Thousands of readers at goalWA.net have cast their votes and we can now post the results that make up the Top Ten Soccer Stories in Washington for the year 2016!
Sounders lose Martins, then Dempsey for 2016 season
The Sounders got a double jolt this year when Obafemi Martins left for China and then later when Clint Dempsey was pulled from the pitch due to heart concerns. Readers recognized the giant obstacles by voting these co-events as the number 10 soccer story of 2016 in the state of Washington.
Vancouver Victory win 1st EPLWA trophy
The third year of the upstart Evergreen Premier League delivered a champion on the west side of the state for the first time. Vancouver Washington’s Victory bolted out to a fast start and never looked back, finishing top of the table and ending Spokane Shadow’s 2-year run as EPLWA Champions. Readers appreciated the young league’s new moment and voted it number 9 for the year.
Bellingham United wins 1st major with WISL trophy
It might surprise some to find out that the hotbed of soccer club support outside of Seattle – is Bellingham. The Hammers of Bellingham United FC have had a faithful following dating back to 2012 and their debut in the Pacific Coast Soccer League. In 2016 those supporters were rewarded when the Hammers took the Western Indoor Soccer League (WISL) trophy. Readers acknowledged the BUFC breakthrough, voting the moment as #8 for the year.
Washington Youth Soccer plans to leave US Youth Soccer
A developing story that has repercussions far beyond this year jumped in this December as the #7 story of the year. It began with US Youth Soccer sending out an email saying that Washington Youth Soccer would be considered “out” of the national circuit by this January. It has all been unraveling since then. Readers have more questions than answers, but recognized the weight of these developments.
Hope Solo reaches 100 shutouts, is released by US Soccer
She’s an icon. A trailblazer. A controversial sports figure. But she’s also our girl from Richland Washington, and goalWA.net readers continue to be interested in Hope Solo. In a crazy year the former (?) USA goalkeeper reached 100 career national team shutouts, was heckled in the Olympics, made controversial comments about an opponent, and was eventually released by US Soccer. Her fans at Seattle Reign FC rallied behind her.
Sounders sign Nicolas Lodeiro
The Sounders dominate the top 5 for 2016 and for good reason. The club made constant headlines from July until the Championship March and Rally in December. Did it all begin when Seattle signed Nicolas Lodeiro? Fans voted the addition of the talented midfielder as the #5 soccer story in Washington for 2016.
Jordan Morris is MLS Rookie of Year
Washington loves Jordan Morris. He’s the local kid (Mercer Island) who signed with the local club, who scored to get them into MLS Cup, and who was awarded 2016 Major League Soccer Rookie of the Year. No wonder readers voted the moment so high on the list. There is simply nothing not to love about the Jordan Morris story as it unfolded this year.
Sigi Schmid out / Brian Schmetzer in at Sounders
In a year that became all about locals stepping in and stepping up, none was bigger than Brian Schmetzer replacing Sigi Schmid as head coach at Sounders FC. Schmetzer was an instant hit. Then over the long haul of the second half of the MLS season he made move after move that worked on the pitch as Seattle took it all the way. He’s one of us, a guy from Seattle that grew up here, played here, has coached here. Readers knew the moment he took over was worthy of a top 3 place for 2016.
Western Washington Women win NCAA 2 Title
Knocking on the door is way different from breaking it down. In 2016 readers recognized the way the Western Washington University Viking Women kicked in the door to a NCAA 2 National Championship. Bellingham is becoming a ‘soccer town,’ and it went blue for the Vikings to honor their big moment. What a banner season for Western, which also got Player of the Year and Coaching Staff of the Year honors as well.
Sounders FC win MLS Cup
The runaway winner of voting for the top stories of 2016 in Washington soccer was of course Seattle Sounders FC’s Major League Soccer Cup triumph. goalWA.net readers know when a story becomes so big that it filters through our soccer world and beyond. How about a grand march and rally? How about all 4 local news channels carrying the parade LIVE? How about Stefan Frei’s save? How about a club that just would not quit? It’s a story we will tell our children down through the years, and certainly is the top story in Washington soccer for 2016.