Sounders honor their first coach Best

John Best was the first head coach of the Sounders in the NASL and last week was awarded the Golden Scarf before the match against Vancouver.

The Golden Scarf ceremony has been a great opportunity for the Sounders FC to recognize the longstanding success of soccer in Seattle.

Among those from the North American Soccer League’s Seattle Sounders who have received the pre-match honor have been Jimmy Gabriel, Jimmy McAlister, Alan Hinton, Jeff Stock, Mark Peterson and Roger Davies. That is in addition to others like Pete Fewing, Cliff McCrath and Doug Andreasson who have made a limitless impact on soccer in the Seattle area.

Last week before the Sounders topped the Vancouver Whitecaps FC 3-2, the club recognized a true original, honoring the NASL era’s first head coach, John Best.

It was also an opportunity to involve the visiting team in the scarfing ceremony for the first time, as Vancouver GM Bob Lenarduzzi joined Sounders FC owner/GM Adrian Hanauer in presenting the Golden Scarf.

Best came to America from his native England at the age of 22 in 1962, playing in various leagues before landing with the Dallas Tornado in the NASL in 1969. There, he was a five-time All-Star and won the NASL title in 1971. Upon his retirement, he was quickly scooped up by the Sounders as the club’s first coach.

On May 12, 1974, he coached the Sounders to a 4-0 victory over the Denver Dynamos in the club’s first home match at Memorial Stadium. After the Sounders made the playoffs in their second season, Best moved north to become the general manager of the Vancouver Whitecaps in 1977, eventually winning the 1979 NASL Championship. Best returned to the Sounders as general manager in 1982, helping Seattle reach the championship game, falling to the New York Cosmos. The founder of Tacoma Indoor Soccer, Inc., which became the ownership group of the Tacoma Stars of the Major Indoor Soccer League, Best is a member of the Tacoma-Pierce County Sports Hall of Fame.

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