Stricken With a Fervor

1973 – Around the World and Close to Home

A ceasefire ends American involvement in Vietnam War, the Supreme Court affirms limited right to abortions in Roe v. Wade, the Senate’s Watergate hearings intensify and lead closer to President Nixon, and Spiro Agnew resigns as Vice President and is succeeded by Gerald Ford. In sports, UCLA wins an unprecedented seventh straight NCAA basketball title, the Miami Dolphins complete the NFL season undefeated at 17-0-0, and former Celtics star Bill Russell is named head coach of the Seattle Sonics.

Stricken With a Fervor

Seeking to enhance the image of Seattle to major league, a group of business leaders began searching for a pro football team and got themselves a futbol club.

David. E. “Ned” Skinner had helped shape the city’s new image during the 1962 World’s Fair. In fact, Skinner was co-owner of the iconic Space Needle. Together with Herman Sarkowsky, Skinner formed a group of investors for an NFL expansion team. Skinner’s grandfather had sponsored state league soccer teams during the early 20th Century, and when the NASL first started he quickly determined the timing was not right.

In April 1973, Skinner, Sarkowsky and their group of heavy hitters attended NFL meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz., where expansion was on the agenda. They wanted to introduce themselves and begin lobbying. Among the most influential NFL owners was Lamar Hunt, who owned both the Kansas City Chiefs and NASL Dallas Tornado.

“(Hunt) said they might want to bide their time by looking into soccer,” said Cliff McCrath, then Seattle Pacific coach and consultant to the group. “Walt (Daggatt, Skinner’s top executive) understood it as a mandate rather than a suggestion.” Daggatt returned to Seattle and quickly convened a meeting of McCrath and seven other soccer community leaders. Many members of the group had helped host touring European teams in the past, friendlies which attracted up to 9,000 fans with modest promotion. They were most supportive.

Soon after the Hunt-Daggatt exchange, NASL commissioner Phil Woosnam mentioned that the league was strongly considering expansion to the West Coast, with up to seven new teams overall. In June, Woosnam and Hunt paid a quick, quiet visit to Seattle and the prospective ownership group.

Hunt’s enthusiasm for soccer was contagious, and Daggatt was fast stricken with a fervor for the game. Later that summer, McCrath was dispatched to Dallas and Philadelphia, to meet with league and Hunt executives. He returned home with a favorable two-page report, followed by a seven-page pro forma projecting an average attendance of 6,000 and an average ticket price of $1.41, including city taxes.

McCrath, having witnessed up-close the rapid failure of Boston’s first team five years earlier, was skeptical. Daggatt, however, seemed to relish the challenge, and the other owners made him their managing partner.

Over the ensuing months, progress was being made behind the scenes, many weeks before the team was officially awarded. John Best, a top player and assistant coach for Hunt’s Tornado, was identified as the top candidate for head coach. Jack Daley, the top exec for Toronto, was tabbed to become general manager.

Beginning in the second week of December, the franchise, coach and GM of Seattle’s new professional sports enterprise were all announced. As it so happened, less than six months later, the NFL granted an expansion team to virtually the same ownership group.

U.S. Open Cup
Olympia Olys, 2nd round
AMATEUR
Northwest Champion
Rainier Brewers
State Men's Champion
Rainier Brewers
COLLEGIATE
Men's Collegiate Postseason
Washington D1, 1st rnd Seattle Pacific D2, 1st rnd
Men's Conference Champions
Washington (NCSC)
NCSC Men's Champion
Washington
WASHINGTON YOUTH SOCCER
President
Karl Grosch
Member Associations
6
Players
18,240 (b: 14,976 g: 3,264)
Largest Amateur Attendance
3,460, Husky Classic Final (UCLA v Westmont)

1973: Stricken With a Fervor

Seattle leaders go looking for a professional football team, and fast become owners of an NASL expansion franchise.

Violence Erupts, Game Abandoned
March 11, 1973

An important state league second division game is stopped with four minutes remaining in Tacoma after Seattle Greek-American players attack officials. Referee Al Corey, seeing fouls and physical play grow increasingly violent, halts the match with the Greeks trailing Tacoma Heidelbergs, 1-nil. Corey and linesman Doug Howard are then assaulted by Greek-American players and injured, with Howard sustaining a fractured jaw. Both he and Corey are knocked unconscious from a beating, and taken to the hospital. Five days later, three Greeks players are suspended for life and the rest of the team suspended for the remainder of the season, although a judiciary committee overturns the latter.

Huskies' Walyor Scores Six
November 17, 1973

Bruce Walyor of Washington scores a reported NCAA record six goals as the Huskies thrash Puget Sound, 9-1, at Baker Stadium. Walyor, a freshman from Bellevue, comes into the game with four goals. He adds another the following day at Green River as UW clinches a second straight NCSC championship.

Brewers Reclaim NW Title for Washington
June 24, 1973

Mike Kuczi and Les Mueller score a pair of goals as the Rainier Brewers reclaim the Northwest championship for Washington state. The Brewers defeat two-time defending champion Germania of Portland, 4-1, at Delta Park. Kuczi and Mueller had both been members of the Seattle Hungarians, six-time Northwest champion. Brian Franklin and Scott Shoemaker scored the other goals.

Eastside Prep League Organizes
April 14, 1978

The Eastside High School League begins as a bootstrap operation of club programs aspiring for varsity status in the fall. Mercer Island, Bellevue, Juanita, Newport, Lake Washington, Issaquah and Sammamish are entered. Play will conclude with a championship game in late May. WSJSA backs league through leadership and assistance. Six Tacoma schools also organize programs. Twenty schools in Seattle's Metro and Wesco leagues. In the absence of a WIAA tournament, the Metro and Wesco winners meet in a championship playoff.

NASL Boss Hints Expansion to Seattle
March 29, 1973

NASL commissioner Phil Woosnam says the nine-team league is ready to expand, and among the cities under consideration is Seattle. Woosnam says the league could grow by as many as seven teams. In addition to Seattle, he also mentions Los Angeles, Vancouver and San Francisco/San Jose. In June, Woosnam quietly visits Seattle and meets with potential owners.

Falcons Travel Beyond Northwest
September 21, 1973

Seattle Pacific becomes the state's first collegiate program to travel outside the Pacific Northwest for regular season play, competing at the Far West Classic in Riverside, Calif. The Falcons open the season with a 3-1 win over host UC Riverside. The only previous trips outside Cascadia had been postseason games for SPC and Washington in California. The Falcons fall to Calvin in FWC semifinal, 1-0, in overtime. SPC finishes third, defeating Cliff McCrath’s former Spring Arbor side, 3-0.

State Second Division Final is Forfeit
April 22, 1973

A highly-anticipated state second division match for the Jack Chidgey Trophy never materializes as the Tacoma Heidelbergs fail to appear at Memorial Stadium. Consequently, Seattle Greek-Americans are awarded the division title and the trophy via forfeit, and about 800 fans are left frustrated. Tacoma's Frank Fletcher informs WSSA president Tom Webb one hour before kickoff that the Heidelbergs refuse to play because several weeks earlier the entire Greek-Americans roster was suspended for their conduct in a March 11 meeting in Tacoma. The WSSA later rescinded all but three of the suspensions. Webb states that all protests in such cases must be filed at least 48 hours in advance of the game.

Van Gaver Ties Seattle U Record
October 6, 1973

Steve Van Gaver and Seattle University pull no punches in an 11-0 beating of Puget Sound in a steady rain at Lower Woodland Park. Van Gaver, a freshman, ties the Chieftains record by scoring four goals. Scott Shoemaker, Tim Allen and Mikko Niemela each add two goals.

Picinich Hat Trick Clinches for Heidelberg
April 8, 1973

A Tony Picinich hat trick is more than enough offense for the Seattle Heidelbergs to clinch the state league first-half title with a 5-1 win over Hillwood Metro VW at Interbay Playfield. Heidelberg's win and a Seattle Pacific Falcons draw cinches the outcome with one week to go. Heidelberg will meet first-half victor Olympia Olys for the overall title in two weeks.

Fans to Name Seattle's New Team
December 16, 1973

Walt Daggatt, managing general partner for Seattle's new NASL franchise, announces fans will have until Dec. 31 to send in their suggested names. Team officials will screen the list and select finalists which fans will vote on. All those voting for the winning name will receive two tickets to a home game.

B Team wins Five-a-Side
April 29, 1973

Going into the annual Five-a-Side final, the Olympia Olys couldn't lose. The Olys fielded two teams, and they both met in the tournament final at Memorial Stadium, with the Oly Bs prevailing on a tiebreaker, 0-0 (2-1). The Oly Bs, also featuring members of Mr. Pro, scored six unanswered goals to reach the final.

Huskies Add Scholarships
July 3, 1973

For the first time, the University of Washington athletics budget includes scholarship aid for soccer. The funds are made possible through the cooperation of AD Joe Kearney. Among coach Mike Ryan’s first scholarship recruits are Ron Johnson, a California junior college all-American center back and Ken Garrett, a top scorer in British Columbia junior ranks from Abbotsford.

First Girls' State Cups Decided
February 18, 1973

Bellevue High School is the site of the first four Washington State Junior Soccer Association girls' state cup finals. Susan Ray's four goals lead Tacoma's Sweetfoot past the Federal Way Honey Bees, 4-0, in U10. Cindy Breed's three goals and Beth Schorsch's two pace Midway Dirty Dozen's 5-0 win over Auburn Valley Theatre Flickers in U14. In other action, the U17 Finn Hill Newporters defeat the Snohomish Napa Wheels, 4-1, and the U12 Seattle Roadrunners beat the Nor-Tac Fast Steps, 2-0. Beth Schorsch of Tacoma Nick's Chicks earns the honor of Miss Junior Soccer. A total of 120 participating teams statewide make the WSJSA girls' tournament the largest in North America.

Olys Clinch First-Half Title
November 18, 1973

Mikko Niemela nets the winner as the Olympia Olys capture the state league first division first-half title by rallying past the Rainier Brewers, 2-1, at Interbay. An own goal gives the Brewers the lead but Tim Allen equalizes.

Olys Prevail in Epic State League Final
April 22, 1973

A three-hour, four-overtime match for the state league championship is finally decided by penalties, and the Rainier Brewers take the Eddie Craggs Trophy at the expense of the Seattle Heidelbergs, 2-2 (5-4) at Memorial Stadium. Goals come early and very late in regulation. Tage Christensen of Heidelberg begins in the 8th minute and is answered by Rainier's Les Mueller in the 12th. Zoltan Dolt appears to get the winner in the 84th but a Donny Wagner penalty a couple minutes later forces extra time. Scoreless after four periods, penalties ensue. Porter Tollefson wins it for Rainier when his shot hits the post and caroms off keeper Willi Lindner and into the net.

Falcons Ousted in NCAA First Round
November 16, 1973

For the third year in a row, Seattle Pacific's postseason ends abruptly. In a first-round game at Davis, Calif., the Falcons go down, 3-1, to Westmont. SPC is behind 2-nil early before briefly pulling a goal back through Kit Zell in the 79th minute.

Prep Players OK to Play Outside
December 21, 1973

An agreement reached by the Washington State Junior Soccer Association and several high school athletic leagues will enable high school players to participate in non-school tournaments. It applies to players in the Metro, Tacoma and Central Sound leagues, although in Metro it will be school by school with permission required from the principal. Two West Seattle players had been suspended in February for playing outside competition during the prep season, but they were later reinstated.

State League Begins Charging User Fee
January 28, 1973

The Washington State Football Association begins charging a user fee in addition to spectator admission for weekly state league matches at Memorial Stadium. Finding that fans alone couldn't pay the rent, the WSFA institutes "Pay as You Play," charging each adult player, coach and manager $1 each and juniors 75 cents. West Seattle, White Center and Interbay are all virtually unplayable during the wet winter months, leaving no alternative to the artificial turf at Memorial.

Youthful Olys Advance in Open Cup
February 11, 1973

Youth prevails over experience in the contest to see who represents Washington in the second round of the U.S. Open Cup. The youthful Olympia Olys topple Rainier Brewers, 4-1, before several hundred at Memorial Stadium. Harold Myrhold, Greg McKeown, Bobby Hough and Doc Grundy tally for the winners, and Scott Shoemaker replies for the Brewers.

Three Invited to Olympic Camp
August 18, 1973

Greg McKeown of Auburn, and Tacoma's Greg Dillard and Elgin Olragg are invited to Olympic development camp. Meanwhile, Seattle's Walter Schmetzer and Auburn’s Bill Logie become the first in the state to receive USSF A coaching licenses.

Covell Smashes SPC Scoring Mark
November 28, 1973

Eight days after Seattle Pacific is eliminated from the NCAA Division II tournament, the Falcons resume the regular season, and sophomore Ken Covell keeps scoring. Covell scores his 21st goal of the year in a 4-0 win over Puget Sound. He's the first collegian in the state to score 20 or more goals, and registers four hat tricks in the process. Covell had set the school scoring record of 18 as a freshman.

Bellevue Wins Junior College Title
December 19, 1973

Three late second-half goals, including two by Tom Turner, lift Bellevue Community College over South Seattle, 3-1, for the NCSC Community College Division title at Husky Stadium. Tom McDonald puts South ahead early. Bob Cullen also scores for BCC in this precursor to an NWAACC championship.

Seattle 'Bergs Fall in Amateur Cup
March 18, 1973

San Jose's Grenadiers end the U.S. Amateur Cup bid by the Seattle Heidelbergs in the regional semifinals, 2-1, in San Jose. Manny Hernandez of the U.S. Olympic team stakes the Grenadiers to an early lead that doubles through Tony Suffle. Tage Christiansen brings the Heidelbergs within a goal with 10 minutes left.

Seattle Names John Best First Coach
December 21, 1973

John Best, a five-time all-NASL defender and assistant coach at Dallas, is chosen to become the Seattle expansion team's first head coach. Best, 33, is a native of Liverpool, England. His hiring comes just nine days after the franchise was awarded. Best helped Dallas win the 1971 league title, and the Tornado was runner-up in 1973.

Big Crowd for Husky Classic Final
October 27, 1973

The largest soccer crowd of the year comes to Husky Stadium for the final night of the Husky Classic, and UCLA tops defending NAIA champion Westmont, 1-0. Before 3,460, the Bruins' Sergio Velasquez beats two defenders to drill home the lone goal. In the third-place match, San Jose State beats Washington, 3-2. The Huskies' Chris Whitworth and Ward Forrest join Seattle Pacific's Ken Covell on the all-tournament team.

NASL Awards Seattle Expansion Franchise
December 11, 1973

After months of whispers that pro soccer is looking westward, the North American Soccer League awards expansion franchises to Seattle and three other West Coast markets. The ownership group is all local business leaders who have been seeking to secure an NFL team, and they are swayed to consider the NASL by Lamar Hunt, a key owner in both leagues. The franchise cost is a reported $25,000, and the incubation period is brief. In just five months a 20-game schedule will commence and play begins at 13,000-seat Memorial Stadium. Los Angeles, San Jose and Vancouver will join Seattle in the new Western Division.

Shorecrest Bests Blanchet in Penalties
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.

Olys Sent Out of Open Cup
February 25, 1973

The Olympia Olys take the lead over San Jose Portuguese in the U.S. Open Cup second-round clash, but they are unable to hold it. The Portuguese win, 4-2, at the Police Athletic League Stadium in San Jose. The Olys go in front, 2-1, on scores by Greg McKeown and Ward Forrest before the hosts, beginning in the 79th minute, score three times in three minutes, the last two by John Franco. San Jose is later eliminated by eventual champion L.A. Maccabee in the quarterfinals.

UCLA Eliminates Washington from NCAAs
November 23, 1973

Firooz Fowzi's hat trick supplies all the offense in UCLA's 3-0 victory over Washington in the first round of the NCAA tournament at Los Angeles. The Huskies, who had won five in a row, are blanked for only the second time. The Bruins proceed to reach the NCAA championship game where they fall to St. Louis in overtime. Neither Washington nor Seattle Pacific have won a first-round NCAA tournament game, going a combined 0-6-0.

Bruins Advance Over UW on Penalties
October 26, 1973

Sixth-ranked UCLA holds off a late Washington rally to advance in their Husky Classic semifinal, 3-3 (5-4), before 3,000 at Husky Stadium. Bruce Walyor sends the match to a 20-minute overtime by scoring the equalizer with 30 seconds to go. Sergio Velasquez, who scores twice for UCLA, converts the decisive penalty. The Bruins had beaten SPC, 3-0, in the first round.

Campeau Steers Santa Clara Toward Berth
October 20, 1973

Seattle native Ballan Campeau's record ninth shutout, a 7-0 victory over St. Mary's, helps Santa Clara remain in contention for its first NCAA tournament berth. It's the Broncos' third straight win and part of an eventual seven-game unbeaten run that clinches a postseason berth. Campeau attended Seattle Prep but his only soccer was played for the junior associations under Mike Ryan. The senior keeper finishes his season with a second straight all-Pacific Conference honor.

Canadian Exchange Makes for Busy Border
October 27, 1973

The Peace Arch border begins three weekends of bustling boys crossing between Washington and British Columbia for the annual Canadian Exchange. The first 310 of 574 teams from throughout the state head north to destinations such as Powell River, Nanaimo, Victoria and Vancouver. Another 574 boys' teams from B.C. will come south before the exchange concludes Nov. 11. A total 18,368 players spend a night with a host family before playing and returning home.

NASL Seattle Names Management Team
December 11, 1973

The press conference introducing Seattle's new NASL team is full of announcements, including the management executives and ownership. Walter Daggatt, head of soft drink bottler Alpac Corporation, will serve as managing director. Other owners are David Skinner (Space Needle owner), Lamont Bean (Pay 'N' Save drug stores), Lynn Himmelman (Westin Hotels), Lloyd Nordstrom (Nordstrom Best), Herman Sarkowsky (Portland Trailblazers), Walter Schoenfeld (clothing magnate), Lester Smith (Kaye-Smith media) and Howard Wright (construction). Six of the nine are part of a group seeking and NFL team. Jack Daley, formerly of Toronto, is general manager. Former Sonics executives Dick Vertlieb and Hal Childs are also involved.

Seattle is tremendously ripe for professional soccer. I think this town is absolutely ready. There is a lot of soccer feeling and the crowds at Husky Stadium have been good. Your junior program is certainly thriving, your high schools are thickly in it and more and more of your colleges are taking up the sport.
Al Miller, Philadelphia Atoms coach, assessing Seattle as a pro soccer market
It’s true that soccer at the professional level isn’t where one would like to see it yet, but in actual fact, it’s here and it just kind of sneaked around the corner on everybody.
John Best, Seattle's newly named head coach, on the NASL trajectory
We don't foresee a profit for eight or 10 years, hope to break even in three.
NASL Sounders managing director Walt Daggatt on the business-side expectations
We feel very strongly that the soccer fans of the area should be heard with regard to naming the team. This, after all, will be their team.
Seattle NASL owner Walt Daggatt announcing a name-the-team contest
There are three sports that pay their own way for equipment, officials, etc.: Football, basketball and wrestling. We hope to make soccer No. 4.
Jon Parkinson, chair of Kingco soccer coordinators, advocating for a formalized league
Most of our games involve a ball. A golf ball is hard and small, appropriate since it was invented by Scotsmen. A baseball is hard and full of curves. A basketball is too big to handle. This (soccer) ball is softer. You can hit it with your head. It's multiracial. This is the ball of the future.
Walt Daggatt, NASL Seattle managing director, on the growing allure of soccer
This is the year we’ll put Washington in the national college soccer limelight. We’ll be able to look St. Louis U., UCLA and those others right in the eye...We have depth for the first time, two or more good men at every position. In previous years we were in trouble if any of our starting 11 got hurt.
UW coach Mike Ryan on the effect having scholarship for the first time
True, our area abounds with thousands of kid booters. But do they constitute a market? Is the American public familiar enough with the sport, hitherto considered as ethnic pastime here? Right now, a Seattle soccer team could make it on an average attendance of about 6,000, which as been forthcoming in other cities.
Seattle Times columnist Hy Zimmerman on the prospects for pro soccer succeeding in Seattle
There is some anti-U.S. feeling in Europe, as you know. Well, kids are out best ambassadors. The English complimented us on the good behavior of our boys, of the friendships made between young Americans and Britons.
Fred Pingrey, Redmond Dragsters coach, after returning from the boys' tour of England, France, Austria and West Germany
Soccer made the headlines when acquisition of a major league franchise was announced. People who couldn’t tell a soccer ball from an eggplant sat up and took notice when they read the list of solid financial figures who are backing the Seattle team.
Seattle Times columnist Vince O'Keefe noting the impressive Seattle NASL ownership group
A 1974 soccer start would have timeliness going for it…The sooner, the better. Sooner would give Seattle a better chance to consolidate a piece of the sports market (before NFL, MLB and NHL arrive).
Seattle Times columnist Vince O'Keefe on the NASL arrival time
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