Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
OBITUARY: Mike Ryan (1935-2012)
by Paul Kennedy, November 25th, 2012 11:11PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

TAGS:  college men, obituary, seattle sounders, women's national team


Seattle, where the Sounders set an MLS attendance record with an average of 43,144 fans in 2012 and a new team will play in U.S. Soccer's women's league, owes a great debt to Mike Ryan, who passed away at the age of 77 in Seattle on Tuesday morning, the day before the new league was announced. Ryan was one of Seattle's original soccer pioneers and the first coach of the U.S. women's national team.

Ryan was born in Dublin, Ireland, and was in his 20s when he moved to Seattle, where he worked as a metallurgist in a foundry.

He had already taken up coaching when he moved to Seattle in 1962. He took over the then-infant men's program at the University of Washington in 1966 and coached it for the next 11 seasons. He was the first president of Washington Youth Soccer. Long after leaving the Huskies, Ryan remained involved in coaching, most recently as the girls coach at Nathan Hall High School.

Ryan was coaching a regional team in the women's soccer competition at the 1985 Olympic Sports Festival in Baton Rouge, La., when he was asked to take a women's national team to Italy. He had already taken two weeks off work and had to call his boss to tell him he'd be away for two more weeks. It was a last-minute trip, to say the least.

Aldo Sciarrino
, who was the Lamborghini representative in the USA, had invited the Americans to Italy for a tournament on behalf of the Italian soccer federation. U.S. Soccer didn't have any extras in its budget -- it was broke at the time -- but some costs were shifted around. Alitalia chipped in some of the airfare, and Chuck Blazer, who headed the U.S. national teams committee at the time and remains on the FIFA executive committee after his departure from Concacaf, and Sciarrino came up with some money to cover the rest of the expenses for the trip to Jesolo.

Uniforms -- men's uniforms -- were found for the women to play in, and they spent the night before the flight to Italy sewing "USA" on their shorts.

The Sounders honored Ryan with an honorary Golden Scarf in 2009.

"If Washington state is the Autobahn of soccer, without Mike Ryan it would still be a dusty, country road," former Seattle Pacific coach Cliff McCrath told the Seattle Times.

  1. Cathie Currie, ph.d.
    commented on: November 26, 2012 at 12:30 a.m.
    I am very sad to hear that Mike Ryan has passed on. Mike was an exemplar coach for our US women's soccer program. Initially, the USSF executive committee was greatly concerned over the incursion of women onto their soccer turf, but not Mike. He leaped wholeheartedly into the women's game with commitment, expertise, and rousing support. He guided our efforts, was always ready to talk and encourage us. Mike told us to just keep playing our hearts out, that the USSF would soon catch our spirit. Mike's open and over-30's Seattle teams swept our first national championship -- his players lead with fine skills and strategy. We saw the awesome future of women's soccer in their play. Mike's authoritative coaching, and his belief in us fostered our entry into the beautiful game. Thank you Mike Ryan!
  1. tim self
    commented on: November 26, 2012 at 5:25 p.m.
    This man forgot more about soccer than I will ever know. Mike it was a pleasure to work with you. Gone but not forgotten, RIP

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now



Recent Soccer America Daily
What They're Saying: Jake Edwards    
"It'll evolve slightly for some of those teams over the coming seasons, I believe. We'll find ...
MLS Decision Day: What's at stake    
The 2016 Supporters' Shield and the final two playoff berths are on the line on Sunday ...
MLS Countdown: Donovan, Gordon are Galaxy wild cards    
Last weekend Landon Donovan started his first game since coming out of retirement yet it was ...
This week in women's college soccer    
Stanford junior Andi Sullivan and BYU senior Ashley Hatch made their national team debuts with the ...
This week in men's college soccer    
One of the most impressive streaks in recent years in men's college soccer is Denver's 32-game ...
What They're Saying: Sigi Schmid    
"I would love to do that, but there's still this thing, stigma, lack of respect or ...
CCL: FC Dallas rallies to clinch group title    
Needing at least a tie to advance, FC Dallas rallied from 2-0 down after 22 minutes ...
USL Final: Red Bulls II favored, but Rangers are ready    
The USL season concludes Sunday at Red Bull Arena, where the home team, New York Red ...
CCL: Seedings give MLS chance of two teams in semis    
Concacaf pairs the teams for the quarterfinals of the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League by seeding them ...
U.S. U-18 women lose to England, beat France     
The U.S. U-18 women's national team, coached by April Heinrichs, opened the 2016 Women's International Cup ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives