Ron Copple (1945-2022)

Ronald L. (Ron) Copple Sr., former Washington Youth Soccer president and longtime coach and administrator, passed away at his home in Estrella Mountain Ranch, Goodyear, Arizona August 6, 2022.  He had just celebrated his 77th birthday. Ron is survived by his wife of 32 years, Pam Casbere Copple, who is also WYS past-president.

Ron was an active volunteer in various sports and civic organizations throughout his lifetime.  He started his involvement in youth soccer in the mid-70s and continued through 2006.  He was a coach, referee and administrator with Washington State Youth Soccer and best known for organizing the WSYSA Soccer Fair, held annually from 1989 to 2008.  He was President of WSYSA from 1999 through 2003. He held various positions within the state as well as the US Youth Soccer Association and Region IV.

His professional career spanned 47 years as an insurance agent. Ron founded Copple Insurance Group in Auburn, Washington in the early 2000s, after leaving Mutual of Omaha.  It helped many throughout the community in their search for Medicare coverage and health insurance throughout the years. Ron was a member of the Auburn Chamber of Commerce for many years and a member of the City of Auburn Planning Commission until 2018. He also participated in political activism within the areas he lived.

It is Finished. For now

We hope you visit often, searching for your favorite feats and teams. However, we also suggest you dive deeper, into past generations, to learn about the key individuals and organizations that cleared the path. We owe so much to their vision, sweat and and lasting contributions.

Our state’s soccer history seems to write a new entry every week, so we will now be updating our museum annually from here forward. We will also continue uploading content to past years. That said, if you believe we’ve missed something, or you have historical photos, videos or artifacts to share, please let us know. Washington’s history is a work in progress.

UPDATE: We are always looking additional historical events and achievements, especially those in eastern Washington and south of Puget Sound. We want our online museum to be representative of your community. You’re invited to submit topics or photos via walegends@gmail.com. Together, let’s make some history.

Nine Selected for WA Legends’ First Jimmy Gabriel Scholarship

SEATTLE (June 30) – Washington State Legends of Soccer has selected nine recipients for the first year of the Jimmy Gabriel Memorial Scholarship. These young men and women were chosen from among a large field of applicants from throughout the state, and all have been accepted at colleges where they will begin studying later this year.

“Our family is happy to see the soccer community come together to honor Dad’s legacy by supporting these deserving student athletes,” stated Janet Keeney, one of Gabriel’s three daughters and a member of the WA Legends scholarship selection committee. “Not only was Dad passionate about soccer, but he also highly valued learning and bettering oneself.  Congratulations to all the worthy recipients.”

Jimmy Gabriel was a Scot born in humble circumstances. He saw soccer as his way to a better life and sought every day to better himself. Gabriel, already acclaimed for a career in Scotland and England, became a legend in Seattle through playing and coaching at many levels, including the Seattle Sounders, University of Washington and Washington Youth Soccer. He was described as a whole-hearted and inspiring coach, ever-humble, generous and popular, who left his mark everywhere he went.

The Jimmy Gabriel Memorial Scholarship was created by his many friends and family members, to extend his legacy to future generations. Applications for the 2023 scholarship will be opened early next year.

Donations for the Jimmy Gabriel Memorial Scholarship can be made here. Washington State Legends of Soccer is a 501(c)3 registered charity and dedicated to celebrating Washington’s soccer past and preserving its future. For more about WA Legends, visit the website or its extensive online museum.

The nine recipients, their hometown, high school and future college are as follows:

  • Olivia Boehm, Bellingham, Wa./Sehome (Pacific Lutheran)
  • Mercedes Cullen, Spokane, Wa./Mead (Seattle Pacific)
  • Aidan Drought, Mukilteo, Wa./Kamiak (Seattle Pacific)
  • Lauren Holland, Sammamish, Wa./Skyline (George Washington)
  • Elliot McClafferty, Vancouver, Wa./Vancouver School of Arts (Warner Pacific)
  • Phoenix Schumacher-Tucker, Lakewood, Wa./Wm Harrison Prep (Embry-Riddle)
  • Sierra Stout, Yakima, Wa./Eisenhower (Columbia Basin)
  • Krubelle Tesfaye, Shoreline, Wa./Shorecrest (Western Washington)
  • Eyerusalem Wereta, Seattle, Wa./Nathan Hale (Oregon State)

The Jimmy Gabriel Memorial Scholarship Fund

Washington State Legends of Soccer is pleased to announce establishment of the Jimmy Gabriel Memorial Scholarship Fund, to further assist our state’s youth in becoming their best selves. For more than 40 years, Jimmy Gabriel’s influence on the development of our state’s soccer community, on several levels, cannot be overstated. Now, thanks to the generous support and leadership of individuals and organizations, the Jimmy Gabriel Memorial Scholarship Fund can build on that legacy.

Our community was profoundly saddened by Jimmy’s passing in 2021 at the age of 80, however we believe that through the JGMSF his spirit lives on. The fund will be administered by Washington State Legends of Soccer, a 501(c)3 organization founded in 2016 to celebrate our state’s soccer past and preserve its future.

“Jimmy Gabriel was an inspiration as a player and coach for generations of Pacific Northwest soccer fans,” said WA Legends president Frank Gallo. “After his success playing and coaching professionally, he shared his insights about our beautiful game and his genuine compassion for fellow players and fans from college ages down to youth levels.  Jimmy lives on in the memories of all of us whose lives he touched.  His scholarship fund is a wonderful reminder for us and truly a blessing for recipients.”

Friends Paying Tribute

Two good friends of Jimmy Gabriel who share his ties to the original Sounders, spearheaded the movement to establish the JGMSF, with the blessing of his family. David Gillett played beside and for Jimmy during the NASL club’s first five seasons. Alan Hinton, who succeeded Jimmy as coach, grew close to him in recent decades. They worked together on Sounders FC broadcasts and shared stories of playing in England’s top division, coaching the Sounders, working with youth and young professionals.

“From the moment the idea of contributing to a young person’s education was suggested, I knew that Jimmy Gabriel would have agreed this is a perfect vehicle to honor his life’s work,” said Gillett. “As a player and a person, Jimmy was intelligent and analytical, always willing to help others with coaching and personal advice. He understood that education was the key to developing life skills, and in conjunction with sport, one’s quality of life would be assured.”

“This scholarship is about giving young people what they need to succeed,” said Hinton. “Jimmy had a special gift. He would say to players, ‘How can we work together to make you a better player and person?’ He was always positive, always empowering, always thinking of ways to make training a place to enjoy the game.” 

Mr. Sounder and More

Jimmy Gabriel was a son of Scotland, however more than half of his life was spent in Washington, as a coach and player. Beyond being the original Mr. Sounder, he worked with youth, collegiate men and women, senior amateurs and professionals. Jimmy was always seeking ways to get the most out of every player’s potential and harness those abilities such that the team would perform with a force far greater than 11 the individuals.

In spring of 2022, WA Legends will begin accepting applications to the Jimmy Gabriel Memorial Scholarship Fund. We encourage anyone and any organization who benefitted from Jimmy’s countless contributions, to consider donating toward this fund. Washington State Legends of Soccer is a 501(c)3 registered charity.

Making History: It’s a Process

There’s a fair amount of rigor that goes into producing content at our online museum. While it would’ve been great to publish our entire history of Washington soccer when this platform first launched in 2018, the fact was our vast history, dating to around 1890, had not been written at length. Or researched. Or vetted

We are projecting that the WA Legends online museum will be fully launched during the first half of 2022. Yet before the switches are flipped on the 15 remaining years, here’s a little bit about what’s happening behind the curtain. First, we take the known history and explore the context. There have been summaries from several sources over the past few decades, so we are not flying blind. For the past 50-60 years, it’s been fairly well documented by media. For instance, we know that in 1981 the Sounders were victorious in a major NASL tournament; a Seattle women’s amateur club (Ramlosa) won a second straight national championship; Highline claimed the WIAA boys’ state tournament; and the U.S. Soccer Federation held its annual meetings in Seattle. There’s much more to those stories, however.

We dive into newspaper and periodical archives, college record books, high school annuals, media guides and personal keepsakes to find supporting facts. We solicit photos from schools and photographers. We search for video or audio recordings. We scour online sources, and we have interviewed many of the newsmakers themselves.

Once we pull together the facts, the curating, writing and editing phase begins. Photos and videos are prepared, and all that is uploaded to the online museum’s back end. That’s an exhaustive process followed by copyediting and tagging, to make the artifacts and stories searchable. Finally, there is feature-length story to research and write about significant milestones achieved in a given year. And then we do it all again for the next year and the next.

We know there’s more stories, more facts, more context that our community can provide. And that’s the great thing about this platform: It’s always a work in progress. So, if you reach out and contact us with further information and resources, they can be added to the museum. 

This is not glamorous or sexy work. It’s laborious – but it’s also a labor of love. We want to tell Washington’s story, the story of a state that has always punched above its weight in the world of soccer. We want people, here and around the world, to remember that. And we truly hope it will drive others to dare to dream, to seize opportunities and give back to this great game, because that’s our nature in Washington. More than anything, we love this game.

WA Legends makes this content available for free to all. We would really appreciate your continued financial support, to expand the online museum and make it even more inviting and accessible. Many of you have been generously giving, and we stretch those dollars to the utmost. So, keep telling us your stories. Share this great resource with others. And please consider making a donation.

Best wishes to you all in 2022, when we promise to reach the finish line – and keep going.


2021 Scholarship Awarded

Washington State Legends of Soccer is pleased to announce that our 2021/22 scholarship recipient is Eduardo Duvan Vaca-Trujillo of Lake Tapps.The WA Legends scholarship committee reviewed applications and made the determination. The scholarship fund was established in 2019, thanks to the contributions of generous donors like you.

Duvan is enrolled in graduate school for a master’s in cyber security at Grand Canyon University. He is the first in his family to graduate from college, completing his bachelor’s at Pacific Lutheran, where he also played soccer for the Lutes.

Presenting Duvan with the WA Legends scholarship certificate is board secretary Debbie Barlow. Congratulations and best wishes to Duvan, and our deep gratitude to all those who contributed to our scholarship fund.

To make a donation to the scholarship fund, pleaseclick here.

Your October Harvest

A bounty is about to be delivered to your doorstep. Throughout much of October we will be sharing new content at our online museum. Our objective was to release 15 new ‘years’ before 2022, and we see no reason to wait until the holidays to bear gifts. These 15 years spans eight decades and contain hundreds of written entries, lists, photos and videos, so there will be something of interest to every generation of our thriving Washington soccer community. 

Our museum platform makes the researched and curated content easily searchable. Type in your subject of interest, and a page will populate with all the hits published to date. We believe this makes Washington’s soccer history among the most accessible in the world – and much of our history is world-class as well.

We will activate a new year on a daily basis, from October 11 through October 25. Before that, we will be sharing one of our vaulted one-on-one interviews on our YouTube channel. Our hope is to edit and produce a few more of these by next spring.

We constantly scour record books, newspaper archives and other publications to identify worthy subjects for our museum, however we are always seeking additional submissions from every corner of the state. If you have an artifact, story or milestone achievement you believe worthy of consideration, don’t hesitate to reach out and contact us.

As we look toward 2022, our goal is to fill the final gap in our online museum and make our history complete, from 1890-2021. To do that requires that 14 more years be researched, curated, written and edited – and we are determined to get it done. We make all this online content free to the world. But there is a cost, and we appreciate any financial support you can kindly provide. Please consider making a donation.

Jimmy Gabriel (1940-2021)

Jimmy Gabriel, both instrumental and influential to the advancement of Puget Sound area soccer for more than 35 years and the original Mr. Sounder, has died. Gabriel, 80, passed July 10 at Banner Health Center in Phoenix. We wish to express our deepest sympathies to his wife Pat and daughters Karen, Janet and Samantha and their families.

Gabriel won friends throughout his life while exhibiting a can-do, selfless spirit and instilling belief in others. At their best, his teams exhibited those same qualities; they pulled together to reach and surpass lofty goals and form lasting relationships. He was a teacher of the game and an inspirational force, giving of his time and talent wherever his travels took him. Gabriel recognized the strong connection between players and fans, and by lifting his players, their play would lift the crowd, who would then lift the team further. He knew the game, he competed hard, and he was driven to win. He coached up teammates, and his play was described as the perfect blend of silk and steel.

Gabriel served as original captain and second head coach of the NASL Seattle Sounders as well as the first coaching director for Washington Youth Soccer. He was coaching director and later head coach for FC Seattle, which provided a competitive environment for development of the area’s top players following the NASL’s demise. Later, Gabriel served as an assistant coach for the University of Washington men’s and women’s programs, and he was Brian Schmetzer’s top assistant with the A-League Sounders.

Conversations with a Legends – Olympics Edition

In anticipation of the Tokyo Summer Games, WA Legends is rolling out a YouTube miniseries: Conversations with a Legend – Olympics Edition. We share our Zoom visits with some of Olympians and aspiring Olympians from the past 40-plus years. Beginning July 19 we will drop daily episodes on our YouTube channel. Our featured guests are Jeff Stock, Brent Goulet, Kasey Keller and Hope Solo.

Like us, viewers will be taken inside the Olympic experience and learn more about its impact on Jeff, Brent, Kasey and Hope. For instance, why was the Moscow boycott a mixed blessing for Stock? Which star athletes from other sports became fast friends of Goulet? Why did being left off the 1992 team prove a career boost for Keller? And why was getting a gold medal at Athens not satisfying to Solo?  

We hope you enjoy and share these with others.

Geoff Wall (1941-2021)

On April 27, 2021, we lost a unique and longstanding contributor to our state’s strong soccer community. Geoff Wall was 80. Whether it was through playing, coaching or conducting camps, Geoff was known to many. He was a friend, a father, a husband and restauranteur, operating Piccadilly Circus in Snohomish for the past 30-plus years. A gathering to share your Geoff Wall stories will be held from 1-3 p.m. Sunday, May 23, at Piccadilly Circus in Snohomish. Food and drinks will be provided. 

Geoff Wall (ca 2016)