Resurrection

For all those who worried that their beloved game was on the wane, 1994 marked the second coming of soccer in America, and Washington leaders were soon positioning their state to be at the forefront.

Sparked by a tremendous turnout for USA-Russia international friendly and underpinned by one of the largest playing youth populations in the nation, there was a movement to bring back a top-level professional a professional team to Seattle. Meanwhile, two pro teams were already in the works. That's a bright contrast to the preceding four–and some might say 10–years.

Since the demise of the original Sounders in 1983, FC Seattle Storm and the Tacoma Stars sought to fill the void for fans. Still the amateur ranks thrived in the Eighties and early Nineties. Washington Youth Soccer participation figures grew 20 percent from 1983-94, and more adults than ever were active in the game. However, no spike in popularity compares to the 12-month gain from 1994 to '95. Nearly 10,000 more kids and in excess of 200 teams were added to the rolls, and obviously the sport's dramatically heightened visibility was a huge factor.

When 43,651 souls found their way to the Kingdome to see the World Cup-bound teams of the U.S. and Russia face-off on Jan. 29, it was a celebration of community as much as anything. National broadcasters and U.S. players remarked that not only was it a large, loud crowd, it was the most pro-American throng in recent memory. For the record, it was Washington's largest soccer gathering in 14 years. Furthermore, it was an opportunity to see a native son return home. Chris Henderson of Everett was a USMNT starter that night, which ended with a 1-1 draw.

The carryover was reinforcement of the state soccer community's size and passion, and that got the attention of U.S. Soccer and Major League Soccer leaders. They were soliciting bids from communities wishing to secure franchises for the first MLS season, in 1996. Immediately after the match, a 'Soccer Summit' of state leaders was convened for the purpose of organizing an MLS bid. Despite a late start, Seattle submitted a competitive bid, the lack of a suitable stadium a notable soft spot. Husky Stadium and Memorial Stadium were both far from ideal options. As it turned out, when ceiling tiles began to fall from the Kingdome ceiling later in 1994, it may have proven a boon to eventually landing an MLS club.

Fans wouldn't have to wait for MLS to see the return of pro soccer. The Seattle SeaDogs spent the year preparing for their 1995 start indoors. As for the full-field, traditional game, former Microsoft executive Scott Oki and former Seattle coach Alan Hinton brought back the Sounders brand, launching their first A-League season in July and featuring a Who's Who of Washington players in their lineup. Better still, the born-again Sounders boasted both the league's best record (14-6) and best attendance (6,347), including a sold-out Memorial for their final regular season home game.

Year in Review
SEATTLE SOUNDERS
14-6, 1st APSL regular season
Coach
Alan Hinton (1st year)
Best XI
Marcus Hahnemann, Shawn Medved, Neil Megson, Chance Fry
Top Scorer
Chance Fry (11 goals)
Men's Collegiate Postseason
Seattle Pacific, D2 Semi
Women's Collegiate Postseason
Washington, D1, 2nd rnd Washington State, D1, 2nd rnd
NWAC Men's Champion
Bellevue d Portland 3-0
NWAC Women's Champion
Columbia Basin d Spokane 1-0 OT
WIAA Boys Champion
4A-Jefferson, 3A-Mount Vernon, 1A-Holy Cross
WIAA Girls Champion
4A-Bellarmine, 3A-Kennedy, 1A-Seattle Christian
President
Pam Copple
Member Associations
35
Players
92,704 (B: 67,674 G: 25,030)
Largest Attendance
43,651, USA v Russia, Kingdome

1994: Resurrection

With the arrival of a World Cup in America for the first time, great excitement spreads across the continent and ushers in a new era. The Sounders name is reborn and the drive for an MLS franchise takes its first steps.

Not For Men Only
May 10, 1994

Among the assistants named by Sounders head coach Alan Hinton is Gina Casella, former prep All-American and U.S. National Team member. Casella has coached both varsity girls and boys at Bothell High School. Other assistants are Tony Chursky, Tommy Jenkins, Frank Barton and Bernie James.

MLS Passes
November 16, 1994

Lacking a suitable facility, Seattle is bypassed by Major League Soccer in determining its final cities for its inaugural season of play, in 1996.

Henderson Cut
June 1, 1994

Chris Henderson, 23, of Everett is one of three final cuts to the U.S. roster for the World Cup. "No matter what happens, I've got a career," Henderson, the youngest member of the 1990 team. "I'm going to be playing for a long time."

U-Dub Puts Facility on Hold
March 23, 1994

Confronted with a price tag double of previous estimates, Washington AD Barbara Hedges suspends plans to build a 3,000-seat soccer stadium. Originally slated to open for the 1994 men's and women's seasons, construction estimates climbed to $3 million. The budget was $1.2M.

Dang, UW Coach Leaves
January 18, 1994

Dang Pibulvech resigns as Washington women's coach to take the same position at Texas. Pibulvech (27-21-6) leaves the Huskies three years after becoming the school's first women's soccer coach. He built the program into a national power, achieving top 20 rankings each season.

Carolina Comes to Town
October 30, 1994

Before a record crowd of 3,155 at Husky Soccer Field, 8-time defending NCAA champion North Carolina ends Washington's 15-game home win streak, 2-0. "We had our chances," UW coach Lesle Gallimore said. "We weren't nervous or intimidated. We didn't panic. The best thing about this match is that is shows us we can play with the best of them."

Debut in the Woodshed
July 23, 1994

After playing their first four away, the Sounders make their home debut in the Tacoma Dome. David Hoggan and Gary Heale, who once starred for the Tacoma Stars, score in a 2-0 victory over the Colorado Foxes.

Sales Pitch Begins
March 30, 1994

Kicking off the MLS bid campaign in earnest, local organizers mail some 70,000 ticket sales brochures to Seattle soccer fans in hopes of gaining their support. If they can reach the goal of 10,000 ticket deposits by May 15, they will be eligible to gain one of 12 charter franchises in the new league.

SPU Gifted $2M for Facility
March 23, 1994

Seattle Pacific University receives a $2 million gift for construction of a soccer/track facility from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. The gift equals the largest ever given by the trust and the largest single cash gift ever received by SPU. Since starting in 1968, SPU men's soccer has never had a home field.

Ireland's Seattleite Honored
June 18, 1994

Seattle's Bernadette Noonan, a native of Ireland, is honored as one of 24 foreign-born U.S. residents who made outstanding contributions to the growth of soccer prior to the Italy-Ireland World Cup match at East Rutherford, N.J. Earlier in the week she met soccer legend Pele at a reception Noonan, the only woman honored as a "soccer ambassador," received the most applause.

Title Repeat Denied
December 1, 1994

Defending champion Seattle Pacific surrenders a 2-goal second-half lead and the title to Oakland (Mich.) in overtime, 6-4, at the NCAA Division II semifinal in Tampa. The 5th-ranked Falcons had taken a 4-2 lead in the 59th minute on Phil Bullard's third goal.

Cougs Make Change
June 14, 1994

Lisa Gozley is been hired as women's coach at Washington State, replacing Lisa Fraser, who resigned to take over at Arizona.

Bid Sealed and Delivered
June 14, 1994

Seattle submits its bid for an MLS club backed by 1,300 season ticket deposits. However, the area lacks a suitable long-term stadium option.

Pursuit Begins
February 3, 1994

The Sports and Events Council of Seattle/King County organizes a "soccer summit" and notifies Major League Soccer it will begin the process of bidding for a charter franchise. Meanwhile, the Sounders report orders for 1,500 season tickets, despite not having a home or schedule.

Shorecrest Girls' Streak Snapped
November 12, 1994

Unbeaten for 57 games over three seasons–the best run in the nation–Shorecrest's streak of girls state championships comes to an end. Kennedy upsets the Scots, 2-1, in a 2A state quarterfinal playoff at Highline Stadium. Shorecrest had allowed only two goals the entire season.

Hinton Hires Hinton
April 6, 1994

Sounders club president Alan Hinton, as expected, names himself head coach. Hinton, 51, previously coached both the NASL Sounders and Tacoma Stars.

Huskies Tap Gallimore
February 28, 1994

Washington names Lesle Gallimore, women's soccer coach at San Diego State University for four seasons, as Huskies' new coach. Gallimore, 30, replaces the Dang Pibulvech, who had started the program and guided it to a No. 19 national ranking after three years.

Fans Flock to TV Screens
June 17, 1994

Throughout the state, fans of all ages begin flocking to TV screens as World Cup USA begins. Anticipating increased interest, ethnic restaurants, taverns and clubs extend hours and upgrade their big screens. The July 17 final rates a 9.5 rating in Seattle.

Sounders Born Again
March 8, 1994

Seattle becomes the eighth team in the American Professional Soccer League, otherwise know as the A-League, and takes the name of the former NASL club, the Sounders.

Cougs Reach Postseason
November 9, 1994

Washington and Washington State each post road upsets in their NCAA women's tournament debuts. The 18th-ranked Huskies blank No. 15 Oregon State, 3-0, and the No. 19 Cougars oust No. 11 Wisconsin, 3-1.

A Leader of the Pack
November 15, 1994

Fernando Clavijo becomes head coach of Seattle's expansion entry in the Continental Indoor Soccer League (CISL). Clavijo brings championship playing experience from the indoor game and earlier in the summer represented the U.S. in the World Cup.

Sounders End in Shootout
October 2, 1994

Despite beating Colorado 4-1 in the second game of the semifinal, the Sounders' playoff run ends in a series-determining shootout, 2-1. Dick McCormick and Jason Dunn each scored twice in regulation.

Akers, U.S. Punch WC Ticket
August 19, 1994

Seattle's Michelle Akers scored two and assisted on two other goals as the defending champion U.S. WNT secured passage to Sweden '95 by drubbing Jamaica, 10-0, in a CONCACAF semifinal in Montreal. Akers was later named tournament MVP following 6-0 victory over Canada in the final.

Native Sons Earn First Caps
November 19, 1994

Jason Dunn and Marcus Hahnemann, former teammates at Seattle Pacific and fellow rookies for the Sounders, earn call-ins for the national team. Bellevue's Hahnemann starts and Olympia's Dunn comes off the bench in a 1-0 friendly at Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago.

Keller Shut-Out
May 4, 1994

Olympia's Kasey Keller, voted MVP of Millwall in the English League First Division, is denied a tryout for the USMNT. The U.S. will host the World Cup. Keller had served as a back-up goalkeeper in 1990.

Longtime Conference Disbands
January 15, 1994

The Northwest Collegiate Soccer Conference disbands after 23 seasons. The NCSC featured divisional alignments for Division I, II, III and NAIA men's, women's and club programs, including a promotion/relegation format.

Dunn, Hinton Earn Awards
October 4, 1994

Jason Dunn is named A-League Rookie of the Year after scoring 10 goals in his first season out of Seattle Pacific, and Alan Hinton is voted Coach of the Year for guiding the Sounders to the regular season title.

Kingdome Revival
January 29, 1994

Before the game's largest Washington audience in nearly 14 years–43,651–the United States battles Russia to a friendly 1-1 draw, kickstarting a late bid for a Major League Soccer franchise. Everett's Chris Henderson starts for the USMNT.

First Place, First Season
September 24, 1994

A sellout crowd of 11,874 in Memorial Stadium cheers Seattle to a 3-0 victory over Vancouver, clinching the A-League regular season title in the Sounders' first season. Nineteen of the 25 roster players came through Washington Youth Soccer Association.

They are sold on football (at UW), but there are days when football isn't playing. That's something that has to be a priority - selling them on all sports.
Dang Pibulvech, departing UW women's coach
Kids need to see soccer on a high level. That's what kept me going and focused on making a pro team. Kids need something to shoot for.
Chris Henderson, Everett native and USMNT player
What we're saying is, get 10,000 season tickets committed. Then we'll come in and make it work.
Hank Steinbrecher, U.S. Soccer executive director, regarding Seattle's bid for an MLS franchise
I wish we could play in front of this crowd every week. They're loud, they've got passion. Fans elsewhere could take a lesson from Seattle.
Alexi Lalas, USMNT player after Russia friendly
More kids try it when they are young and stick with it. I can tell it's growing. There is always a shortage of fields, and it's hard to get coaches, but there is never a shortage of players.
Steve Friebel, Northwest Soccer Camp co-director
USMNT vs Russia in Kingdome 1994

VIDEO: USMNT vs Russia in Kingdome 1994

Marcus Hahnemann Interview 1994

VIDEO: Marcus Hahnemann Interview 1994

1994 Seattle Sounders APSL Soccer Highlight

VIDEO: 1994 Seattle Sounders APSL Soccer Highlight

Dunn Brothers play for 1994 Sounders

VIDEO: Dunn Brothers play for 1994 Sounders

On this Day in History