Tacoma, WA. – Due to the Sounders FC playoff match on November 2nd, the 1st Annual “Northwest Soccer Legends Night” has moved to Friday, November 9th. In addition to the change in date, legends including Gary Heale, Chance Fry, Gerry Gray, Neil Megson, Fran O’Brien, Roger Levesque, and others have been added to the billing. These Northwest heroes will still play an indoor match at the Tacoma Soccer Center, and kickoff remains at 7pm.
The event is a rare chance for fans to get another glimpse of the top talent that has graced the area’s soccer fields through the years. The night’s feature event will be the indoor match at 7pm, where two teams made up of past pros, will compete against each other on the brand new field turf at the Tacoma Soccer Center. Before and after the game, fans and players will have the opportunity to mingle and remember the “good old days.”
The Legends’ teams are highlighted by the celebrity coaches for each side, Brian Schmetzer and Jimmy McAllister. Schmetzer had a storied career in the NASL, including three years with the Seattle Sounders. He is currently the assistant coach for the Seattle Sounders FC. McAllister was the 1977 NASL Rookie of the Year and earned six caps with the U.S. national team. He is currently the Director of Coaching for the Seattle United youth soccer club.
Fans on hand for the Friday night event can expect to see former Seattle Sounders stars from the NASL, USL, and MLS, like Taylor Graham, Danny Jackson, Scott Jenkins, Erik Storkson Leighton O’Brien, and Viet Nguyen. Along-side those players will be decades of professional experience with Sean Henderson, Neil Megson, Ezra Hendrickson, Dick McCormick, Darren Sawatzky, Chance Fry, Jason Farrell and more. Soccer fans will also recognize indoor soccer legends; Gary Heale, Joe Waters, Fran O’Brien, and Ralph Black. Please note that the appearance of Sounders FC coaches, Schmetzer and Hendrickson, is dependent on their playoff schedule.
Gates will open for the event at 5:00 pm on November 9th and tickets are $5 for all ages. Tickets will be sold at the Tacoma Soccer Center entrance on November 9th. Food and beverages are available for sale inside the facility, including the Far Post Sports Bar, overlooking the field. Fans can get their favorite players’ to sign autographs after the match. Players will stay after the game for a social event at the Tacoma Soccer Center. Fans are encouraged to hang out and reminisce with the Legends about the glory days.
The Tacoma Soccer Center is located on 2610 Bay Street, Tacoma, WA 918421. The indoor arena is located just off I-5 exit 135 toward Portland Avenue. For more information, see TacomaSoccerCenter.org .
Brian Schmetzer (Pro Player 1980 – 1995, Coach 1995-Present)
Brian Schmetzer is currently an assistant coach with the Seattle Sounders FC of Major League Soccer. A Seattle native, Schmetzer first signed with the Seattle Sounders in 1980 straight out of high school. He went on to play in the North American Soccer League, Major Indoor Soccer League and Western Soccer League. Following his playing career, he coached the Seattle Sounders in the USL First Division for seven seasons, winning two championships. He was the 2002 USL-1 Coach of the Year.
Jimmy McAllister (Pro Player 1976 – 1986, Coach 1988 – Present)
Jimmy McAlister was the 1977 NASL Rookie of the Year and earned six caps with the U.S. national team. As a defender for the Sounders, he was charged with marking Pele in the 1977 Soccer Bowl, a job he did well. Following a long outdoor and then indoor soccer career, McAllister took up coaching. He was recently inducted into the Washington State Youth Soccer Association Hall of Fame. In 2000, McAlister became the head coach of the Decatur High School Boys soccer team. The next season, he coached them to an undefeated season and the Washington State 4A championship. In January 2010, he returned to the city where he made his mark as a professional player, becoming the Director of Coaching of the Seattle United youth soccer club.
John Baretta (Pro Player 1979 – 1988, Coach 1988 – Present)
John Baretta made his name in goal as an excellent shot stopper. The Canadian went on to play in the NASL as well as six seasons in the Major Indoor Soccer League. Three of those seasons were spent with the Tacoma Stars where John played more than 70 games and recorded over 1,000 saves as the Stars keeper. He now coaches high school soccer.
Tim Bartro (Pro Player 1982 – 1996, Coach 1997 - Present)
Recruited in the third round of the 1982 NASL draft straight out of high school, Tim Bartro made his debut in the NASL in 1983 with the Seattle Sounders. Since then, he has played with the Golden Bay Earthquakes, Tacoma Stars, Seattle Storm, Portland Timbers, and Seattle Seadogs. Bartro scored 25 goals and 30 assists during his professional career. Currently, Bartro is coaching with the Washington Premier.
Fawzi Belal (Pro Player 2004-2012, Coach 2012 – Present)
Fawzi Belal was a member of the Seattle Sounders from 2004-2008. He has recently suited up for the Sounders FC in reserve matches as well. This year he joined the Sounders FC U-23 coaching staff as an assistant. He has coaching experience with Washington ODP as well as the youth club, Washington Rush.
Ralph Black (Pro Player 1981 – 1999, Coach 1997 – Present)
Ralph Black is a Scottish-born defender who is best known for his indoor soccer exploits. In an eighteen year career, playing over 400 games, Black scored more than 120 goals. From 1984 to 1989, he played 210 matches for the Tacoma Stars, scoring 45 goals. Following his career, he took the reigns as a pro indoor and then youth soccer coach, which he continues at today.
Tom Bunnell (Playing Career 1985-1987, Coach 1985- Present)
Tom Bunnell manned the posts at Western Washington University from 1985-1987. Since then he’s trained goalkeepers all over the state. Tom’s coaching resume includes stints with Seattle University and the Seattle Sounders Women. Since 2004, Tom has served as Issaquah High School Girls Varsity Head Coach where he has led the team to state titles in 2004,2006 and 2007 and captured state runner up in 2005 and 2009.
Ben Dragavon (Pro Player 2006 – 2009, Coach 2012 – Present)
Ben Dragavon graduated from Seattle University and went on to have an extensive pro career as a goalkeeper for the USL Sounders, the Sounders FC in MLS, Columbus Crew, and Toronto FC. One of Dragavon’s biggest moments was stepping on the field for Kasey Keller in 2009 after Keller received a red card. Ben is currently the goalkeeper coach for the Sounders FC U-23.
Ray Evans (Pro Player 1967-1989)
Ray Evans is an English fullback who played for historic clubs, Fulham, Millwall, Stoke City, and Tottenham Hotspur for 14 years before coming to America. While at Spurs, he featured in both legs of the European Cup Final against Dutch giants; Feyenord. Following his career in England, Ray joined the NASL and eventually the Seattle Sounders. After a stint with the Tacoma Stars as well, Ray finished his career with the Seattle Storm in 1989.
Jason Farrell (Pro Player 1992-2004, Coach 2004-Present)
Jason Farrell was a star forward in two stints with the Sounders and time with the Columbus Crew. Jason scored 14 goals and 17 assists in his first tour with the Seattle Sounders, helping the team win back-to-back titles in ‘95 and ‘96 before going to MLS. In Major League Soccer, Farrell scored double digits in goals and pitched in for deep playoff runs. When he returned to the Sounders in 2001, Farrell picked up right where he left off, playing 88 games and posting eight goals and 15 assists in four years. Following his playing career, he was an assistant coach for the Sounders, and is now Technical Director for Seattle United.
Chance Fry (Pro Player 1983-1997, Coach 1999-Present)
Chance Fry’s professional career started right after high school when he joined the Seattle Sounders in 1983. He went on to play the next four years for various indoor and outdoor teams around the United States before returning to Seattle to join the Storm. He would eventually return to the Sounders and scored more goals than any other player in A-League history. Fry’s 14 year career included five caps for the U.S. National Team. Now, Chance serves as the Director of Coaching for Eastside FC.
Taylor Graham (Pro Player 2003-2011)
Taylor Graham played for three Major League Soccer teams during his pro career. In between stints with Kansas City and New York, he was a member of the USL- Seattle Sounders. Graham was a member of the 2005 and 2007 USL-1 Seattle Sounders championship teams. He was named USL-1 Defender of the Year in ‘05 and first team All-USL-1 in ‘05 and ‘08. A graduate of Stanford University, Graham made the jump to MLS with the Sounders before moving from pitch to the Sounders Front Office. The 2009 Humanitarian of the Year is now the Manager of Business Operations with the Sounders FC.
Gerry Gray (Pro Player 1980 – 1991, Coach 2010-2011)
Inducted into the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame, Gerry Gray played in the 1979 FIFA World Youth Championships and the 1986 FIFA World Cup finals. Gerry has earned 34 caps and 2 goals for the Canadian National team, including his crucial World Cup Qualifying goal in the Azteca Stadium against Mexico. He was on the 1982 All-NASL 1st team while at the Vancouver Whitecaps and in-all, he scored 169 goals in outdoor and indoor soccer including 34 for the Tacoma Stars.
Gary Heale (Pro Player 1975 – 1995, Coach 1996 – Present)
Following an eight season European career in England and Holland, Gary Heale came to the United States in 1983. Heale played for indoor and outdoor teams including the Tacoma Stars and Seattle Sounders. In two stints with the Stars, Gary played 268 matches scoring an incredible 176 goals. Following his playing career, he took up coaching and now coaches youth soccer with Washington Premier.
Ezra Hendrickson (Pro Player 1996-2008, Coach 2009 –Present)
A native of the island of St. Vincent in the Caribbean, Ezra Hendrickson began his career in 1997 with the New York MetroStars, before joining the Galaxy later that season. He totaled six seasons in Los Angeles, where he also won the CONCACAF Champions Cup and the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. He was also named Galaxy’s Most Valuable Player for the 2001 season. Hendrickson was a member of three MLS Cup championship teams, winning two with Sigi Schmid. Together, they won the 2002 MLS Cup with the Los Angeles Galaxy and the 2008 MLS Cup in Columbus. Ezra was also with the champion D.C. United team in 2004. He is currently an assistant coach for the Sounders FC.
Sean Henderson (Pro Player 1994 – 2005, Coach 1999 – Present)
Sean Henderson was a two-time prep All-American at Everett's Cascade High School. He later was an NCAA champion and All-American at UCLA under Sigi Schmid. Henderson represented the U.S. at the U16, U18 and U20 national team level. He played 11 professional seasons in Germany and in the U.S. with Colorado Rapids and Seattle in the USL. Henderson began his youth coaching career in 1999 and is currently the assistant coach for the Sounders FC Youth Academy.
Scott Jenkins (Pro Player 1996– 2005, Coaching 2006 - Present)
Listed 5th among all time leaders in appearances at the USL, Scott Jenkins amassed an amazing career with the Seattle Sounders. In 2005, Jenkins delivered the game-winning penalty kick and was awarded the Final Match Ball when the Sounders escaped with a 2-1 shootout victory over the Richmond Kickers in his last game with the Sounders for the USL Championship in front of 8,000 fans at Qwest Field.
Roger Levesque (Pro Player 2003-2012)
After playing for the Stanford Cardinals in the NCAA final and as high as 2nd Team All-American, Roger Levesque was drafted to the San Jose Earthquakes. After a knee injury, he later moved to the Seattle Sounders where he earned over 200 appearances. Roger scored 40 goals for the Sounders with some goal celebrations earning a little extra attention. He holds the record for quickest US Open Cup goal, just 48 seconds into the 2009 battle with the Portland Timbers, and later that year he notched the match winner against DC United in the Cup Final. Levesque’s final match for the Sounders was on July 18, 2012, when the Sounders played Chelsea F.C. He is now earning his MBA at the University of Washington.
Dick McCormick (Pro Player 1988-2000, Coach 1997 – Present)
Dick McCormick is a Seattle native who played over 500 pro games and, most recently, coached some of the area’s most successful youth teams. In 13 pro seasons, McCormick was a playmaking midfielder for several indoor and outdoor clubs, including the Tacoma Stars, Seattle SeaDogs and USL Sounders. He won championships with the Sounders in 1995 and 1996, and with the SeaDogs in 1997. McCormick went on to coach under Brian Schmetzer for the USL Sounders from 2002 to 2004, and is now the Head Coach of Sounders FC Youth Academy Teams.
Neil Megson (Pro Player 1983 – 1998, Coach 1993 – Present)
English born, but American capped, Neil Megson played 15 seasons in the NASL, Indoor Soccer, and A-League including stints with the Sounders and Stars. He also earned two caps with the U.S. National Team in 1988. Following his playing days, Neil served as head coach to the Seattle Sounders for five seasons, winning the 1995 A-League championship and being named the 2000 USL Coach of the Year. Now Neil coaches for Harbor Premier in Gig Harbor.
Mike Morris (Pro Player 2006-2008, Coach 2008 – Present)
Scoring the fastest goal in Seattle Pacific University’s soccer history, Mike Morris has gone on to become the camp site director and the youth programs operations assistant for the Sounders FC. Morris also played for the 2007 Sounders USL Champion Team & the Sounders USL 2008 team. Mike currently is a head coach for several teams at Greater Renton Football Club.
Viet Nguyen (Pro Player 1999 – 2005, Coach 1999 – 2012)
Viet Nguyen was a standout player at the University of Washington in the late 90’s. During that time he earned a spot on the United States U-20 National Team. Following his time as a Husky, he was drafted to play for the Seattle Sounders where he played 6 years in the Sounders midfield. Viet went on to develop a coaching career as one of the top technical youth coaches in the state.
Fran O’Brien (Pro Player 1974– 1990, Coach 1992 – Present)
Born in Dublin, Ireland, Fran O'Brien played 16 years as a professional in Europe and the United States. After coming to the NASL in 1978, Fran was impressive enough to be called back to Ireland for 4 caps with the Irish National Team. He spent the next 6 years in the NASL, earning 2nd Team All-NASL before the league folded. At that point, Fran joined the Major Indoor Soccer League and eventually the Tacoma Stars for 71 appearances. O’Brien is now a coaching fixture in the Puget Sound after coaching the Tacoma Tide and currently coaching at Pac Northwest.
Leighton O’Brien (Pro Player 1999 – 2011, Coach 2002 – Present)
Leighton O'Brien, Fran’s oldest son, was the playmaker for the Sounders USL squads in the early 2000’s. In 2002, he tied for the league lead in assists with 11 and was named the USL A-League MVP. O’Brien then played 35 matches in Sweden before returning to the Sounders to help them win two USL championships. Leighton is now the Director of Coaching for PAC NW youth soccer club.
Dennis Sanchez (Playing Career 2005-2008, Coach 2010 – Present)
Dennis Sanchez attended San Diego State University where he earned All Pac-10 Honorable Mention Honors in just his second year on the team. He was instrumental in his time with the former Tacoma Tide’s run to the Western Conference Championship in 2008. Dennis is currently the 1998 ODP Boys Head Coach for Washington State as well as the Teams Operations Assistant for the Seattle Sounders FC.
Darren Sawatzky (Pro Player 1995 – 2004, Coach 2005 – Present)
Darren Sawatzky played in the inaugural year of Major League Soccer. His nine-year pro career took him throughout the United States and to trials in Mexico and England. Sawatzky even spent a season with the Portland Timbers… A prolific goal scorer, Sawatzky scored 36 goals for the Sounders before joining the coaching staff as an assistant in 2007. Now Darren is the Director of Youth Development for the Sounders FC and head coach of the Sounders FC U-23.
Todd Stauber (Pro Player 1994 – 2001, Coach 1998 – Present)
Following three final fours and a national championship with Seattle Pacific University, where he assisted on the game winning goal, Todd Stauber was drafted by the Seattle Sounders. In between outdoor seasons, Stauber played indoors for the Seattle SeaDogs and Lafayette Swampcats. Stauber also had a stint with the San Jose Clash as well as trials in Europe. Following his playing days, Stauber has coached collegiately and on the youth level.
Erik Storkson (Pro Player 1997-2001, Coach 2004 – Present)
After walking on to the Sounders at the age of 19, Erik Storkson played with the Sounders for 7 years and logged over 4,000 minutes. One of his memorable moments was scoring the tying goal in the last minute against the Vancouver 86ers in the 1998 playoffs. Storkson currently coaches at Crossfire Premier FC as well as at Lindbergh High School.
Danny Vaughn (Pro Player 1978-1982)
A native of Tacoma, Danny Vaughn is in the Tacoma-Pierce County Sports Hall of Fame. While at the University of Washington, the captain earned, most inspirational and most valuable player awards while establishing single season and career goal-scoring records. At the professional level he played four seasons in the NASL against international stars including Franz Beckenbauer, George Best, Johan Cryuff, and Pele.
Joe Waters (Pro Player 1971 – 1992, Coach 1990 – 2012)
Joe Waters started a professional career with 13 years in English Football with Leicester and Grimsby Town. Waters scored two goals in his Leicester City debut in a FA Cup Quarterfinal win. Once Waters arrived in the U.S. he joined the Tacoma Stars for 358 appearances and was affectionately known as “Jumpin’ Joey Waters.” He is also a capped Republic of Ireland national teamer who now coaches high school, youth soccer, and the Tacoma Stars.
Teddy Mitalas (Pro Player 1981 – 1986, Coach 1990 – Present)
Including a professional playing career in Greece and the United States, Teddy Mitalas has received many accolades over the years including being inducted into the WA State Soccer Association Hall of Fame in 2008, WA State Youth Soccer Association President’s Award in 2009, and in 2010 was awarded the Golden Scarf Award by the Sounders FC. Teddy is now a high school and premier club coach and newly hired as the Sounders Women Director of Community Relations.