50th Anniversary

Born in 74 Sounders Legends: Pepe and Eddie Fernandez's shared love for Seattle soccer

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As part of the club’s season-long 50th Anniversary celebration, Sounders FC will honor former players and father and son duo. Pepe and Eddie Fernandez ahead of Sunday afternoon’s Youth Day match against the LA Galaxy.

Pepe and Eddie’s journey with the Sounders is one that spans generations, reflecting the club’s deeply rooted ties to the community.

A member of the inaugural team back in 1974, Pepe was a fan favorite for his magnetic personality and love for the community as the Sounders burst onto the scene in the North American Soccer League.

“He fell in love with the city right away, and the fans embraced him and the team,” Eddie said of his father. “The atmosphere at Memorial Stadium is always something that he speaks about. And he talks about how special that was, that connection that they had with the fans then.”

Despite suffering a significant injury early in the 1974 season, Pepe was part of some of the most iconic moments in club history during his five years with the Sounders across two stints.

Pepe played in the club’s first-ever match on May 4, 1974, was a starter in the inaugural home match, and he played in the first professional sporting event at the Kingdome as he squared off against Pele and the New York Cosmos. When he returned to the team for his second stint, he was a part of the squad that reached the NASL Soccer Bowl in 1982.

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While Pepe looks back fondly on his successful soccer career, it’s his connection to the city of Seattle and the fans that he continues to hold dearly.

“He'll tell you his best memories obviously are on the field and playing with his teammates was special, but honestly, he always enjoyed being around the fans and going to schools,” said Eddie. “He was always a part of the fanbase and wanting to get out there and be with people.”

Originally from Uruguay, Pepe decided to make Everett his home and raise his family there following his retirement from professional soccer. But even though he was done playing, he continued to grow the game. In 1984, he opened Everett Soccer Dome with Walter Schmetzer, the father of Head Coach Brian Schmetzer, creating a venue for soccer enthusiasts of all ages to play the beautiful game.

“That's how he's kind of kept himself within the community, within the soccer community and just helped build the love of the game in that regard,” said Eddie.

20 years after his father made his debut with the inaugural Sounders team, Eddie was able to follow in his footsteps, signing a contract with his hometown club in 1994. It was a surreal moment made possible by the father and son’s shared passion for the sport and the community.

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“I had pictures of myself at Memorial Stadium when I was three years old, in 1974, watching, being a Sounders fan,” said Eddie. “To wear the crest and put the uniform on, some 20 years later, as the Sounders started in the A-league again, and to be a part of that was special knowing that my dad had played for that organization.”

Pepe, who turns 81 in July, continues to hold a deep affinity for the fans and the region. It’s a relationship that spans five decades and multiple generations, but the passion is still the same.

“He’ll be the first to tell you how special it is,” noted Eddie. “He still enjoys going to the games and he gets approached when he goes to games. He had a lady come up and share that he had given her [a carnation] at one of the first games.”

Pepe and Eddie will be available for a meet and greet with Sounders fans in Olympic Hall at Lumen Field on Sunday starting at 2:30 p.m. PT. They will be honored as the Born in 74 Sounders Legends during the pre-match ceremonies ahead of kickoff.

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