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

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

MOST COMMENTED

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.



2 comments
  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




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Klinsmann: 'We have a lot of attacking options'    
Clint Dempsey and Gyasi Zardes, the USA's top two contributors in 2016 with seven goals and ...
USL Rewind: Kickers, FC Cincinnati claim playoff spots    
Two more Eastern Conference teams nailed down postseason berths last weekend. A 1-0 defeat of Orlando ...
MLS Power Rankings: Eastern leaders swap spots    
The FIFA break follows a crazy-busy week in MLS, with 16 league matches - including several ...
MLS: Quakes fire GM John Doyle, San Jose original    
John Doyle, San Jose Earthquakes general manager since the club returned to MLS in 2008, has ...
What They're Saying: Jurgen Klopp    
"I know nearly all the clubs, but I had no idea where they are. So if ...
NASL Rewind: Cosmos make a statement    
Defending champion New York Cosmos returned to first place with a 6-1 win over the Carolina ...
USMNT: Kljestan in, Brooks out    
Sacha Kljestan, who has not played for the USA since before the 2014 World Cup, was ...
What They're Saying: Mike Morris    
"That isn't the way we look at it, anyway. If any of that happens, great. But ...
Video Pick: D.C. United carves up Chicago D    
The eight nominees for Week 25 MLS Goal of the Week include one of D.C. United's ...
What They're Saying: Jason Kreis    
"The importance of the win has nothing to do with the opponent,. It wasn't about me, ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives