Seattle States its Case

1967 – Around the World and Close to Home

Muhammad Ali is stripped of his heavyweight boxing crown after refusing to be inducted into the U.S. Army, the first NFL-AFL Championship Game (later named the Super Bowl) is won by the Green Bay Packers over Kansas City, 35-10, and Rolling Stone magazine publishes its first issue. Locally, Interstate 5 is completed from Tacoma to Everett, Ivan the Gorilla takes up residency at Lakewood’s B&I Store, Boeing’s 737 makes its maiden flight from Boeing Field and the art deco-styled ferry Kalakala makes its final run across Puget Sound.

Seattle States its Case

Investors in American professional soccer, emboldened by the high viewership ratings for the 1966 World Cup final, creates 22 teams and two warring leagues in 1967. Vancouver secures a United Soccer Association franchise, the Royal Canadians, and there is rumored interest in expanding soon to Seattle.

With that as the backdrop, local promoters arrange to bring Chelsea to Memorial Stadium once the English season is completed, on May 28. The Blues finish ninth in the first division and advance to the FA Cup final, where they fall, 2-1, to Tottenham on May 20. They promptly take flight to the West Coast of North America where they also make stops in Los Angeles, Vancouver and Victoria. It’s all part of a 24-day tour through the U.S., Canada and Bermuda.

Rarely was admission charged and attendance taken at soccer matches around Puget Sound to that point, so the Chelsea game would serve as the first barometer for soccer as a business. Tickets were priced $2 in advance and $1 for students and children.

Elsewhere, some of Chelsea’s touring dates featured another foreign invader. Seattle settled on a local contingent. The Hungarians might have been more rehearsed and cohesive as a team, but instead Alex Lennox was appointed manager and it became a select squad. The Hungarians were well represented, and all of the Northwest All-Stars were foreign-born. Baldwin, the future Sounders midfielder, scored twice in Chelsea’s 5-0 win.

More importantly, the match attracted 6,400 spectators – a respectable turnout and comparable to most NPSL and USA games. It was sufficient to spur further discussion of Seattle acquiring a team for a few months, and for the next five years European clubs would come calling for springtime friendlies.

However, the notion of getting a professional franchise waned when the two leagues, both facing financial strains, agreed to merge before 1968. Instead of expansion there was contraction, down to 17 total teams.

Effectively, the Chelsea match was the last significant sporting event played on the old, rocky (and in winter, muddy) Memorial sod. In August, the Seattle School Board voted to install Astroturf, making it the world’s first football and soccer facility to do so (although the college stadium in Bloomington, Indiana, was the first to stage a competitive event).

Northwest Champion
Seattle Hungarians 9:0 Portland All-Stars (Ore.)
State Men's Champion
Seattle Hungarians (won both halves no playoff necessary)
State Knockout Cup
Seattle Hungarians 2:0 Germania
Jack Mickelberry
480 (boys)
Largest Attendance
6,400, Memorial Stadium, Chelsea v Northwest All-Stars

1967: Seattle States its Case

Testing the waters for America’s new professional soccer leagues, Seattle hosts Chelsea in the first of six annual international friendlies at Memorial Stadium.

Ryan Adds Another Title
July 27, 1972

There's no question about who holds the mantle of Mr. Soccer these days. Mike Ryan is voted president of the Washington State Soccer Football Association, replacing Andy Goodman. Ryan is already UW head coach and coach of the Buchan Bakers Juniors. He also was founding president of the state junior association.

State League a Melting Pot
October 22, 1967

State association secretary Ed Craggs notes that the 18 first and second division teams feature players from 39 different countries, many of them having played professionally or semipro before coming to the state league.

New Pro League Blacked Out in Seattle
April 16, 1967

National Professional Soccer League inaugural season play begins, and although CBS carries 12 games, Seattle affiliate KIRO TV announces it will not carry the Atlanta—Baltimore opener nor any of the network broadcasts live. Bellingham’s KVOS does show CBS games live. Broadcasts feature 14 commercial breaks, including five each half.

Memorial First to Install Turf
August 17, 1967

Monsanto begins installation of Astroturf at Memorial Stadium, making it the first football and soccer facility to do so. The Seattle School Board voted to purchase the rug as a cost of $174,468. Parking concession funds will pay for the turf. Memorial also installs ‘slingshot-type’ goalposts. The first competitive event on the carpet is the Sept. 22 Metro Jamboree football games. Harvey Lanman, Metro League athletic director, had been seeking to upgrade the surface for four years. It is the first installation of Astroturf outdoors Houston’s Astrodome was the first to use it.

Hungarians Beat PCL Team
April 23, 1967

Another impressive Hungarians exhibition win versus Canadian opposition concludes the 1966-67 season at West Seattle Stadium. The Magyars defeat the Pacific Coast League’s New Westminster Royals, 3-2, on goals from Tommy Major, Mike Kuczi and John Phelps. The Hungarians, who have requested re-entry to the PCL in the fall, are also making a case for representing the local area vs. Chelsea, rather than an all-star team.

Hungarians: No Equal
March 12, 1967

The Hungarians (7-0-1) clinch the state league's second-half title and avert a championship playoff by blanking the Continentals, 2-0. The Magyars eventually finish 9-0-1. Mike Kuczi scores goals in each half and Walter Schmetzer’s penalty kick hits both posts before bouncing out for the Continentals. Elsewhere, Otto Myrold scores six goals in the Vikings’ 12-0 rout of United Hungarians.

Buchan Lifts Lipton Trophy
April 23, 1967

The Buchan Bakers Juniors win the Sir Thomas Lipton Cup by defeating Mountlake Terrace, 2-1, in the boys' 16-18 age group final at West Seattle. Two weeks later, Mike Ryan's Baker Juniors, who won the U18 division, opt to enter the men's first division for the fall.

Brennan Referees NPSL Opener
April 16, 1967

A former state league star and local official now living in Southern California, Emmett Brennan referees the National Professional Soccer League opener at the Los Angeles Coliseum between the L.A. Toros and New York Generals. Pepe Fernandez plays for L.A. in a 3-2 win before 9,048.

Blanked in Bay Area
March 5, 1967

Despite dominating the number of chances, the Seattle Hungarians fall to the San Francisco Greek Americans, 1-0, on a goal in the second minute, in the West semifinals of the National Challenge Cup before 2,500 at Balboa Park. Kirk Apostolidis beats Willi Lindner, and the Greeks nearly make it 2-nil moments later. Seattle then asserts control. The Magyars pepper the goal with shots, get a penalty appeal denied and Alex Bogdan's late try is cleared off the line.

Seattle U Wins First Intracity Matchup
November 18, 1967

Dale Lenz scores the first goal, his 13th of the year, and Seattle University goes on to beat Washington, 3-0, in the first competitive intracity meeting between intercollegiate teams at Lower Woodland. Mike Carney doubles the lead and Tom Yagle completes the scoring. The two teams met Oct. 6 in a non-counting game after the Chieftains had just four practice sessions. The Huskies won that, 3-0, at Lower Woodland.

Tacoma Wanderers First to Visit England
July 16, 1967

The Tacoma Wanderers depart for a three-week tour of England, where they train under English FA coaches, play several schoolboy teams and meet the legendary Sir Stanley Matthews, now manager of Port Vale. Frank Hall's U16 team of 14 players raised nearly $7,000 through raffles and donations. The Wanderers, proclaimed the first American youth team to play in England, goes 0-2-2 versus teams from Staffordshire, Stockport, Oxford and Woking.

Olympic Team Prospects
May 23, 1967

Four state youths – Mike Dawson, Mike Carney (both of Buchan Bakers), Mark Smith (Lake Hills) and Steve Thorne (Edmonds Hansen Hotspurs) – are chosen by State Junior Soccer Commission for the U.S. Olympic Development camp in San Jose, June 18-24, under Olympic team coach Geza Henni.

Untouchable Magyars
February 26, 1967

Les Mueller buries four goals in rival Buchans’ net to keep the Hungarians unbeaten (6-0-1) in state first division. Tommy Major starts it with an early penalty, and Mike Kuczi adds a brace.

Win No. 1 for Seattle U
October 26, 1967

Seattle University earns its first varsity intercollegiate victory, 1-0, over Shoreline Community College on Joe Zavaglia’s goal at Lower Woodland. The Chieftains, who formed their program hastily in September, proceed to win the next five games.

Liberty Park Upgrade
March 5, 1967

Renton’s city council votes to appropriate $92,000 to build new stands, locker rooms and other improvements to Liberty Park, long the favorite site for all athletics, including soccer, in that city.

Rain Leaves Fields Unplayable
December 17, 1967

Heavy rain and poor drainage leaves Interbay Field unplayable for a state league doubleheader. Over two inches of precipitation has been measured in December's first three days, and more is on the way. Another series of storms two weeks later make both White Center and Lower Woodland unplayable and postpone state league matches until the New Year.

German Youth Visit Sound
June 17, 1967

Germany’s touring amateurs Tus Bad Salzuflen tally three times in the final 15 minutes to defeat the Tacoma All-Stars, 6-3, at Fife High School. Brian Franklin scores twice for Tacoma. A day earlier in West Seattle, the Germans topped the Seattle Continentals, 4-1.

Hungarians Dethrone Five-a-Side Champs
April 16, 1967

The Hungarians dethrone four-time Five-a-Side tournament champion Vancouver O’Keefe’s, 1-0, on Les Mueller’s strike with 30 seconds to go in the final at West Seattle. Thirty-two teams from Washington, Oregon and B.C. started the day, with 19 being Canadian. A Bellevue teams featuring four juniors shocks the senior Vikings, 4-0, in the first round but bows out to the Hungarians at the quarterfinal stage.

Hungarians' NW Threepeat
April 9, 1967

Hat tricks by Mike Kuczi and Les Muller fuel Seattle Hungarians’ 9-0 rout of Portland All-Stars at West Seattle Stadium for their third consecutive Northwest championship. Portland’s team, its nucleus from the tops side Amsterdam, held on through the first half, trailing only 2-nil after Kuczi and Tommy Major (penalty) score in the first 11 minutes. However, the onslaught is unrelenting in the second period, with Kuczi, Mueller and Alex Bogdan (twice) pushing it to 7-0. Following a Con Tagios goal, Mueller cracks a shot off the crossbar and in. Oregon has not won the title since 1955.

All-Stars Experience The Blues
May 28, 1967

Considered a bellwether for whether Seattle could support a team in one of the two new professional league, FA Cup runner-up Chelsea visits Memorial Stadium. The young Blues (oldest starters age 26), featuring $225,000 signing Tommy Baldwin, beat the Northwest All-Stars, 5-0, before a crowd of 6,400. The Blues get first-half goals from John Broyles, Baldwin and Joe Kirkup. Baldwin and Barry Lloyd add more in the second half. The visitors are unimpressed by the playing surface, which is less grass and mostly dirt with gravel mixed in.

Hungarians Opt Out of PCL Return
July 26, 1967

Balint Ducz decides to withdraw the Hungarians' application to return to the Pacific Coast League due to costs of renting West Seattle Stadium. The PCL had concerns about a suitable playing facility since the Magyars first joined the league from 1962-64.

Canadian Kids Win Out
December 3, 1967

North Vancouver sweeps Seattle CYO all-stars in Oldershaw series, taking the second leg, 3-2, at Lower Woodland after winning the opener, 2-0.

Exchange Rate Increases
March 25, 1967

The fifth year of the Canadian Exchange features still more teams crossing the border. In all, 127 Seattle area teams participate, with the Americans improving their record to 27-52-19.

Kuczi, Hungarians Make Statement Win
April 2, 1967

As the Hungarians make their case for readmission the Pacific Coast League, Mike Kuczi fires six goals past Vancouver’s Moslem Thistle in an exhibition win, 9-2, at West Seattle Stadium. Les Mueller bags two goals and Zoltan Mako the other against the Mainland League club.

Hungarians Stun PCL Champs
September 4, 1967

John Phelps and Ted Budai score five minutes apart and the Seattle Hungarians stun defending PCL champion Victoria with a 2-2 draw in a preseason exhibition the provincial capital.

Furjesi Signs for AFL Broncos
May 23, 1967

Steve Furjesi of the Hungarians signs as a placekicker with the Denver Broncos of the American Football League. Lou Saban, Broncos coach, is impressed that during tryouts Furjesi could kick field goals with either foot.

England '66 on Silver Screen
November 21, 1967

Edgemont Theatre in Edmonds screens “Goal,” official film of 1966 FIFA World Cup. State league coach Alex Lennox and Huskies coach Mike Ryan serve as hosts. The Seattle Times reports: “One does not have to be a soccer fan to appreciate the color, the crowds, the action caught by the cameras in ‘Goal!’

I would like to register a complaint about Channel 7’s decision not to carry telecasts of the National Professional Soccer League on Sunday afternoons…Are not station officials aware that soccer is the world’s most popular athletic game?
Letter to Seattle Times editor, after KIRO delays games up to six days and pre-empts others
The players do not want to be known as the Hungarians or the Germans or what-ever, they want to be known as Americans playing for Seattle.
Zoltan Mako, Hungarians star midfielder, after representing Northwest All-Stars versus Chelsea
It’s going to be even better than I imagined it would be. It’s thicker and nicer. Just think, no more mud or gravel or sand or rocks. Rain or shine, makes no difference.
Harvey Lanman, Metro League athletic director, on Memorial Stadium's newly-installed Astroturf
Seattle’s next major-league venture in professional sports will not necessarily be in the field of football or baseball. It is more likely to be soccer.
Vince O’Keefe, Seattle Times
It’s like a dream, to get the kids out of the mud.
Harvey Lanman, Metro League athletic director, on the installation of Astroturf at Memorial Stadium
Collegiate Men's Records
Seattle University 7-2-0
Washington 6-2-2
Western Washington (club) 1-2-1
On this Day in History
October 21, 2015
Hope Solo and the world champion U.S. Women’s National Team bring their Victory Tour to Seattle and CenturyLink Field, drawing a record crowd for a 1-1 draw with Brazil. The attendance of 23,603 is the largest ever for women's match played in Washington. Solo makes five saves but cannot deny Monica in the third minute. World Cup hero Carli Lloyd equalizes in the 85th with her 17th goal of the year. Joining Solo in the starting XI is Reign teammate Megan Rapinoe. Serving as referee is local resident Katja Koroleva.
More from 2015 ›
December 17, 1983
Twelve games into their existence and struggling mightily, the Tacoma Stars name vice president Freddie Goodwin as coach, demoting Bob McNab to associate. The fledgling MISL club is just 1-11. Tacoma beats Phoenix, 8-7, in Goodwin's first game later in the day.
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July 2, 2006
Immigrants from the little-known nation of Eritrea - bordered by Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia - begin their Eritrean Sports Federation North American Championships in King County. Some 10,000 Eritreans from the U.S. and Canada arrive in the area to play and watch through July 8 at Burien's Highline High School and Seattle's Genesee Park. Seattle is home to about 7,000 Eritreans. This year organizers are creating a youth soccer league for 8- to 15-year-olds.
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July 12, 1997
Chris Henderson signs a four-year contract with Nottingham Forest of the England First Division, pending a British work permit. Henderson will remain with the Colorado Rapids, at least for the rest of the season. The British government allows for “exceptional talent” in determining work permits to non-citizens. Henderson has 73 appearances for the U.S. National Team and started the MLS All-Star Game eight days earlier.
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