Overcoming a near-disastrous start, the Sounders catch fire down the stretch and reach Soccer Bowl for the first time. There, despite being huge underdogs to the Cosmos of Pele´, Franz Beckenbauer, Carlos Alberto and Giorgio Chinaglia, Seattle battles and nearly nips the tying goal in the final minutes before falling, 2-1.
Also reaching a national final and finishing runner-up is Seattle Pacific. The Falcons take second for the third time in four years, this time to Alabama A&M, 2-1.
Most of the SPU players hail from in-state, and the Sounders’ Jimmy McAlister becomes an overnight sensation. McAlister, 20, wins a starting job at left back, then is named NASL Rookie of the Year and, soon after, becomes the first Washington native to earn a U.S. National Team cap.
The youth soccer explosion continues unabated, jumping 41 percent, to 46,874. However, there is growing friction between the clubs and high school programs, whose players face conflicts in play and training.
Women’s soccer begins to get sponsorship at the collegiate level. Five years since the Title XI ruling, Whitman College is the first to be granted varsity status. Meanwhile, club programs are initiated at Seattle Pacific, Washington, Washington State and Western Washington.