Stars Go Bold

In a bold series of moves, the resident club in the City of Destiny determined it was time to go for it. Midway through their third season, the Tacoma Stars seized the moment and made some historic moves to rise above the rabble.

In a span of 10 days, the Stars jettisoned their coach, traded the top scorer and broke open the bank to acquire the biggest star in MISL history. Up to that point, Tacoma had trudged along, 27 games under .500. Bob McNab had been named head coach, then demoted, then promoted – all with little effect. Finally, follow a 2-12 stretch, president John Best began flipping switches.

Alan Hinton, with a history of guiding teams to the playoffs, including the Sounders from 1980-82, was a known quantity to several members of the team and the existing and potential fan base. During the first two seasons, the Stars had averaged just over 6,000. That number would rapidly rise with the arrival of Steve Zungul.

The Serbian striker was a five-time scoring champion, three-time MVP and, moreover, a five-time MISL champion. Together with Preki, Tacoma’s emerging starlet, Zungul, 31, was envisioned as the key to the Stars’ quest of winning titles. The Lord of All Indoors did not come cheaply.

Zungul, whose 516 career goals and 840 points far outnumber those of any MISL rival, cost $200,000. He reportedly receives a $150,000 signing bonus on top of $200,000 annual contract. The Stars are 12-17 prior to the deal, after which top scorer Dale Mitchell is traded. Zungul would proceed to win yet another scoring championship and MVP award.

During the final two months of the regular season, Tacoma plays over .500 (11-8) to earn a playoff berth. An upset of Wichita leads to a semifinal series with defending champion San Diego. Despite being eliminated by the Sockers, it’s clear the Stars have become a regional attraction, averaging 16,505 in their four home postseason dates, including 19,476 in their final outing. It was a trend that would carry-over into 1986-87, in which they started 12-2 and averaged near 10,000.

There was also a key change to for FC Seattle Storm. Jimmy Gabriel, the onetime Sounders captain and head coach who had been integral to forming the club and played for its state league forerunner, departed at the end of the season. His next stop: England and joining Harry Redknapp at Bournemouth.

One local side with a championship tradition, Seattle Pacific, would burnish that reputation. The Falcons, despite a relatively slow start, got stronger down the stretch and become the first NCAA Division II program to repeat as champion. SPU pulled over 4,100 to Memorial Stadium for the 4-1 victory over Oakland (Mi.). That was the second-largest collegiate attendance. The third and final edition of The Big Kick (NCAA Division I championship) draws 4,652 to the Tacoma Dome after two years at the Kingdome.

One consequence of youth soccer’s expansive growth is the need for more field space. East of Seattle, Lake Washington Youth Soccer Association has been leasing Sixty Acres West for two years, then sees King County Parks sell that to King County Agriculture. In Shoreline, neighbors oppose building and lighting two fields in a wooded corner of Hamlin Park.

Season Record
6-6-2, 2nd place Western Soccer Alliance
Coach
Jimmy Gabriel (1st year)
All-League
Dennis Gunnell (1st team) John Hamel (2nd team)
Top Scorer
Dennis Gunnell (7 goals)
Season Record
23-25, 3rd MISL West Semifinals
Coach
Bob McNab (2nd year) Alan Hinton (1st year)
All-League
Steve Zungul (MVP)
Top Scorer
Preki (41 goals)
Men's Collegiate Champions
Seattle Pacific, NCAA Division II
Men's Collegiate Postseason
Seattle Pacific, D2 champion
Men's Conference Champions
Pacific Lutheran, NCIC
Women's Conference Champions
Pacific Lutheran, NCIC
NWAC Men's Champion
Skagit Valley d Edmonds, 1-0
Girls Regional Champion
Highline Pepsi Stompers (U19)
WIAA Boys Champion
4A-Thomas Jefferson, 3A-Liberty, 1A-Seattle Christian
WIAA Girls Champion
4A-Federal Way, 3A-Tahoma
President
Gerald Larson
Member Associations
33
Players
69,256 (b: 50,568 g: 18,688)
Largest Attendance
19,476, Tacoma Dome, Stars v San Diego, playoff
Largest Amateur Attendance
4,652, Tacoma Dome, Big Kick/NCAA Division I Championship

1986

1986: Stars Go Bold

After two middling seasons, the Tacoma Stars ownership goes all-in, changing coaches and acquiring the Lord of All Indoors.

SPU Topples No. 1 Team on Road
November 22, 1986

SPU topples No. 1-ranked Cal State Northridge, 2-1, on the road, snapping the Matadors’ 14-game unbeaten streak. Jeff Storrs makes eight saves and Mark Faller gets the 81st minute quarterfinal winner.

Stars Streak Out of the Gate
December 12, 1986

Tacoma wins a record eighth game in a row, 7-6 over Wichita, behind two goals apiece from Steve Zungul and Godfrey Ingram. Stars avenge their opening-night defeat, the only blemish in their first nine games.

Western Shocks Huskies
October 18, 1986

John Polzin’s goal with 15 minutes left lifts Western Washington a shocking 1-0 home win over Washington. John Reilly posts the shutout. “This is probably the biggest win in the history of our varsity program.” Bruce Campbell. The Vikings had not beaten the Huskies since their formative club days, in 1974.

Zungul Stars are Relentless
December 27, 1986

Steve Zungul scores the overtime winner, 6-5 over San Diego, before 18,441. The Stars will start 1987 with a 12-2 record.

TJ Streak Continues, Goes Overtime
June 1, 1986

Jefferson’s Jimmy Weber connects on a header 8:48 into overtime for the Raiders’ fourth straight Class AAA state championship at Memorial Stadium. The 3-2 win over Mead is Jefferson’s 78th game without a loss. TJ lost 30-goal scorer Ray Hoff to an injury in the 11th minute.

Goulet Gets Collegiate Record
November 12, 1986

Tacoma native Brent Goulet scores the 107th goal of his career, believed to be a collegiate record, in Warner Pacific College’s 3-0 win over Pacific (Ore.). Goulet surpasses the 106 of Erskine’s Sam McGinty, set in 1970.

Stars Upset Wings, Advance
April 18, 1986

Tacoma clinches its first round series in four games (3-1), by beating the Wichita Wings for the third straight game, 3-2 before 17,094.

Gabriel Returns to UK
August 16, 1986

Jimmy Gabriel announces he’s resigning as FC Seattle coach and returning to Britain following Storm’s season-ending, 1-0 win over Edmonton Renton Stadium. Seattle (6-6-2) finishes second to Hollywood in the Western Soccer Alliance. Shortly after returning to England, Gabriel joins AFC Bournemouth as assistant manager to former Sounder Harry Redknapp.

Goulet Starts for USMNT
February 5, 1986

Tacoma’s Brent Goulet, a junior at Warner Pacific, starts in his U.S. National Team debut vs. Canada (0:0) in Miami.

Rockets' Red Glare Burns Turf
July 5, 1986

A fireworks rocket shot into Memorial Stadium sparks an early morning (1:40 am) fire that causes $100,000 damage to the playing turf. Consequently, FC Seattle is forced to move its remaining four home games to Renton Stadium.

Grandma Guides Tahoma to Title
November 22, 1986

Betty Ellis, a grandmother and first female to officiate a U.S. professional game in 1980, coaches Tahoma girls to state AA title, 2-0 over Edmonds after upsetting undefeated Mountlake Terrace, 5-1, in the semifinal. Stephanie Johnson scores both Tahoma goals in the final. Federal Way wins girls AAA title over Issaquah, on penalties (0-0 4-3).

Big Kick Goes to Duke
December 13, 1986

Big Kick III, the NCAA Division I championship game in the Tacoma Dome, is won by Duke, 1-0 over Akron. It’s the first NCAA championship for the Blue Devils in any sport. Duke features Everett’s Jason Weighter and Hermann Trophy winner John Kerr. Only 4,652 (8,000 had been projected) attend, and coaches of both teams criticize the artificial turf.

Record Crowd in T-Dome
May 7, 1986

A record crowd of 19,746 in the Tacoma Dome sees the Stars eliminated in the MISL semifinals in four games (3-1) by eventual champion San Diego, 8-5.

Watching the World Cup
May 31, 1986

Mexico's World Cup begins, and Puget Sound area residents are able to watch 42 of 52 games via Group W Cable’s Channel 29, a public access channel. All audio is in Spanish.

Tacoma Swoops for Zungul
February 5, 1986

Steve Zungul, MISL career leader and five-time scoring leader, is acquired by Tacoma from San Diego. He debuts Feb. 7 and scores his first goal against the Sockers, his former team, Feb. 9.

Cozars Denied for Third Time
July 14, 1986

After reaching the women’s national final for the third year in row, Tacoma’s Cozars fall to Virginia’s Wild Fires, 3-1, in overtime in St. Louis. Lisa Boyer put Cozars ahead in the 28th minute. Five members of the Cozars are chosen for the U.S. National Team’s trip to the Mundialito in Jesolo, Italy: Gretchen Gegg, Lori Henry, Joan Dunlop, Cindy Gordon and Michelle Akers.

Zungul Involved in 8 Goals
March 25, 1986

Steve Zungul scores five goals and has three assists for Tacoma in playoff-clinching, 9-2 victory at Los Angeles.

FC Seattle Nearly Holds Man City
May 27, 1986

FC Seattle hosts former Sounder Nicky Reid and first division Manchester City before 1,561 at Memorial Stadium. City gets a 1-0 win by scoring with 31 seconds remaining. Man City manager Jimmy Grizzell notes Seattle’s sometimes overly physical play. A total of 46 fouls are whistled. The game counts in the Western Soccer Alliance standings, as does the following Storm game vs. Dundee.

Sixty Acres Host Regionals
June 20, 1986

U.S. Youth Soccer West regionals begin at Redmond’s Sixty Acres with Gov. Booth Gardner serving as honorary tournament director. Over 1,100 hotel rooms are booked on the Eastside. Over 200 volunteers are enlisted to work event operations. Some $100,000 in costs are covered through vendor exhibit fees and concessions.

Stars Begin Making Changes
January 27, 1986

After a stretch in which the Tacoma Stars (11-16) lose 12 of 14 games, they fire coach Bob McNab for a second time, and hire former Sounders coach Alan Hinton. Although Hinton and Stars president John Best have had troubles working together previously, those teams also won. In Vancouver, the Whitecaps had a 24-6 record and their attendance more than doubled from the previous year to 26,000. When Best joined the Sounders as general manager in 1982, the club was 4-9 and Hinton wound up guiding them to the Soccer Bowl.

Storm Hosts WC-Bound Canadians
April 24, 1986

FC Seattle Storm hosts Canada’s World Cup-bound national team at Shoreline Stadium five weeks before Mexico ’86. A gathering of 660 fans see Canada prevail, 3-2, on Randy Samuel’s 67th minute winner. Dale Mitchell and Randy Ragan made it 2-0 before Seattle’s Peter Hattrup and Kevin Iverson countered. Jimmy Gabriel played all 18 of his available players.

Key Date
February 9, 1986

Highline’s Pepsi Stompers claim an eighth state cup title in 10 years, winning a second consecutive girls U19 championship while Federal Way’s Cheetahs earn a fourth championship in six seasons, this time the girls U15. The Cheetahs have already begun fundraising $50,000 toward becoming the first U.S. youth team to visit China, June 27-July 14. They will play three games and also participate in clinics and cultural exchanges.

Cozars Chosen for USWNT
July 7, 1986

Seattle’s Joan Dunlap Seivold scores in her U.S. National Team debut vs. Canada (2:0) at Blaine, Minn. Dunlop Seivold was named to the team by Anson Dorrance, her collegiate coach at North Carolina, where she had been a 1984 second team All-American. It was Dorrance’s first game as USWNT coach and the first meeting with Canada. Three other Washingtonians play: Sharon McMurtry, Lori Henry and Cindy Gordon.

Coaches Give McCrath Highest Honor
January 23, 1986

Cliff McCrath, Seattle Pacific coach, is presented the NSCAA Honor Award in St. Louis. McCrath is coming off a third NCAA championship at SPU, and he has also served as NCAA Rules Committee Secretary-Editor.

Stars' World Cup Connection
June 1, 1986

Two members of the Tacoma Stars, Bob Lenarduzzi and David Norman, start for Canada in its World Cup opener, a 1-0 loss to France in Leon, Mexico.

Night of Champions Goes to UCLA
September 24, 1986

Defending Division I champion UCLA, unbeaten in 24 games, visits defending Div. II champ Seattle Pacific for an exhibition. The Bruins win, 2-1, before 3,100 at Memorial Stadium after the Falcons’ Scott Cairns is sent off. Shaun DelGrande deflects in Paul Caligiuri’s blast in the 44th minute.

Seattle Pacific Becomes First to Repeat
December 6, 1986

Goals by Chris McDonald and Mark Faller in first three minutes help SPU roll to 4-1 victory over Oakland before 4,100 at Memorial Stadium, making Falcons the first Div. II champion to repeat. Scott Cairns and Glenn Lurie play in their fourth straight NCAA championship game.

Amputees Rally in Portland
July 12, 1986

Kevin Wilson scores four times and Linda Pederson has three assists as the Athlete’s Foot amputee team from Seattle wins at Portland, 5-3.

At least they will all be Americans when they get going. That was a big complaint when I was here last time, about the foreigners and the fact the team was changing year to year. Fans couldn't relate to new teams every year.
Former Sounders sweeper Nicky Reid, after his touring Manchester City team defeat FC Seattle
Federal Way has great youth programs, and the parents and coaches really get into it. I had 10 players last year who played for Goalpost and they won the U16 national title a couple years ago.
Jim Judson, Thomas Jefferson coach, crediting community support for the Raiders’ 78-match (74-0-4) unbeaten streak
Peter Hattrup is the best player to come out of college in the last 10 years, in my opinion. He not only has the ability, but he has that confidence. Some would call it arrogance, but I like that in a player. Most rookies come in here quietly and go off somewhere by themselves. Not Peter Hattrup. He's walked right in there, in the middle with the (Steve) Zunguls, everybody.
Stars coach Alan Hinton after selecting the Seattle Pacific star No. 4 overall in the MISL draft
It's a new challenge for me, to help get this team into the playoffs. This team wants to be a champion. In the future it can become a champion, in the long run. I'm like a missionary. I live for the game. I want to leave something to those future soccer players.
Steve Zungul, after joining the Tacoma Stars in midseason
At times, it looked like a ping pong match, the ball went so fast.
Duke coach John Rennie after Blue Devils win Big Kick on Tacoma Dome's artificial turf
1986 NCAA Final Highlight

VIDEO: 1986 NCAA Final Highlight

On this Day in History