Thursday, July 31, 2014

Summer archive post: Soccer history, two stories about Puget Sound

First, you might not have known, but soccer has a deep and rich history in Cascadia (from a submission I put into GoalWa):
This isn’t a thorough history of high level Puget Sound area soccer, but rather a quick overview of what I could find in a few places about the earliest soccer in the area. I drew solely from articles I could find at Chronicling America and the Internet Archive. I put my emphasis on adult intercity soccer, ignoring mentions of international soccer (there seemed to be some friendlies played in Seattle) and school soccer.

The years I was able to find resources were basically from 1906 through the early 1920′s. That said, these years seem to represent a high water mark for local soccer.

The Seattle Wanderers traveled to Bainbridge Island to play the Port Blakely team at Pleasant Beach in 1906. This game, and the Wanderers themselves, are the earliest reference to Seattle soccer I could find. Below this article is an interesting reminder of how old some issues in soccer really are. The article is about why the game itself is called “soccer,” reminding more mainstream fans of the full name of the sport of association football.
But, did you know its also true that Olympia itself (tiny little Oly!) has its own rich history of club soccer. This includes a trip into what I think is the best sporting tournament in America, the U.S. Open Cup:
The 1973 campaign by the Olympia Olys in the Challenge Cup turned out a little better. They won their first round game on February 11 against the Rainier Brewers 4-1, but a couple of weeks later, they dropped 4-2 against the San Jose Portuguese. That team would end up losing to eventual champions Maccabi Los Angeles.

Club soccer in western Washington was different back in the 70s. Most semi-pro teams played in the state soccer league, which kicked off in the early 1950s and at its peak was a three division system. Olympia's first entry into the league was in 1965. That team played at Stevens Field, the old high school stadium just south of the Lincoln School.
Remember history is deep. Its varied. The history you know is often there because someone wrote it down. The saying "history is written by the winners" is so true, that its not even funny. But, we can look beyond that first telling of history, digitize way more stuff than we ever had before, and go back and relearn what we know about ourselves.

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