiate levels, along with some watershed seasons for certain programs, made this a year to remember for many.

Here are a few teams who will treasure the memories of 2016 because it was a very, very good year.

Western Washington women – If the perfect season is to finish a campaign unbeaten, untied and No. 1 in the nation, then the Vikings were almost perfect. They reeled off 24 consecutive victories after an opening draw to win their first NCAA Division II crown. Western (24-0-1) had been knocking on the door for three seasons before ending Grand Valley State’s three-year reign with three sensational strikes from distance in the title match.

Sounders FC – Left for dead in late July, Seattle made a coaching change and the addition of one very special Uruguayan maestro brought about a reversal of fortune for the ages. Never mind losing their most goal-dangerous player, the Sounders went 12-3-5 down the stretch to reward the land’s largest fan base with the first top-flight championship.

Seattle United B98 Copa – One of the special youth sides in state history, United nearly came all the way back from a national runner-up finish. As it was these U17s easily repeated as state and regional champion before being stopped the semifinals of the US Youth Soccer Association Championships on penalties. It will be interesting to watch how some of these players figure in our state’s soccer future.

More teams of merit: Continue reading Washington’s 2016 Top Team Performances