America's Breakout Year

1966 – Around the World and Close to Home

The war in Vietnam intensifies with the doubling of deployed U.S. forces. Medicare is as a national health insurance program for persons aged 65 and over and the disabled and Texas Western, starting five Black players for the first time in NCAA championship game history, upsets Kentucky for the men’s basketball tournament title. Boeing wins the federal contract to develop the supersonic transport (SST), Seattle Community College opens 13 campuses to 11,000 students and the NBA grants an expansion franchise to Seattle, to begin play in 1967-68.

America's Breakout Year

It was a breakout year across American soccer and, to a certain extent, Washington state. Satellites made it possible for NBC to transmit the World Cup final from London’s Wembley Stadium to affiliates around the nation, and England’s thrilling extra time victory over West Germany introduced the glory of international football to a wider audience than ever before. That interest helped spawn two national professional leagues, to begin play in 1967 and it undoubtedly inspired the youth to try this new game in the following fall.

Although there had been fits and start for organizing play for youth, the sheer volume of Baby Boomers gives rise to the movement during the Sixties. Consequently, it becomes evident that the game’s future is not founded on largely ethnic adult play but the thousands of juniors from mainstream families demonstrating increased interest.

Immigrants are still playing a vital role. Their skills and knowledge in both organizing clubs and coaching teams gives the start-up associations the necessary framework, and their passion fosters a love for soccer among the kids. On the east side of Lake Washington, for instance, Jack Goldingay, an England-born Boeing engineer, organized neighborhood boys. In 1966, Goldingay then recruited Bellevue neighbor and Boeing co-worker and carpool mate Tom Webb to help out. It was a formula that could be found in other Puget Sound cities.

“It was Mike Ryan in Seattle, Frank Hall in Tacoma and Jack Mickelberry in Federal Way,” explained Webb. “The Washington State Soccer Football Association was the controlling body in our state they ran everything. Eddie Craggs was the youth commissioner, and he was easy to talk to I liked him. (The WSSFA) would let youth officers come to the meetings in Wallingford, but you couldn’t speak unless it was a youth matter.”

Ryan, an Irishman who was the newly appointed University of Washington head coach, recalls the rapid growth. “One Saturday morning in Bellevue, it started with 38 kids coming to the field. We asked them to bring a brother or sister the next weekend, and by the following Saturday we had 90. Soon there were teams coming out of the woodwork.

Ryan invites Goldingay, Webb, Mickelberry, Hall and others to his Lake City neighborhood home where they determined youth deserved its own association. “I guess you could say that was the first Washington State Junior Soccer Association meeting,” said Ryan. “We had a meeting down in Tacoma the next month (December), and I was elected the first president.”

U.S. Open Cup
Seattle Hungarians, quarterfinals
Northwest Champion
Hungarians 5:1 Portland All-Stars
State Men's Champion
Seattle Hungarians
State Knockout Cup
Continentals 2:1 United Hungarians
Largest Attendance
1,700, Seattle Hungarians v Orange County (CHallenge Cup)

1966: America's Breakout Year

For the first time the American audience sees a World Cup final on network television, and the youth of Washington prove hungry for a new sport that quickly organizes.

Hungarians Fare Well in LA
March 13, 1966

Tommy Major's score in the 74th minute salvages a 1-1 away tie of the Seattle Hungarians' National Challenge Cup quarterfinal versus Orange County. Mike Kuczi set-up the equalizer in the first leg at Santa Ana Memorial Stadium.

East Side Youth Rapidly Growing
December 11, 1966

Officials with East Side Junior Soccer report growth of 30 percent in the past year. Players from five clubs – Bellevue, Lake Hills, Sunset, Newport Hills and Mercer Island – now number over 1,700.

Continentals Claim Knockout
May 8, 1966

Dieter Arpe's penalty is the difference as the Continentals claim the Knockout Cup, 2-1, over the United Hungarians at Lower Woodland. Heinz Ritter staked Continentals to an early lead before Charlie Boyer answered. The Continentals had eliminated the Hungarians, 1-0, in the semifinals, handing them their only defeat of the season.

Ryan Takes Charge at UW
September 12, 1966

Six weeks prior to the first game, the University of Washington names Mike Ryan as new men's varsity head coach. Ryan's Huskies will go 3-2-2, starting with an Oct. 21 loss to Victoria, 4-3, at Union Bay Field.

Hungarians Add Second-Half Crown
March 6, 1966

Seattle Hungarians repeat as state league champion, clinching the second half by pummeling Holland America, 5-1. Having won the first half, the Hungarians will not need a playoff to determine the title. With a 97-17 goal difference, they eventually finish 16-0-1 and one point in front of the Continentals, with two games in hand as they shift focus to the National Challenge Cup.

Interbay Turns Mushy
December 4, 1966

Just weeks after opening to great fanfare, Interbay Playfield is abandoned by the state league after drainage problems render it unplayable. It is apparently excellent at retaining water. Games are moved to Lower Woodland for a third time, and the Seattle Parks Department promises to make repairs.

Canadians Dominate Five-a-Side
April 17, 1966

Canadians dominate the Five-a-Side with Vancouver Sugar winning the final over Vancouver Saints, 4-1, at West Seattle Stadium. Seven of the eight quarterfinalists are from British Columbia, with Seattle Continentals the lone exception.

Magyars Can't Hold Lead in West Final
March 20, 1966

Orange County rallies from a goal down at West Seattle Stadium to deny the Seattle Hungarians a place in the National Challenge Cup semifinals. Welmer Mata strikes from outside the box in the 66th minute to give the Californians a 2-1 second-leg victory (3-2 aggregate). Geoff Wall's 30-yard strike gave the Magyars the lead in both the game and series before Freddy Cameron tied it in the 51st minute before a crowd of 1,700. Orange County goes on to make the cup final series.

Hungarians Roar Back
December 4, 1966

Tied at halftime, Seattle Hungarians roar back to beat Buchan Bakers, 3-1, to clinch the state league first-half title with two games still to play. They finish that portion of the season 10-0-0 with a 55-11 goal differential and nine points clear of the Vikings to take the Roosevelt Trophy.

Magyars Win 5th NW Championship
May 15, 1966

Seattle Hungarians leave no doubt as to their supremacy of Washington and Oregon by hammering Portland's Stein Haus, 5-1, away at Delta Park. It's the Magyars' third straight Northwest championship and fifth overall. Goals are scored by Mike Kuczi, Tommy Major, Steve Furjesi, Zoltan Mako and Johnny Phelps.

Hungarians Open Challenge Cup With Win
November 20, 1966

Two goals from Tommy Major propelled Seattle Hungarians into the second round of the 1966/67 National Challenge Cup. Constantine Tagios adds a third in Seattle's 3-0 victory over Denver Kickers before 1,000 spectators at West Seattle Stadium.

B's Win Battle of Buchans
April 10, 1966

The Buchan Bs oust Buchan's first team, 5-1, in a Knockout Cup second-round game. John Tweedle’s hat trick leads the way. Later, in the quarterfinals, the Buchan second team extend the Hungarians to overtime before losing, 1-0. Entered in the second division, they finished 10 places below the Buchan first team during the second half of the season.

Seattle Opens Interbay
September 11, 1966

Seattle's first playfield intended primarily for soccer opens in Interbay. City Council president Clarence Massart kicks out the ceremonial first ball. Harold Myrhold's brace highlights the Vikings' 3-2 win over Buchan Bakers. Tommy Major scores two goals in the Hungarians' 4-1 victory over the Continentals.

Washington Youth Soccer Organizes
December 19, 1966

Leaders from five districts – Seattle, East Side, Tacoma, Federal Way and Snohomish – unite to form the Washington Junior Soccer Association. Mike Ryan is elected president, adding to his existing duties as coach of Washington varsity, Buchan Juniors and vice-president of senior state association. Ryan had begun recruiting associations for a meeting at his Lake City home in October.

You couldn’t find a more truly League of Nations group than will be playing in West Seattle Stadium. Most Hungarians trace ancestry to Magyarland, with some notable exceptions…The invaders are a mixture of Latin American, Scottish and native American booters.
Vince O'Keefe, The Seattle Times, on Hunagirans-Orange County Challenge Cup match
Don’t expect soccer ever to rival football or baseball as a television attraction. Network commercial sponsors never will explode with enthusiasm over a game which is played in two 45-minute halves and the silly athletes never call timeout.
Georg Meyers, Seattle Times columnist, following high TV ratings for the 1966 World Cup final
On this Day in History
April 17, 1955
Renton Elks host benefit game for youth activities – Boy Scouts, bowling, talent show and scholarship awards – at Renton High School Stadium. It matches Vancouver Firefighters vs. Washington State Football Association all-stars. Vancouver defeats the Washington all-stars, 3-2.
More from 1955 ›
July 28, 1996
FC Royals of Tacoma-Pierce County prevail over Cincinnati's GSE Cardinals in the USYSA Girls Under-17 final via penalty kicks in Indianapolis. The Royals' Deka DeWitt ties the score, 1-1, with 11 minutes remaining in regulation after the Cardinals had scored in the 11th minute. Tied, 2-2, after five rounds in the tiebreaker, Melissa Parker makes the game-winner in the sixth round. In the semifinal, Meotis Erikson scored two goals and two assists in a 5-3 victory over the Dallas D'Feeters.
More from 1996 ›
July 12, 1986
Kevin Wilson scores four times and Linda Pederson has three assists as the Athlete’s Foot amputee team from Seattle wins at Portland, 5-3.
More from 1986 ›
June 7, 1987
Seattle Mitre Eagles win both the Open Cup and Amateur Cup regional finals in Denver. John Klein scores three times, including overtime winner vs. San Francisco Greek Americans, 2-1, in regional final. In all, Seattle plays five games in two days. The Eagles defeat Denver Kickers, 1-0, in the Amateur final but commit to playing the Open Cup at nationals. FC Seattle Cozars claim their fifth straight women’s regional title, 4-3, over the San Jose Bobcats.
More from 1987 ›