Every now and then, Terry Boss finds himself saying things that he used to hear all the time from Sounders FC Goalkeeper Coach Tom Dutra. After spending three years under his tutelage, it should come as no surprise that a lot of Dutra’s teachings have found their way into the way Boss coaches.
On Sunday, the two were on opposite benches when the Sounders FC reserves met Oregon State University at Starfire. It was like another trip home for Boss to look at the other side of the field and see Dutra, along with Sigi Schmid, Brian Schmetzer and Ezra Hendrickson, his coaching mentors with Sounders FC from 2009 until his retirement after the 2011 season.
“As I look back two years removed, I learned so much from that staff that I didn’t even realize that I was learning until I was coaching. Sigi is such a good tactician and Tommy does such a good job with goalkeeping and Schmetz is good all around,” said Boss, who is now the goalkeeper coach at Oregon State. “I feel like I was really prepared to move into a coaching role because they were so good at passing on information.”
In three seasons with Seattle, Boss made just one regular season appearance, coming on as a substitute for Kasey Keller when Keller was injured just before halftime in a match against FC Dallas. That had much more to do with the durability of Keller than the capabilities of Boss, though, and he showed his value in the U.S. Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League, boasting a 1.00 goals against average in those two competitions with three shutouts in eight matches.
The greatest highlight came on August 23, 2011, when he shut out Monterrey at Estadio Tecnologico to become just the second team in MLS history to record a victory over a Liga MX team in Mexico, as Sounders FC won 1-0 in the group stage of Champions League.
He now brings that experience to the coaching ranks at Oregon State under Head Coach Steve Simmons after two seasons working at his alma mater at the University of Tulsa.
“I just got a phone call from Coach Simmons, who I had worked with and done some camps with when I was in college. It was nice to reconnect with him and I jumped at the opportunity to come back to the Northwest,” said Boss, who was raised in Philomath, Ore., just outside of Corvallis. “Being an alum, going back to Tulsa was absolutely fantastic. But I grew up five minutes from the house I live in now and my brother retired and moved back, too, so it’s nice to have the whole family back home.”
Boss had his playing career cut short because of concussions and was just 30 years old when he had to hang up his gloves
While it was difficult for Boss to accept that his playing career had to come to an end, he was quick to jump into the next opportunity, which came at Tulsa.
“The doctors made a decision that I wouldn’t have been able to make on my own. Your head is pretty invaluable. I feel pretty lucky that I was able to move on with life the way I wanted to. It’s important to keep kids educated and parents educated and coaches educated,” Boss said. “Looking back, it was a blessing because it allowed me to move forward with two feet and embrace the next challenge.”
Dutra was sure Boss would be able to make the jump to the coaching ranks after spending three years working with him. Boss, he said, was a sponge at training, taking in each drill and gaining advice from Dutra and Keller.
“He was great for me and gave me everything he had when he was here and he does the same in his coaching,” Dutra said. “He was a student of the game and he was always trying to get better.”
It helps that he has approached coaching with the same enthusiasm that he approached playing – not always an easy prospect, particularly when retirement from playing comes so abruptly.
“I’ve been really excited about coaching. I love it. I was always worried about what I was going to be passionate about when I was done playing. After I’ve been coaching for two years, I love it just as much as I loved playing,” he said. “There are parts that you miss, but I love it.”