Tacoma, WA. – The South Sound has long been a hotbed for soccer. The people have been avid supporters of the beautiful game. From 1983 to 1992, the Tacoma Stars of the MISL, an indoor soccer league played their games at the Tacoma Dome. The Stars possessed some of the best soccer talent around and they played in front of the largest crowds in the nation.
Current Seattle Sounders FC assistant coach, Brian Schmetzer, recalls those times: "I remember the days when San Diego versus the Tacoma Stars you had 20,000 people there in the Tacoma Dome. There are a lot of soccer people down there. A lot of people that were into the Stars and those are still soccer people, in my mind."
There are a number of soccer greats that have spent time in Tacoma: Brian Schmetzer, Mark Peterson, Preki, Jimmy McAlister, Billy Crook, and of course current LA Galaxy and former U.S. National Team coach, Bruce Arena. Arena coached at the University of Puget Sound and played for the Tacoma Tides of the American Soccer League in 1976.
It was with this in mind that the Sounders FC U-23 side decided to play their games in the South Sound. The team has been fortunate to partner with some great venues at Franklin Pierce High School, Tumwater High School and of course the historic Cheney Stadium.
"We want to be the south sound’s team and we look forward to people coming out to watch the future of the Sounders first team this summer,” Sounders U-23 Head Coach, Darren Sawatzky said. “Franklin Pierce and Tumwater have been great partners, and the two games at Cheney mark the first soccer games to be played at the renovated stadium"
The team will play five games at Franklin Pierce High School. They’ll play one match in Tumwater against the Portland Timbers FC U-23 side, which is sure to be a spirited encounter on and off the field. The team will also play two games at historic Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, WA. The games at Cheney Stadium will be the first soccer matches played there since 1976, when the Tacoma Tides played their home matches there.
Alan Hinton is a local soccer legend in the Puget Sound, he’s played and coached at several levels and stays connected with the game to this day. Hinton is a fixture at most Seattle Sounders FC training sessions and also works on the club’s broadcasts. He is a man that has great insight and perspective to the importance of the occasion.
"I think the Tacoma area has always been a very good area for the Sounders and the old Tacoma Stars,” Hinton said. “They have big crowds and they like it when you win. I think it’s very good that the Sounders are spreading their wings, and in particular to Cheney Stadium, which has a great atmosphere. I might even go see a game myself! It seems intimate and very friendly."
The team opens PDL league play on May 11th against Vancouver Whitecaps FC. The Sounders FC U-23’s first home game is May 25th against the Victoria Highlanders. Kickoff for the historic home opener is 7:30 PM at Franklin Pierce High School in Tacoma, WA. Tickets are available now on SoundersU23.com.