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...
While the downside to picking fantasy teams is only having so much space, the upside of a mythical Best of Washington Youth Soccer team from the first 50 years is knowing they could more than hold their own.
“We’d win a lot of games,” said Brian Schmetzer of his dream team. “There’s a plethora of centerbacks; we’d have a really good defense. Midfield would be great and although it’s always hard to create stuff and score, Mark (Peterson) was good 10-15 goals in the NASL and Chance (Fry) scored a pile. We’d have a team that could compete in the U.S. today.”
A homegrown product of the state, Schmetzer followed in the footsteps of some greats, served alongside others during his 15-year career and has coached many of the best while progressing from Emerald City to the USL Sounders and now first assistant for Sounders FC.
Among his picks is Leighton O’Brien, talisman for Schmetzer’s two championship teams. He also chose his former Lake City Hawks and Sounders teammate Fred Hamel and his onetime Emerald City star pupil George John. “Fred is probably the least well known,” he noted. “He was a better midfielder than I was when we were playing. George was a really, really good centerback (in MLS), but injuries cut his career short.”
“Perseverance, timing and luck really play into a career,” Schmetzer added. “Guys like Pete (Hattrup), George or Fred never had the chance to truly fulfill their career at the highest level.”
Nowadays Schmetzer swells with pride as Washington continues to contribute some of the finest young talent to MLS and the national team. He begins reciting names such as Morris, Rowe, Neagle and Yedlin.
“The Now Generation; that cements Washington’s standing,” affirmed Schmetzer. “They carry the torch for all of us.”
Howe's Top 18 – Made in Washington