During the first quarter of 2020 our executive and advisory boards excitedly welcomed new members. Joining our executive board is Larry Mana’o.
Larry was raised in Federal Way, played varsity collegiate at both Evergreen and Puget Sound and continues to play over-40. He coaches both for Crossfire Premier and Samoa’s men’s and women’s national teams. Larry, who lives in Everett, has over 33 years of executive-level experience in high-tech and is currently chief marketing officer and managing partner for Arena Sports.
Joining the advisory board are Kelsey Gallo, Bob Wickwire and Greg Chapman.
We are constantly noting dates of potentially historic occurrences, and eventually those that make the cut will be uploaded to our WA Legends history website, the first known soccer site of its kind. Recently, that online museum has been significantly upgraded.
It now reaches back to our first, formative days as a footy community, which was right about the time Washington became our nation’s 42nd state, in 1889.
For much of the last couple months, a lot of hours have been devoted to unearthing facts and stories about those who came long, long before us. Chances are, even the great-grandchildren of our state’s soccer pioneers know little of their contributions or roles. Or maybe, just maybe, they do but don’t know what to do with tattered clippings and dusty artifacts.
It’s only natural to click on years with which you’re familiar. We urge you, though, to occasionally take the deep dive into the buckets labeled 1890-1919 and 1920-1949. We also added The Fifties, with three years populated to date. The content’s curated and presented in a fashion that you can spend a couple minutes or get drawn down into a rabbit hole that eventually lands you in the coal mining communities of Black Diamond and Carbonado, when those clubs ruled the day.
Today, soccer is in our blood. Washington has been rated as first among all 50 states in our support, interest and participation.
WA Legends exists to bring our past to life, to keep stories alive. Because when you know how much those generations loved the game, nurtured it and repeatedly pushed it forward while meeting a fair share of resistance – when you know all that, you may be moved to further invest yourself in the game.
It was on the shoulders of selflessness that the American soccer movement carried forward. Countless men, women and youth have volunteered their gifts, great and small, to get us to this place. A shortage of fields, proper gear and knowledgeable instruction has never stood in our way in Washington. Up in this corner of the country we’ve been periodically ignored, discovered, ignored and rediscovered.
Washington State Legends of Soccer wants the story told around the world. We think this is a special place to live the game, but to keep it that way or advance further we must know from where we come, what obstacles have been overcome and realize that we are not alone. Never in 125 years. Never have been, never will be.
Let’s find and set new goals – and go for it.