As part of the 50th Anniversary of Washington Youth Soccer, we want to know who the best men, women, and soccer citizens have been over the first 50 years of WA Youth Soccer. In a soccer-rich community like Washington, the Top 50 players could be hotly debated...
If there’s an inherent trait among the Evergreen State’s most accomplished players over the past few decades, it’s an earnest work ethic and understanding that talent alone does not make the difference.
So says Alan Hinton, the Englishman who is most known for his tenure with the Sounders and Tacoma Stars, but who also spent several seasons teaching the game to local youth. He was Crossfire Premier’s first coaching director and seven of his teams won state championships through 2002.
“The players around this area have developed a real character legacy over the years,” said Hinton. “They play year-round in rain and sun and the occasional snow; they play on different surfaces and against good opposition. What they’ve come to learn is that it’s not easy to succeed, and you have to scrap for everything you get. It’s a very real legacy they’ve built here.”
More than half of Hinton’s selections for Washington Youth Soccer’s top 18 from the last half-century were his players at one time or another. He gave a 19-year-old Mark Peterson a start on the Sounders’ opening night in 1980, and Peterson went on to become a legend in his own right.
When Hinton re-started the Sounders in 1994, he did so with almost entirely natural resources; his roster was virtually a Who’s Who of Washington Youth Soccer alumni. Seattle finished with the league’s best record in 1994 and won the A-League in 1995.
“That was truly a remarkable credit to this area and to the fact that so many real talented players come from here, and I was very familiar with all of them, having coached them or watched them from youth to college.”
Hinton's Top 18 – Made in Washington