Sounders Insider

NW soccer legends return to pitch Oct. 25 in Tacoma

Alan Hinton (left) and Jimmy Gabriel (right) will serve as coaches

Tacoma, WA. – On Friday, October 25th, the Tacoma Soccer Center will host the 2nd Annual, “Northwest Soccer Legends Night,” for fans to retrigger fond memories of the top talent that graced the pitch in the Puget Sound. The night’s feature event will be an indoor match at 7:30pm, where two teams made up of past pros, will compete against each other. The two sides will be captained and coached by men who are both local and international legends; Alan Hinton and Jimmy Gabriel.

With 39 years of professional playing experience in Europe and the United States, and a combined total of 1,116 first team appearances, Jimmy Gabriel and Alan Hinton had plenty to pass on to their pupils when they became managers. Both men are also familiar with northwest soccer from their time as coaches for the Sounders and other Puget Sound teams.

For Hinton and Gabriel, who laid the groundwork for the current Sounders, reuniting the group of NW Legends is a satisfying occasion.

“It makes me very proud that they’re all doing well,” Alan Hinton said. “Years and years, sometimes, after they’ve all done a good job in soccer with the Sounders or the Tacoma Stars and seeing them all grown up now with families is a really good feeling for me, and I know it is for them.”In addition to coaching the Sounders, Jimmy Gabriel also represented Seattle from the field, as he played 53 games for the Sounders from 1974-79.

With current Sounders FC matches filling the Century Link Field stands with over 67,000 fans, Jimmy Gabriel was at the center of the pitch nearly 40 years ago, at the beginning, “The crowds were always brilliant. When we first started in ‘74, they thought it was going to be 2,000 fans at the game, but it was 12,000 at Memorial Stadium. They were cheering and shouting and it was unbelievable.”

Players from the 1st Annual NW Legends Match pose for the camera (SoundersPhotos.com)

Hinton remembered his first year as Sounders manager in 1980, “I think my first year we were 25-7 and we averaged about 25,000 fans a game with about five people in the front office with no internet… it was a spectacular year.”

The former left winger, Hinton added, “The big deal about soccer here is that many, many players from my and Jimmy Gabriel’s days stayed here and built a nice life, but they’ve given back to the game very well.”

Fans on hand for the Friday night event can expect to see former Seattle Sounders stars from the NASL, USL, and MLS. There will also be talents from the indoor game featured by the Tacoma Stars, Seattle Seadogs and others.

Gates will open for the event at 6:00 pm on October 25th and tickets are $10 for all ages. Kickoff for the Legends Match will be 7:30pm. Tickets will be sold at the Tacoma Soccer Center entrance on game-day, and will be available online soon at SoundersU23.com. Food and beverages are available for sale inside the facility, including the Far Post Sports Bar, overlooking the field.

Fans can get their favorite players’ to sign autographs after the match. Players will stay after the game for a social event at the Tacoma Soccer Center. Fans are encouraged to hang out and reminisce with the Legends about the glory days. Also, immediately following the Legends Match will be an exhibition game featuring the South Sound Shock. One ticket gets you admission to the entire night of festivities.

The Tacoma Soccer Center is located on 2610 Bay Street, Tacoma, WA 918421. The indoor arena is located just off I-5 exit 135 toward Portland Avenue. Fans are encouraged to arrive early, and carpool, as parking is limited.

The Legends:

HONORARY COACHESJimmy Gabriel  (Pro Player 1957 – 1979, Coach 1977-2005)Alan Hinton  (Pro Player 1961 – 1978, Coach 1979 – 1994)

PLAYERSTo be named…

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