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.
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.
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.
What We Learned form the Pros
On April 12, Washington State Legends of Soccer hosted a live webinar with five local pros, each of them having developed their game, or some stage of it, here in Washington. The objective: To share insight into what it takes to reach the highest levels of the game. Learning from the Pros is now available to view on the WA Legends YouTube channel.
Here are a few takeaways from the panel, which was comprised of Samantha Hiatt (OL Reign), Katherine Reynolds (recently retired, Portland Thorns), Cristian Roldan (Sounders), Kelyn Rowe (Sounders) and Morgan Weaver (Portland Thorns).
Question: When did you begin to realize you could play at the professional level?
Hiatt: When I was called into my first national camp at 16.
Roldan: It wasn’t until my first year of college that I realized I could play at the next level.
Q: When was the biggest adjustment to your mindset?
Reynolds: The biggest change from club to college was just the amount that we were training and the time we had to spend in the gym…The biggest jump was college to pro. We were used to being one of the best players on our club team or in college, and then you’re in the pros and everyone’s that good or better, and it’s a wake-up call.
Rowe: the last jump (to the pros) by far is the widest gap. Everyone was already bigger, faster, stronger than me.
Weaver: From high school to college what was huge for me was the weight room. I never lifted in high school…Going from college to pros, it’s the speed of play.
Q: How did you keep active and in shape during COVID lockdown?
Weaver: I’d always bike every morning and try to go on a run every single day and just get ins some touches in the apartment.
Rowe: I was in a small apartment in Boston, and it was quite cold…I ordered a foam ball to hit against my wall and couch – and may have knocked my TV down.
Q: What characteristics make for a high-level player?
Reynolds: The first thing is a work ethic. You have to want it. You have to put in the time and the work.
Roldan: Determination. You have to be mentally sharp each and every practice. Each offseason you need to come in ready to go, fit and just wanting to get better. If you surround yourself with people who want to do the same, it can really translate to that person wanting to work just as hard.
Q: How did you approach recruiting and choosing a college?
Rowe: Before going away (to play), I would email 20-25 coaches…and tell them I was going to be on this field at this time. I did that every weekend from my freshman year until I signed. You send those out. Don’t be embarrassed if you have a bad game. Don’t burn any bridges. You email back; you be a good kind person, and that goes a long way.
Hiatt: The vibe of the team is important because you spend so much time with these people every day, and they’re going to be your community…How did you feel talking to people on the team. Relationships with your teammates reflect your overall collegiate experience.
Reynolds: You have to think, if soccer was taken away, would you still be happy there?
Q: What’s your typical game day preparation?
Roldan: I like to have my omelet with avocado and coffee. Watch some soccer and go for a quick walk to get my legs stretched out…I like to watch YouTube videos on the opposing player.
Hiatt: I’m a big fan of getting up and moving around. I like coffee, so sometimes a morning walk and go get coffee. In the afternoon I’ll have my pregame meal and I think to get to the locker room early. Just sit in my chair and listen to music before it gets hectic.
Q: What makes soccer in Washington so special?
Hiatt: The people who come out to the games and the supporters just create a really cool environment. I’ve been a fan going to Sounders and Reign games, and I’m so excited to be on the other side of it now. The atmosphere the fans create is pretty special.
There’s much, much more. For instance, Roldan’s pregame sandwich and his superstitions. What does Rowe find telling about the final 15 minutes of a match? When should you think about moving to a better team. Who played multiple sports through high school?
WA Legends is a 501(c)(3) registered public charity, and donations are welcome.
Our deepest thanks to our esteemed panelists, moderator and our virtual audience for participating in ‘Learning from the Pros,’ an extremely informative and entertaining webinar event held on April 12.
Our panel of elite, professional soccer players – Seattle Sounder Cristian Roldan (former UW Husky), OL Reign Samantha Hiatt (Kirkland local), newly signed Sounder Kelyn Rowe (Federal Way), Portland Thorns star Morgan Weaver (University Place), and 10-year WPS and NWSL player Katherine Reynolds (Medina) – shared what it takes to reach the next level of competition, on and off the field.
For those among the audience, please consider donating $15 or an amount of your choice to Washington State Legends of Soccer. We plan to add the complete webinar to our YouTube channel selection in the very near future.
Stay in touch and if you have suggestions or potential submissions, please contact us.
As promised, we uploaded three new features to our Conversations with a Legend series during the week of Feb. 22-26. Joining the lineup: one of our nation’s most accomplished FIFA referees, Sandy Hunt; captain in their formative first seasons, Keelin Winters Pattillo; and the Federal Way lad who starred for the Sounders, Lamar Neagle. All these Conversations, plus much, much more can be found on our YouTube channel.
Meanwhile, research is underway for adding at least 15 more ‘years’ of content to our Legends online museum. By year end 2022 we plan to bring the content fully up to date. We’ve come a long way since launching our site in December of 2018.
For Elizabeth and Lisa, our WA Legends/Alan Hinton scholars, the college experience this past autumn quarter proved challenging. Everett Community College, where both study, is conducting classes exclusively online. Furthermore, athletics competition has been halted during the pandemic.
Elizabeth, a freshman from Everett, writes that it’s much more “difficult to really understand the content of my classes, but I did my best and made it.” She is looking forward to finally getting on the soccer field this spring.
Throughout December we are adding more than two decades of new content to our online history platform, as well as a new YouTube series entitled Conversations with a Legend. We will be activating content on a daily basis beginning December 4 and highlighting those additions and providing direct links via our Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Like many non-profits, our planned community events and fundraising campaigns were effectively canceled for 2020. Nevertheless, our board raised from within the necessary funds to move forward and create this content, which is free for the world to see. So, go ahead and tell all your friends about this great state of soccer over this holiday season and beyond.
If you would like to support WA Legends through your tax-deductible donation, please click here.
And here’s a toast to great things, good things, to abound for us all in 2021.
We are pleased to announce our 2020 recipients for the Washington State Legends of Soccer / Alan Hinton Scholarship.
Elizabeth Martinez is a recent graduate of Mariner High School, and Adi (Lisa) Rakuro is entering her sophomore year of college. Both Elizabeth and Lisa are attending Everett Community College. They also will play varsity soccer when the postponed season begins in spring 2021.
The Washington State Legends of Soccer scholarship committee reviewed applications and made the determination. The WSLS/AH Scholarship Fund was established thanks to the contributions of generous donors like you, first at our 2019 Night with Alan Hinton & Friends and with many renewing their gift again this past year.
A college education can be a life-changing opportunity for our youth, and this is one of the pillars of our WA Legends mission, to inspire our community to give back and provide new opportunities to others through this great game. Elizabeth and Lisa have overcome many challenges to become the first in their respective families to attend college. Elizabeth plans to major in engineering, and Lisa is pursuing a degree in criminal justice.
To make a donation to the scholarship fund, please click here.
Washington State Legends of Soccer is determined to make every week and every day count throughout 2020.
Our executive board continues to meet virtually each month, plus we are planning to add 22 new years to our online museum, and we are in the process of conducting online interviews with notable soccer figures from our community.
As always, we value your suggestions and contributions. If there’s a piece of history we should know about or you can offer some hidden photos or videos chronicling some key event, organization, team or individual, please reach out. And if there’s someone you suggest we interview, let us know. It’s a big state with a deep history in soccer and some of the best stories have yet to be told.