Here Comes the Boom

1975 – Around the World and Close to Home

Spanish dictator Francisco Franco dies after 36 years of rule, the Vietnam War ends after 20 years for the U.S. with withdrawal and the fall of Saigon, Jaws becomes the highest grossing film of all-time, and Saturday Night Live debuts on NBC. Microsoft is launched by Seattle natives Bill Gates and Paul Allen, developers of the BASIC program, Governor Dan Evans and First Lady Nancy Evans return after three years to Olympia’s restored and remodeled governor’s mansion, and coach Bill Russell guides the Sonics to their first NBA playoff berth.

Here Comes the Boom

Even the most jaded of the game’s disciples must have been awestruck in 1975, as the world was now arriving to acclaim on Puget Sound’s doorstep.

Never before had a full international team come to the Northwest, nor any world-class player, for that matter. In one early summer fortnight that all changed. Mighty Poland, one of the world’s top three teams of the early Seventies, delivered a powerful performance against the U.S. National Team at Memorial Stadium.

Eleven days later, along with national TV cameras and international press, three-time World Cup winner .Pele´ led the New York Cosmos into Seattle to face the Sounders before a record crowd. The Brazilian legend and scorer of over 1,000 career goals was unable to add to that total as the Sounders prevailed, 2-0.

The CBS audience saw a sun-drenched crowd of nearly 18,000 delight in the skills and showmanship of Pele´, however they reserved their loudest cheers for their own lads.

In their second season, the Sounders met a new rival. They faced the Portland Timbers a total of four times in heated matchups, three of them for high stakes before huge crowds. “Sports Illustrated” chronicled America’s newest and hottest soccer rivalry, and KOMO televised the first live local broadcast, the Sounders’ 2-1 overtime playoff loss to the Timbers.

Soccer’s boom time was evident elsewhere around the region, with youth and women’s participation rates skyrocketing, and big crowds coming not only to see professionals but the college game. There were three crowds of 5,000 or more, including 7,000 at Memorial on a frigid November afternoon for Seattle Pacific and the NCAA Division II championship game.

The young players from the area began making names for themselves. Tacoma’s Strikers won the inaugural U.S. Youth Soccer Association U16 championship and another Tacoma team, the U14 Wanderers, became one of the state’s first to travel overseas, playing and training in England.

Year in Review
Season Record
15-7 (14-5-3), 2nd NASL West, 1st Rnd Playoffs
John Best (2nd year)
Best XI
Mike England, Arfon Griffiths (1st team)
Top Scorer
John Rowlands (10 goals)
State Men's Champion
Seattle Steelers (won both halves)
Men's Collegiate Postseason
Seattle Pacific, D2 runner-up
NWAC Men's Champion
Bellevue (no playoff Green River runner-up)
Sounders Cup Winner
WIAA Boys Champion
Mountlake Terrace d Newport, 3-2
Karl Grosch
Member Associations
27,054 (b: 19,642 g: 7,412)
Largest Attendance
17,925, Memorial Stadium, Sounders v 4 opponents
Largest Amateur Attendance
7,000, Memorial Stadium, Seattle Pacific v Baltimore

1975: Here Comes the Boom

Seemingly overnight, with their impressive crowds and promising young players, Puget Sound becomes recognized as an American soccer hotbed.

Tacoma Boys Win at Home
June 7, 1975

Tacoma Strikers win the first USYSA U16 boys West Regional at Steilacoom, Wash., blasting the Valley Eagles of Van Nuys, Calif., 7-3, on two goals each from John Graves and Mark Peterson.

Pepe's Triumphant Return
June 14, 1975

After breaking his leg 13 months earlier, Pepe Fernandez returns and in his sixth game back comes off the bench to deliver the Sounders’ 95th minute winner, 2-1, versus Denver. A Tjeert Van’t Land chip gives Seattle the 52’ lead before Ace Ntsoelengoe ties it. Jimmy Gabriel twice hits the crossbar with headers. In overtime, a Van’t Land corner kick is headed down by Mike England and Fernandez volleys it home from 10 yards. It’s the fourth of five straight Sounders victories.

USMNT Makes Itself at Home
June 24, 1975

For the first time the United States National Team hosts a match in the Pacific Northwest. The USMNT faces Poland, winner of the 1972 Olympic Games and third in the 1974 World Cup. Seattle’s Hank Liotart starts in midfield and both Dave D’Errico and Tim Logush feature in the 4-0 defeat before 13,195.

Seattle Pacific Wins Far West Classic
September 27, 1975

Steve Newman’s goal beats host UC Santa Barbara, 1-0, as Seattle Pacific claims its first Far West Classic title. Behind Kit Zell's seven goals, the Falcons (2-0-2) go unbeaten in their first 10 games.

Sounders Seek Bigger Home
December 9, 1975

Sounders announce that after two seasons and 17 consecutive sellouts at Memorial Stadium, they are moving to the soon-to-be-completed Kingdome. Awaiting them are modern amenities such as parking, replay screens and protection from the elements, not to mention a larger, uncrowned playing surface. There will be no increase in ticket prices.

Indoor Exposure
February 21, 1975

The Sounders play indoor, 6-a-side version for the first time, in an NASL regional tournament at San Francisco’s Cow Palace. Seattle, playing without most of its starters from the 1974 season, is drubbed by San Jose, 14-4. Hank Liotart scores the first Sounders goal. Ballan Campeau is under constant siege in goal. Paul Child tallies four times for the Earthquakes. The doubleheader, which includes Vancouver-Los Angeles, attracts 9,223. Seattle is beaten again Feb. 23, this time by the Aztecs, 9-4.

Steelers No Match for San Jose
April 20, 1975

Seattle United Steelers equalize in the 11th minute, through assists from Thor Tollefson and Steve Newman to Bruce Walyor, but the San Jose Portuguese pull away to win the U.S. Challenge Cup West region semifinal, 4-1, at West Seattle Stadium.

It's Official: MT Wins
May 31, 1975

Mountlake Terrace claims the first official state high school championship, 3-2, over Bellevue’s Newport, on a Dale Buske volley with 3:22 remaining at Memorial Stadium. The Hawks come from two goals down in the final 12 minutes despite losing an ejected player. Attendance for the WIAA final is 1,247.

Zell Brace Lifts Falcons to West Title
November 22, 1975

Senior Kit Zell lifts his career postseason goal total to nine with a brace in Seattle Pacific's 2-1 overtime comeback victory at Cal State Hayward. It gives the Falcons their second straight NCAA West Region championship. Zell ties it in the 53rd minute and wins in in the 103rd. SPU now advances to the semifinals, which it was already chosen to host.

Fans Pack Sounders Preseason Games
April 5, 1975

A pent-up demand to see the Sounders is obvious as big crowds turn-out for preseason games in various communities. Attendance is 6,614 at Everett Memorial Stadium for Seattle's 1-0 win over L.A. Altogether, over 19,000 watch exhibitions in Everett, Yakima, Burien and Tacoma.

Sounders Begin Offseason Outreach Clinics
September 5, 1975

Sounders begin offering free youth clinics throughout Puget Sound, beginning at the Tacoma Mall, Federal Way, Lacey, Bellevue, Lynnwood and Auburn. Adrian Webster, Alan Stephens, Dave Butler and Dave D’Errico are among the players demonstrating skills.

Apple Cup Eve Pits Huskies vs. Cougs
November 21, 1975

On the eve of what would prove to be an epic Apple Cup on the gridiron, the Huskies host Washington State's club with half of gate proceeds going toward scholarship fund. Chris Whitworth scores twice in Washington’s 6-1 romp.

Bothell's Krueger Makes U.S. U18s
August 5, 1975

Bothell’s Eddie Krueger, a 15-year-old defender who attends Seattle Prep, is selected to the U.S. U18 National Team for a tour of West Germany. Kruger is one of three Washington players to tryout in Dallas, joining Paul Fagerland of Mountlake Terrace and Theron Aller of Federal Way. 8-game series over 3 weeks. Krueger, who plays for VFW Royals U17s, is one of only three West Coast selections for the U.S. that later goes 4-4-0 in West Germany.

NCAA Brings Finals to Seattle
June 4, 1975

NCAA accepts Seattle Pacific’s bid to host Division II semifinals, consolation and final at Memorial Stadium. Bid includes Nile Temple Shriners committing to buy 6,000 tickets each day.

Sounders-Timbers Pull Big Portland Crowd
July 26, 1975

With temperatures soaring near 90 at kickoff, the Sounders and Timbers take to the Civic Stadium stage to the roar of 27,310 and the unfurling of a banner reading, ‘Portland: Soccer City, U.S.A.’ Peter Withe cancels out Dave Gillett’s opener and then adds another second-half goal in the Timbers' 2-1 win. The victory puts 15-points’ difference between the timbers and Sounders entering the final two weeks of the regular season.

Play in the Snow? You Bet!
January 26, 1975

Bremerton’s Peewee Association postpones games due to fresh dumping of snow. Disappointed kids bombarded the league office with calls, so the games were played, with the parents marking out the lines on the snow-covered pitches with sand.

Opportunity Awaits Americans, Canadians
December 24, 1975

New NASL rules in 1976 stipulate squads reduced from 18 to 16 players and each team must have six North Americans.

Steelers Complete State League Sweep
April 22, 1975

Seattle United Steelers secure the second half's top spot and with it the overall state league championship by beating Mr. Pro, 2-0, at Lower Woodland. Bobby Smith and Porter Tollefson tally for the Steelers, who were undefeated but closely followed by the Heidelberg Huskies.

SPC Stopped Short of Title
December 9, 1975

The largest crowd in 41 years to see an amateur game in Seattle – 7,000 fans – witnesses Seattle Pacific scoring first but then falling in the NCAA Division II final, 3-1 to Baltimore in windy, near-freezing temperatures. Runner-up for a second year in a row, SPC coach Cliff McCrath said, “I’m proud of all my boys. Remember, a lot of gals had to go to more than two weddings before they caught the bouquet.”

Match 1: Sounders v Timbers
May 2, 1975

Seattle and Portland meet for the first time at the professional level, with the Sounders getting a penalty kick from Jimmy Gabriel and a penalty save by Barry Watling to claim a 1-nil victory in soggy Civic Stadium.

Sounders Sign Tottenham Legend Mike England
April 21, 1975

Mike England, a legend at London's Tottenham Hotspur and with the Welsh national team, signs to play full-time for the Sounders. England, 33, won four major trophies in 300 appearances with Spurs and served as Wales captain. A central defender, his arrival enables Jimmy Gabriel to move into defensive midfield.

City Championship Created
September 30, 1975

An intracity competition to be known as Sounders Cup is introduced, with Seattle Pacific, Seattle University and Washington vying for trophy in existing home-and-home regular season series between teams.

Seattle Pacific Advances to Final
November 28, 1975

Ken Hall’s five saves secure the shutout and Daudi Abe gets the goal that avenges previous year’s championship game defeat to Adelphi as Falcons win semifinal before 5,000 at Memorial Stadium.

State League Numbers Swell
January 19, 1975

Washington's State League opens its second half with the largest enrollment in its long history. There are 37 teams in three division, including 14 in the first flight.

Fire Claims Trophies, Shop
October 3, 1975

Fire destroys the original Sports Specialties soccer shop at 1530 1st Avenue South, Seattle. More than a uniform and equipment supplier Denzil Miskell’s store was the de facto hub of soccer activity and discussion. In addition to the shop’s inventory, also lost were four State League trophies, including the Eddie Craggs Memorial Cup.

Interlake Porsche Audi Races to First Half
December 7, 1975

A convincing victory wraps-up the state league first half title for the young and talented Interlake Porsche Audi. Errol Hickey's Interlake (11-2-1) spanks Mr. Pro, 3-0, to finish a point in front of defending champion Seattle Steelers (10-2-2). The victors are primarily recent high school graduates from the Eastside.

Auburn's McKeown Scores in NCAA Final
December 7, 1975

Greg McKeown of Auburn scores San Francisco's first goal as the Dons win the NCAA championship with a 4-0 blowout of SIU Edwardsville. McKeown, one of only three Americans in the lineup, had also assisted on the USF overtime game-winner versus Brown in the semifinals. Greg's brother Brad is a freshman playing for Washington and Darren, 13, won a state youth skills test during the summer.

Mountlake Terrace Team Visit Europe
June 9, 1975

After over a year of planning and fundraising, Mountlake Terrace’s Volvo Continentals departs for a 15-game tour of Holland, Switzerland and West Germany. Mike Kohary's U18 Continentals feature several state team members, including Jimmy McAlister and Mike Callan.

Women Ruled by West Seattle Lady Bugs
June 29, 1975

West Seattle's Sportsland Lady Bugs rightly complete an unbeaten season as Washington State Women's Soccer Association champions. Josie Cacchione and Barb Burns score for the Lady Bugs in a 2-0 title match win over Lake Washington Shamrocks at Lower Woodland. The Lady Bugs were 9-0-1 during league play and unscathed in the postseason as well.

West Seattle's Oilers Win Regional
May 31, 1975

Carlsen-Winquist Oilers of West Seattle win the U14 boys' West Regional at West Seattle Stadium. They defeat Scandia Kings of Los Angeles, 1-1 (3-1), in penalties. Clyde George scores for the Oilers in extra time and Roland Schmid for the Kings.

Chelsea Forward Joins Sounders
March 25, 1975

Seattle signs its first English First Division player, Chelsea forward Tommy Baldwin. Baldwin has been at Stamford Bridge since 1966, scoring 91 goals, and visited Seattle with the Blues in 1967.

Newport Huskies: Joy of Six
March 1, 1975

Eastside YSA’s U17 Newport Huskies win their sixth straight state championship convincingly, 9-2, over Seattle’s Hillwood Kickers, at Memorial Stadium. Steve Moore nets a hat trick and Ron Dorn adds two goals for Fred Conner’s squad.

Sounders Launch First B Team
July 1, 1975

The Sounders B team plays its first of six matches, defeating Seattle Pacific, 2-0, at Memorial Stadium. The reserve squad is the first in the NASL and is coached by Jimmy Gabriel. Pepe Fernandez, on his way back from a broken leg in 1974, scores the first of his five goals for the summer season, which finishes 5-1-0 against collegiate, state league and a British Columbia selection.

Huge Crowd, Pitch Invasion in Portland
August 12, 1975

Seattle reaches the NASL playoffs for the first time and although owning the third-highest point total in the league is pitted against points leader Portland in the first round. Before 31,523 (including an estimated 2,000 from Puget Sound), John Rowlands gives the visitors a lead early in the second half before Barry Powell answers. A pitch invasion ensues after Tony Betts gets the winner in the 97th minute.

Crossley's Three Assists Help Seattle Spank San Jose
June 21, 1975

Paul Crossley sets-up three goals and both Tjeert Van't Land and John Rowlands score twice in Seattle's 5-1 spanking of 10-man San Jose at Memorial Stadium. The Sounders spot the visitors an early goal, but Crossley's cross to Rowlands is flicked on to Van't Land for the equalizer. The English winger then sends crosses onto the heads of Rowlands and Van't Land in the 23rd and 49th minutes, respectively, to make it 3-1. Crossley, on loan from Tranmere, has assisted on seven goals and scored two in his first 11 matches.

Key Date
Jack Daley, Sounders GM, on NASL rules requiring at least one North American player on the field, beginning in 1976

I don’t believe the fans are interested only in something stamped ‘Made in America.’ I think they want to see the best players available. The way to upgrade American soccer players is through experience and talent, not through legislation.

Huskies Hoist First Sounders Cup
November 12, 1975

Washington clinches the Sounders Cup series by hammering Seattle Pacific, 4-0, in front of a record attendance for college soccer in the state – 5,200 at Husky Stadium. Doug Buck scored a brace on two long-distance strikes and twin brother Denny Buck posts the shutout.

Seattle Signs Wales Star
March 5, 1975

John Best begins a month-long shopping trip to Britain by securing the services of Arfon Griffiths, 33. Born in Wrexham, Wales, Griffiths has been with his hometown club 15 of the last 16 years. The club’s first current European international signing, Griffiths is a midfield fixture in the Wales National Team and will report once the Home Championships are completed in May.

Best Is First But Fourth
January 9, 1975

Sounders coach John Best becomes the first soccer personality nominated for “Post-Intelligencer” Sports Man of the Year award at the Olympic Hotel. Best finishes fourth in the voting, which is topped by bowler Earl Anthony.

Pele´Pays First Visit
July 5, 1975

A national TV audience descends upon Seattle for the first time as newly-signed Pele´ visits with his New York Cosmos. The Sounders bring in additional bleachers, boosting capacity to 17,925 at Memorial Stadium. Hank Liotart scores from the spot and Tommy Baldwin seals the 2-0 win.

Rivalry Attracts SI Spotlight
August 2, 1975

Sports Illustrated features the Sounders-Timbers series as it moves to Memorial Stadium and the second meeting in eight days. Portland striker Peter Withe begins the game with his third goal against the Sounders in two meetings. Tommy Baldwin ties it, and Mike England scores from 30 yards for a 57' lead. It appears to be a Sounders win, but Barry Powell equalizes in the 90th minute, forcing overtime. three minutes into the extra period, Seattle wins it, 3-2, as a long throw from Paul Crossley is headed in by John Rowlands.

He’s not flashy but a very professional player who has a high work rate and knits things together. His value is in his knitting and knocking, knitting and knocking.
Sounders coach John Best on the attributes of Wales international Arfon Griffiths
We’ve been happy in Memorial. We averaged 16,830 a game. But interest indicates we need a larger place. Memorial has only 12,000 seats between the penalty areas. In the Kingdome, we will have 18,000.
Jack Daley, Sounders GM
Mike England has had an incredible career, incredible for Wales and with Tottenham. And Mike will score goals. He is also outstanding in the air and can contribute to our defense.
John Best on Mike England, the Sounders' newly-acquired central defender
I never had an opportunity to be terribly physical when I was younger. I never competed in sports or in a team situation with women. I am in better physical condition now than I have been in 10 years.
Mary Hunter, player in Washington State Women’s Soccer Association
We’d be here – even if Pele´ wasn’t.
Seattle fan’s banner at Memorial Stadium for Brazilian star’s first Seattle visit
There were some difficulties early about getting fields and support, so we’ve had our share of problems, yet it’s getting better. We are being recognized, and we honestly feel that we’re helping to pave the way for the juniors coming up, so that maybe they won’t have it quite as bad.
Janet Judd, VP of the fast-growing Washington State Women's Soccer Association, on the organization's first two years
I started coaching at the lowest level here 20 years ago. I had all little kids. Now, thanks to the accelerated junior program, 95 percent of the players in our state league are American-born...When I used to work the youngsters out at Woodland Park, the Hungarians or Vikings or some other old-line team would hustle me: ‘Get them kids outta here!’ Now, some of the same people are casing my teams and wondering if any of the lads are available.
Mike Ryan on the growing number of talented local players
We are the first club in the league to carry a taxi squad and hopefully we will see the benefits as the players start really contending for positions on the 18-man active roster.
Sounders coach John Best on starting a reserve team to develop young Americans and provide opportunities for veteran coming back from injuries
The goal was just beautiful. It was for the fans.
Pepe Fernandez after capping his comeback from a leg fractured 13 months earlier to score the overtime winner over Denver
Collegiate Men's Records
Central Washington (club) 4-4-0
Gonzaga (club) n/a
Pacific Lutheran 3-7-2
Puget Sound 4-5-2
Seattle University 6-6-1
Seattle Pacific 14-4-5
Washington 16-5-2
Washington State (club) n/a
Western Washington (club) 2-7-1
Professional All-League
Player (Pos) Team (Lg-Tm)
Mike England (D) Sounders (NASL-1st)
Arfon Griffiths (M) Sounders (NASL-1st)
Washington State Youth Cup Winners
Age BoysGirls
U9 Lake Hills Satellites (EYSA) West Highline Little Kicks (HAS)
U10 McGilvra Donover Devils (SYSA)Skyway Reds (GRJSA)
U11 Totem Trappers (FWSA)Highline Good Guys (HAS)
U12 Totem Tornado (FWSA)Fircrest Sweetfoots (TPCJSA)
U13 Totem Jets (FWSA)Midway Demons (HAS)
U14 Hillwood Hawks (SYSA) Shorelake Roadrunners (SYSA)
U15 South Lakes Hydros (FWSA) Kiwanis Killers (TPCJSA)
U16 Walt's Hotspurs (TPCJSA) Swiftkickers (TPCJSA)
U17 Newport Huskies (EYSA) Ed-Lyn Hyster (SSCJSA)
U19 Sunset Huskies (EYSA) Newport Hills Bombers (EYSA)
On this Day in History
September 11, 1984
Alkis Panagoulias calls in Jeff Durgan, Chance Fry and Mark Peterson in U.S. National Team preparations for upcoming World Cup qualifying matches. Durgan plays for the New York Cosmos, Fry for the Tulsa Roughnecks and Peterson for the Tacoma Stars. In all, 26 players report.
More from 1984 ›
March 1, 1973
Shorecrest keeps bragging rights in the Metro League for the fourth year in a row, winning the mythical state title over Wesco champ Blanchet, 1-1 (3-2), before 1,100 at Memorial Stadium. Mark McGuire puts the Braves ahead in regulation with a first-half free kick. The Scots' Ed DeArias converts a retaken penalty after the keeper moves early on his first attempt. Bruce Liles gets the decisive tiebreaker penalty. Kingco's Newport (7-0-0) and independent O'Dea (12-0-1) make their respective cases for No. 1 in what proves to be the final season before the WIAA sponsors a tournament.
More from 1973 ›
December 7, 2019
Western Washington is heading to the NCAA Division II Women's Championships Final Four for a fourth time following a 3-0 quarterfinal triumph over Utah's Dixie State at Harrington Field. After securing three consecutive 1-0 victories to open the NCAA tournament, the Vikings explode for three goals against the Trailblazers to punch their ticket to Pittsburgh. Dayana Diaz opens the scoring with a goal in the 30th minute on a rebound. Four minutes into the second half Liv Larson give WWU some cushion with her seventh goal of the season and 20th of her career. Grace Eversaul tallies the third goal in the 69th minute. Western's 17th shutout features only three shots allowed by Dixie State.
More from 2019 ›
July 20, 2005
Mick McCarthy's Sunderland, bound for England's Premiership after handily winning the Championship, visits Qwest Field for a friendly with the Sounders. A season-high crowd of 8,502 sees the Black Cats score late to win, 1-0.
More from 2005 ›