Year In Stories: Off the Pitch
Posted by: Matt Gaschk
A look back at some of Matt Gaschk's favorite stories behind the Sounders FC in 2011.
In part two of my review of some of my favorite stories from 2011, I will look back at some of my stories about people from outside the Sounders FC.
First was a chance to talk with US National Team and DC United forward Charlie Davies about his return to the field and his respect for Seattle soccer fans, who paid tribute to him after he was injured in a car accident in 2010. Read the conversation in “Q&A: Charlie Davies” (5/3).
I remember seeing a spattering of “9” placards at RFK Stadium after Charlie Davies had his car accident in DC just before he was to suit up for the US National Team. That raised the hairs on my arms. To see the tribute repeated at an exponentially higher level at CenturyLink Field in the next Sounders FC home match brought a great amount of pride in the people that I write for – the fans. Davies was another that was incredibly giving of his time and was very open with his emotions in our conversation. I liked him before the interview and will keep tabs on him now, wherever he plays.
In July, Manchester United visited Seattle for a friendly match, and while the 7-0 result was something to forget, the experience as a whole was quite memorable. I had the chance to sit down with goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard and star midfielder Ryan Giggs to talk about the visit – an incredibly rare chance that I did not take for granted.
Lindegaard talked about the dream opportunity he was getting to play for Manchester United in “Living His Dream” (7/19).
He has since taken a back seat to David de Gea, but Lindegaard was beaming with excitement to represent United back in July. To see someone so excited to share that emotion with someone that he’d just met was a lot of fun.
Giggs, meanwhile, talked about what it has been like spending his career playing for the Red Devils in “A United Man” (7/18).
This seems self-explanatory … I mean, come on. This is Ryan Giggs we’re talking about here. He’s an icon and in our 15-minute conversation he never came off as such. When our time allotment was finished, he seemed like he would have sat there another hour if I still wanted to talk. To have that type of personality in one of the many star players is what makes Manchester United one of the most popular clubs in the world – in any sport.
Just prior to Seattle’s trip to Portland earlier in July, I talked with several people about the impact that former Timbers star Clive Charles had on soccer in the Northwest. It was quite rewarding to hear so many people say so many great things about the late University of Portland head coach and the resulting story can be read in “You’re On My Mind” (7/9).
I never met Clive Charles. However, I’d heard so many incredible stories from people who played for him throughout the years that I felt it necessary to pay tribute to him as best I could in the days leading up to that match in Portland. I feel like I know so much about him, but I also know I’ve barely scratched the surface of the story of a remarkable and beloved human being.
That story came just one day after we learned of the death of a Sounders legend in Mark Peterson (pictured). The Tacoma native and Wilson High School product turned pro at just 19 years old and scored the final goal of the Seattle-Portland rivalry in the NASL era. He was just 51 years old when he died on July 7. Read some kind words from Alan Hinton and Brian Schmetzer in “A Loss In The Family” (7/8).
This was particularly difficult to write. I had the unfortunate fate of breaking the news of Peterson’s death to a few of the people that I interviewed for the story and several more that I didn’t. That was among the hardest things I’ve had to do and I had to repeat the process with the later passing of Bobby Rhine. It’s a tough part of the job and one that I hope I never get used to.