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...
Scott Newman’s been coaching for nearly 30 years, and early on, when he was first working with Washington ODP selections, he met Dori Kovanen. Soon Newman understood he was in the shadow of greatness.
“Back then people talked about her a lot, about her big history of success,” recalled Newman. “That resonated with me, how she went from (Tacoma) to be a part of the first 3-4 national championships that North Carolina won. She was a huge impact player (All-America at UNC) in those days.”
It’s no surprise then, that Kovanen is among Newman’s top 18 female players for Washington Youth Soccer’s first 50 years. A Seattle native, Newman has been coaching club, ODP and college players for 27 years. He’s currently technical director for Greater Seattle Surf SC and goalkeeper coach for Seattle University.
Another, albeit more high-profile, standout was in Newman’s midst, in 2005-06. A young Sydney Leroux had moved down from Surrey, B.C. and was playing for Eastside FC.
“We put her on the state ODP team right away,” said Newman. “She played up (Leroux was age 15) on that 1988 (U17) team. We’d competed against her when she was with the B.C. provincial teams, and we already knew how talented she was.”
With a wealth of U.S. National Team and All-America players hailing from inside Washington’s borders, some very good players were left off Newman’s final list.
“Eighteen is not easy. Like picking a team from tryouts, usually the top 10 jump off the field at you,” explained Newman. “The next tier is a lot of very solid players, but how do you pick this one over that one? I probably started with 30 who were all very deserving of being in the top 18.”
Newman's Top 18 – Made in Washington