In American soccer, it ain’t easy to know your history. So many fits and starts; it’s been a sport interrupted, and often the second act forgets the first.
Locally, unless it’s St. Louis or the swath of pitches stretching from Philadelphia north and east to Boston, soccer’s past is likely buried in an attic, far from public consumption.
That goes for the great soccer state of Washington, as well. We could begin chipping away at our own Rushmore with hall of fame players like Akers, Higgins and Keller, yet most are unaware that five prior inductees were among those who poured the foundation of what was to come.
Nowadays, of course, the multitude of fans supporting Sounders FC are world-class and, consequently, have grabbed the world’s attention and made Washington impossible to ignore. Still, the footing for this fan base, this pipeline of top-class footballers and our undying love for the game has been left unexplored. Until now.
Washington State Legends of Soccer is bringing this history back to life. There’s enough to fill a few hundred pages in a book, but time marches on and more and more history is being made. So, instead WA Legends is telling tales through a legacy platform designed by Seattle’s DCGone. There, visitors from across the globe can dive headlong into a pool of knowledge about Washington, whose roots in the game extend back some 130 years, practically to our territorial days.
To know your history is to know yourself and your environment. Now you can #KnowYourHistory and have fun doing so. There are milestone dates, insightful quotes, photos and videos – and more material is being accepted and curated all the time. Further, each year is summarized and detailed with notable feats. This history has life.
So far, WA legends has curated 18 random years over six decades, going back to 1960. The plan is to extend the reach, all the way back to the first recorded account of a soccer match, in 1890. WA Legends is reaching out to various associations, clubs and colleges from all corners of the state, to identify key moments in their own respective histories – and there is a standing invitation for individuals and families to submit archival stories and photos via social media, email or otherwise.
Because this museum exists online, as in life, there is ample room to grow. Do you have a snapshot, collection or story to share? It need not be a monumental victory. After all, Washington’s was not always rosy. There were setbacks and outright failures. But the game stood strong, and the dreams of all those immigrants are beginning to be realized as soccer has made itself at home.
So, whether it’s about how you and your girlfriends founded Chursky’s Chicks…firsthand recollection of the first season of high-school soccer in Spokane…your dad took home movies of the Hungarians vs. Germania at Lower Woodland…your Aunt Harriet stepping up to coach CYO side…or your first time watching Jalisco vs. Azteca in Liga Hispana…dust off that stuff and share it with the WA Legends. Connect with them via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or WALegends@gmail.com. And, together, let’s make some more history.
The more you know about the past, the better you are prepared for the future.
About WA Legends – Washington State Legends of Soccer is a 501c-3, all-volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to celebrating Washington’s soccer past and preserving its future. Preserve. Celebrate. Inspire.
A version of this article first appeared at The Frank MacDonald Blog on January 4, 2019.