Monday, August 05, 2013

The Olympia Olys in the Open Cup and semi-pro soccer

If you take a close look, the early 1970s seemed to be the high-water mark for competitive club soccer in Olympia. The Olympia Vikings and the Olympia Olys both played in the top division of the State Soccer League. Both also competed in what we now call the U.S. Open Cup (then called the National Challenge Cup).

Quick break here, but the "Olympia Olys" is just about the most awesome team name ever. I wish someone would do a modern logo for that team. I'd buy a t-shirt.

The 1972 Olympia Vikings were the first Thurston County team to compete in the national cup and quickly dropped out when they were beaten 6-1 in a Bay Area, California game against the "Concordia Club."

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.

By the late 1970s, the State Soccer League died away. In the 1980s, in the wake of the death of the NASL (and the top division Seattle Sounders) FC Seattle and the Western Washington City League started up.

I found a lot of soccer history of this era in a Seattle Times archive available from the Seattle Public Library. It is mostly back-of-the-sports-page sort of stuff and there's a lot in there. At some point, someone could go through the entire archive and pull out a pretty complete history. It was interesting to me that even though the Olympia clubs in this era made the Seattle paper, when I took a look if there was any coverage from Olympia newspapers, I didn't find any.

Also, take a look at the Evergreen Premier League. This is a very recent effort to put together a sort of open (not summer collegiate) semi-pro league in western Washington. So far, they've gotten a lot of interest, including a nascent effort by our own Brandon Sparks to get something going.

1 comment:

Peter said...

I would easily root for the Heidelberg!