Collegians Step Up in Class

Apart from the annual U.S. Challenge (Open) Cup encounter, Washington soccer's exposure to the outside world was almost entirely limited to Oregon and British Columbia. That began to change in the autumn of 1972, with a couple of college coaches enticing visitors from afar. Better still, they maximized the opportunity by validating the rising quality of their respective teams.

Seattle Pacific's Cliff McCrath arrived in 1970 with a Rolodex packed with contacts back east, where he had coached for 11 seasons. One of his associates was a 1950 World Cup hero and now the coach of the most dominant collegiate program in the land, St. Louis University. Long a city rich in talent and tradition, St. Louis had claimed seven NCAA championships by McCrath rang Keough's number. The Billikens were about to embark on their first regular season trip to the West, and McCrath was keen on luring them north in late September. So, in addition to stops in Denver and San Francisco, Keough agreed to play two nights only in Seattle, at Washington and Seattle Pacific.

While McCrath was working the phones, the Huskies' Mike Ryan was dreaming of drawing big crowds into cavernous Husky Stadium to see the best teams in the West each October. To that point, Washington had never ventured outside the Northwest but for a disastrous 1968 postseason debut. Now, through fundraising, he was offering return games in exchange for four proven California schools– California, Chico State, UCLA and San Jose State–entering a three-day, three-game tournament involving four Washington teams (SPC, Seattle University, Washington and Western Washington). These were the first steps in traveling and testing homegrown selections against the best in the region and, in the case of St. Louis, the nation.

St. Louis arrived on Montlake having drubbed Air Force and Metropolitan State by a combined count of 12-2. Washington proved a stingy host, holding on for a scoreless draw. The following night, across town at Memorial Stadium, the Falcons scored their first upset of a Division I power, getting a late equalizer to end 1-1. St. Louis was playing for the fourth time in as many nights, yet would end the trip with two wins in the Bay Area. By December, Keough would lift the NCAA trophy for an eighth time.

Soon Ryan was mobilizing the youth clubs around Puget Sound to come see the Husky Soccer Classic. Tapping into the enthusiasm generated by the results versus St. Louis, over 3,000 tickets were sold in advance for the tournament's final day, Oct. 14. Although neither the Huskies nor Falcons advanced in the winners bracket, dropping openers to Chico State and UCLA, respectively, a state record collegiate crowd of 5,000 created a lively atmosphere inside the huge arena. San Jose State, with Olympian Jim Zylker playing a prominent role, edge Chico for the tourney title, 1-0. earlier in the day, Seattle Pacific scored its second shocker in three weeks, beating Cal, 3-0.

By expanding the horizon, Ryan and McCrath and their respective teams reaped rewards for both the short and long run. Washington and Seattle Pacific earned postseason bids in November, and in subsequent seasons each program would grow more competitive with the more established California programs, and local college games began drawing bigger and bigger crowds.

At the top of the state league, a new entity was etched into trophy base, but it was a familiar cast clutching the cup. Rainier Brewers, runners-up the previous year, won out over Triumph Continentals and Olympia Vikings. The Brewers, managed by Robin Chalmers, feature several members of the Sixties juggernaut Seattle Hungarians, most notably Mike Kuczi, Zoltan Mako, Alex Bogdan and Les Muller. Rainier, the second-half winner, beat the Olys, 5-1, to cap the campaign.

AMATEUR
Northwest Champion
Rainier Brewers 1:3 Germania Portland
State Men's Champion
Rainier Brewers 5:1 Olympia Brewing Vikings
Men's Collegiate Postseason
Washington (D1, 1st rnd), Seattle Pacific (D2, 1st rnd)
NCSC Men's Champion
Washington (11-0-1)
WIAA Boys Champion
Shoreline (unofficial)
WASHINGTON YOUTH SOCCER
President
Ozzie Gencoz
Member Associations
6
Players
15,776 (11,358 boys; 4,417 girls)
Largest Attendance
6,100, Wolverhampton v Aberdeen, Memorial Stadium, 5/24/1972

1972: Collegians Step Up in Class

Washington and Seattle Pacific finish on even terms with powerhouse St. Louis en route to returning to their respective NCAA tournaments

UW, SPU Tie NCAA Champs
September 26, 1972

Eight-time NCAA champion St. Louis University would go on to take its ninth title less than three months later, but Harry Keough's Billikens do not emerge unscathed from their first visit to Washington. First, the Huskies and freshman keeper Ed Fillion hold SLU to a scoreless draw. One night later, out-shot 5-8, Seattle Pacific gets acrobatic saves from Rex Yoder and a long-range equalizer from Doug McKenna for a 1-1 tie at Memorial Stadium. St. Louis features Hermann Trophy winner and Olympian Mike Seerey among its many future professionals.

St. Joseph's Wins CYO
November 18, 1972

St. Joseph's gets a late header from Mike Gates to claim the CYO Cadet Division title, 3-2, over St. Luke's.

Seattle Wolves Defeat Germans
June 30, 1972

Billed as the state's first professional club, the Seattle Wolves debut with a 3-1 win over touring Wolfsburg-Goettingen of West Germany's second tier. If all goes well, Wolves owner Johnny Haas intends to petition for an NASL club in 1973 or '74. However, less than a thousand attend the Highline Stadium exhibition which stars guest player Jackie Charlton.

UW Extends Lead Through Forrest
October 30, 1972

Ward Forrest's hat trick propelled Washington to a 3-2 victory over Western Washington, extending the Huskies' conference lead over Seattle Pacific to an almost insurmountable seven points.

Locals Humble Austrians
July 30, 1972

Seattle Heidelbergs of the state league defeat Vienna Sandt, 4-1, at West Seattle Stadium. It's only the second loss by Austrians in 18 touring games over three years. Abu Kamara, Sierra Leone student at UW, stars on defense for the Heidelbergs. Eli DeOliveira scores two goals for Seattle. The previous night Sandt drubbed Tacoma Heidelberg, 4-0, at Baker Stadium.

Rainiers Take State Crown
April 30, 1972

Mike Kuczi's brace leads Rainier Brewers to a 5-1 victory over defending champion Olympia Brewing Vikings at Memorial Stadium. The Vikings had won the first half of the season's first division and Rainiers had claimed the second half. Washington State won the second division and Pacific Lutheran the third tier.

First Summer Camp Opens
June 25, 1972

Northwest Soccer Camp begins when Cliff McCrath and Mike Ryan share with each other that soccer was growing so fast that neither of them can keep pace with the scores of requests from players, coaches, and parents to assist them with player development, coaching seminars, and training sessions. It all begins at Camp Casey on Whidbey Island: one week, 30 resident campers, four coaches and a budget of $2,200. Meals are donated and no cost to campers.

Vikings Crash in Challenge Cup
March 5, 1972

Olympia Brewery Vikings, missing their injured star, Bobby Hough, crash out of the National Challenge Cup, 6-1, in the West semifinal at San Francisco's Concordia.

Israeli Champs Arrive
August 18, 1972

Straight off reclaiming the Israeli championship once again, Maccabi of Tel Aviv visits Seattle, playing the Northwest Selects, comprised of stars of Vancouver and Seattle semi-pros and amateurs. Future Sounder Bernie Fagan comes south to play alongside Seattle Hungarians legends Les Fabri and Mike Kuczi. Maccabi prevails, 1-0, before 1,800.

Cross-Border traffic
March 1, 1972

During February and March, Washington and British Columbia youth players flood the border crossings for the 10th annual Canadian Exchange Series, promoting the game as well as friendships between teams from the Seattle and Vancouver areas. In all, 703 teams from U8 to U16 participate.

Falcons Turned Back Again
November 21, 1972

For the second year in a row Seattle Pacific reaches the NCAA Division II tournament, only to again be turned back by Chico State. However, the Falcons, who end the regular season by winning nine and tying one, narrow the gap. After losing by seven goals a year earlier they fall, 3-2.

Washington Boys Win Regionals
June 25, 1972

Bellevue's Olsen's United and Tacoma's Norpoint Royals win boys U17 and U11 West Coast championships in Portland. Olsen's ends a B.C. stranglehold on U17 division, taking title, 2-1 in overtime, on goals by brothers Ward and Dave Forrest. Danny Hopper scores Norpoint's championship game winner.

Lutes' Abe Honored
December 7, 1972

Pacific Lutheran's diminutive forward, Abraham Abe, is voted player of the year in the Northwest Collegiate Soccer Conference, despite the Lutes finishing a distant third behind Washington and Seattle Pacific. The Falcons' Ken Covell finishes as top scorer with 18 goals and Ward Forrest sets a new UW mark with 14.

Shoreline High Wins State
March 2, 1972

Gordy McIntyre's second-half goal for Shoreline High School proves the difference in the state's first high school championship game against Everett, 1-0. The unsanctioned title featured the winners of the Metro and Wesco.

Pelé Visits Nearby
July 7, 1972

Diehard fans flock across the border to see Pelé and Santos visit Vancouver's Empire Stadium. Pelé doesn't score but his Brazil teammate Edu does twice to crush the B.C. Premier League All-Stars, 5-0, before 16,300.

State League to Turf
March 5, 1972

A longtime institution on Sundays at Lower Woodland, the state league's first division moves to the Astroturf of Memorial Stadium with a triple-header and admission fee of $1.50 for adults.

500 Watch Closed Circuit Euros
April 29, 1972

Over 500 watch two European Nations Cup quarterfinal doubleheader from Italy via closed circuit TV in the Seattle Coliseum. Cost: $8-10.

State Begins Girls Play
June 26, 1972

At the Washington State Youth Soccer Annual General Meeting in June, girls soccer becomes part of the organization, with state tournament play to commence in 1973.

Wolves, Dons Meet at Memorial
May 24, 1972

Scottish runners-up Aberdeen ruin Wolverhampton's holiday in Seattle, 3-0. A crowd of 6,100 comes to Memorial Stadium. Dons' newly signed Barrie Mitchell scores twice, both headers past Wolves keeper Phil Parkes in first 32 minutes. It's Aberdeen's fifth straight win on their U.S. tour. Wolves finished 10th in England's top flight.

Soccer a Threat to Football?
January 20, 1972

Junior high school principals in Kingco approve adding boys soccer, and since it is not yet a sanctioned sport for WIAA, players can participate in both school and club games during the fall.

Charlton Clinics Return
June 18, 1972

England and Leeds star Jackie Charlton returns to hold June youth clinics for more than 500 in Bellevue, Federal Way and Seattle.

New Leadership Installed
July 26, 1972

Tom Webb is elected president of Washington State Soccer Association, along with a new board that includes Jack Mickelberry as secretary-treasurer, replacing Eddie Craggs, who retires after more than 20 years at the post.

Record Crowd at Husky Classic
October 14, 1972

A record crowd of 5,000 attends the final day of the Husky Classic at Husky Stadium. San Jose State beats Chico State in championship final. Earlier Seattle Pacific upsets Cal, 3-0, and UCLA defeats Washington, 2-0.

Girls Hold Championships
January 16, 1972

Federal Way Soccer Association organizes the state's first junior girls' tournament, with 25 teams in all. Totem Hot Shots win fifth and sixth grade division, 1-0 over Federal Way Blue Barons and Federal Way Blue Devils beat Lynnwood Roadrunners, 2-0, for junior high division at Federal Way High.

Huskies Return to Postseason
November 25, 1972

Washington returns to the NCAA tournament for the first time in four years and, after remaining scoreless for the first half, is humbled by UCLA, 5-0. The Bruins go on to face St. Louis in the NCAA final.

Five-a-Side
April 23, 1972

In the last of 31 30-minute games, Olympia Brewery Vikings defeat Seattle Heidelbergs, 5-1, for the championship of the 29th annual Five-a-Side tournament at Memorial Stadium. Reidar Olsen scores three goals.

Craggs Celebrated
October 7, 1972

National Soccer Hall of Fame member Eddie Craggs, 75, is honored with a banquet. The State league championship trophy is named for Craggs, who states: "I had to coax them to leave the word 'memorial' out of the engraving. I figure to be around presenting it for years to come."

The kids all stay with families, but any parents who travel with the teams stay in hotels. For the parents, it can almost be a second honeymoon, getting rid of the kids for a night.
Tommy Grieve, youth publicist, regarding Canadian Exchange
As the sport grows in popularity because of the kid program, markets will also grow. Here in Seattle, we feel we already have a market. We consider Seattle a soccer city.
Phil Woosnam, NASL Commissioner
We started (four years ago) with 40 boys. Now we have 2,000 boys and girls in an area that equals the Lake Washington School District.
Burt Dutton, co-founder, Lake Washington Junior Soccer Association
On this Day in History