1983 – Around the World and Close to Home
Sally Ride becomes the first American female astronaut, the final episode of "M*A*S*H" is watched by a record 125 million TV viewers, and the U.S military invades the Caribbean island nation of Grenada following a Cuba-orchestrated coup of the government. In Washington, three gunman kill 13 patrons of the Wah Mee gambling club in Seattle’s International District, the $44 million Tacoma Dome opens, featuring one of the world’s largest wood roofs, the first Costco warehouse opens, and Marv Harshman’s Washington Huskies win a share of their first Pac-10 Conference basketball title.
For some, it was a year full of opportunity, hope and success. Yet for many, 1983 will be synonymous with colossal failure. It depended upon one's frame of reference and retrospective.
At the amateur level, it was a watershed year. Federal Way's Goalpost became Washington's first club to claim a national championship, and Seattle Pacific University, using a predominantly homegrown roster, won its second NCAA Division II men's championship.
Yet in the professional ranks, events largely reflected a national shift. The Seattle Sounders, facing financial challenges, were sold to Bruce Anderson, then majority control was later regained by Frank and Vince Coluccio. Meanwhile, on the field the Sounders were unable to navigate a season after undergoing a late coaching change with the firing of Alan Hinton, a leaner budget and losing several key contributors from past years, including Alan Hudson, Roger Davies and Steve Buttle. Seattle failed to make the playoffs for only the third time in 10 seasons, experienced further decline in attendance and ceased business operations days after completing the campaign. In all, the North American Soccer League lost three of its 12 teams during the offseason.
Meanwhile, the 6v6 indoor version of the game was surging, and a new pro venture was underway to the south. A group of prominent Tacoma area leaders purchased a franchise, beginning play in the newly completed Tacoma Dome. Leading the Tacoma Stars was former Sounders coach and GM John Best. By year end, the Major Indoor Soccer League had surpassed the NASL in participating teams.
It might rate as one of the most tumultuous years. Still, the youth and amateur side was advancing, both in terms of participation and pushing teams and players through to elite status nationally.
Several future national team selections led Lowenbrau FC to the national women's open finals for the fourth year in a row. Under Mike Ryan, Lowenbrau had won three national championships, but they succumbed to Dallas via penalties in the semifinal after drawing, 2-2. At a nearby Houston field, Seattle's FOE Eagles' run in the U.S. Open Cup ended with a 4-2 loss to eventual winner New York.
Seven weeks later, Washington's next title bid would not be denied. A team of Federal Way boys, coached by Ron Webber and sponsored by the popular soccer shop on Pacific Highway South, went the distance. Traveling cross-country to Rochester, N.Y., Goalpost first rallied for a semifinal victory over local favorite Oceanside, 4-3. A day later, they etched their name into state soccer history, claiming the Niotis Cup by beating Scott-Gallagher of St. Louis, 3-1.
The capper to the 1983 calendar came in December. In 1978, Seattle Pacific became Washington's first collegiate champion. Five years later, they proved it was no fluke and, as time would tell, they launched an era of dominance. Featuring a team, like Lowenbrau and Eagles, comprised primarily of homegrown players, SPU upset the No. 1 team in NCAA Division II on the road. Gerard McGlynn's goal and Bill Glandon's shutout gave the Falcons a 1-0 win over Tampa.