West Seattle Soccer—The Early Years
By Joe Smith, WSJSA Past President
The West Seattle Junior Soccer Association (WSJSA) was formed in 1968, however in October of 1967, there was a 12 and under boys team put together by Joe Smith and Duane Ashby and entered into the Federal Way League. This team, called the Shamrocks, was made up mostly of players from the North Admiral District with the balance of the players from the CYO Lady of Lourdes team.
The first “Canadian Exchange” took place November 23rd, 1967 with the Shamrocks playing a home series with the Vancouver Tugs. Vancouver was the defending U12 British Columbia team in 1966. However, the Shamrocks were very competitive and lost 3-2 in the first game and tied the second game 0-0. A very good start for a new team.
In September of 1968, in the living room of Joe Smith’s home, the West Seattle Junior Soccer Association was formed. We had five people in attendance and elected officials were Joe Smith as President, Duane Ashby as Vice President, Steve McArdle as Secretary, Sid Ryles as Treasurer, and Neil Sullivan.
Four teams were formed by introducing a U8 team (PAF Springers), a U10 team, a U12 team (KC Thistles), and a U14 team (Shamrocks). All the teams played in the Bellevue Boys Club League through our friendship with Mr. Goldingay, founder of the Bellevue league. All the teams did well, with the U12 team winning their league, the U14 team coming in a respectable third place, the U10 team placing fifth.
The following year through our association with the CYO soccer program, the Seattle Junior Soccer Association (SJSA) was formed to provide the various teams a local league to play in. This included age groups U15 down to U8. The first General Meeting was held at Hiawatha Playfield Center on February 8, 1969. Joe Smith was elected President and Pat Raney was elected Vice President.
The original clubs from around the City of Seattle included West Seattle, Georgetown, Lake City and Queen Anne. The Highline Club joined the SJSA the following year. By 1971, the SJSA had grown to over 100 teams and a number of coaching clinics and refereeing schools were established through out the city.
In West Seattle, to better learn the game, there were a number of men’s teams formed for beginners and also about this time the women were starting to play in a league. This brought about much better coaching and refereeing, and started the girl’s teams to get underway.
Our Junior players in West Seattle continued to develop into quality players, and in 1971 the WS Century Hammers coached by Denzil Miskell and Steve McArdle won the Washington State U15 Championship. By this time Alain Smith and goalkeeper Bill Scott were playing in the men’s league at 16 years old. Bill Scott went on to become the goalkeeper for the University of Washington, and Alain Smith went to play for the Chico State University team and then to the Seattle Sounders and the San Antonio Thunder in the North American Soccer League (NASL). Jimmy McCallister signed with the Seattle Sounders as a 17 year old and had a good career for a number of years in the NASL.
In addition to the original five board members in 1969, a number of people gave a lot of their time in these early years to expand the WSJSA and lay the groundwork for what has now become the very successful West Seattle Soccer Club today.
Rock On West Seattle!
We gave our "Van Halen" logo the 3-D look in 2008.
After months of work by Washington Youth Soccer staff and volunteers, we are excited to present The History Book – a comprehensive history of youth soccer in Washington State. Even before the Washington Junior Soccer Association was established in 1966, youth soccer took root in communities across the state and it was through the diligence of volunteers that an idea for a statewide soccer association became a reality that continues to evolve, more than 45 years later.
Jamie Foulk (Current)
Joe Smith (Founder)