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Photo courtesy of UW Athletics

Seattle Sounders FC Senior Vice President of Soccer Operations and Sporting Director Craig Waibel was inducted into the Husky Hall of Fame at the University of Washington on Sunday, October 17.

A four-year member of the UW Men’s Soccer squad from 1994-1998, which included a two-year spell as the team captain, paved the way for a glittering career in Major League Soccer that saw Waibel collect four MLS Cup titles. Waibel returned to the Huskies program in 2012-13 to serve as an assistant coach after retiring from professional soccer.

Waibel joined the Sounders organization ahead of the 2021 MLS regular season.

Waibel became the first-ever UW Men’s Soccer player in program history to be inducted into the Husky Hall of Fame. Adding to the prestigious honor, Waibel’s class featured fellow Husky legends like basketball player Jon Brockman as well as Washington Football quarterbacks Marques Tuiasosopo and Jake Locker.

According to Waibel, his inclusion on this year’s class of inductees came as a bit of a shock.

“I was pretty caught off-guard,” Waibel told SoundersFC.com. “I kind of knew in the back of my head that we didn’t have anyone from the Men’s Soccer team in the Hall of Fame. It caught me by surprise for sure.”

A proud UW alum with ample roots in the local soccer scene, Waibel feels extremely honored to take part in such a tradition – especially as the first inductee from the Men’s Soccer program.

“It’s overwhelming, to be honest,” he said. “To represent such a wide array of successful people, both on and off the field, it is quite humbling to be the first. When you stack up people and achievements on the field and off the field, it’s an honor to be selected first.”

Waibel’s return to Seattle has afforded him a front row seat for a UW Men’s Soccer team in the midst of a historic season. A win over Gonzaga on Saturday saw the Huskies move into the No. 1 ranking in the NCAA as the only undefeated team in the country. The team now sits at 12-0 on the season.  

“It’s incredible just what they’ve done, the best start in program history,” said Waibel. “You look back over the years and there’s been some pretty darn good teams… What the staff has done there and what these players are doing, it’s just so unique. It’s hard to put it into words because what they’ve done has never been done before.”

As part of the ceremony, the University of Washington produced a video honoring his legacy in the program, including testimonials from select Huskies that witness his influence on Huskies Men’s Soccer. 

“Having my former coach, Dean Wurzberger, and Jamie [Clark] and Cristian [Roldan], that was emotional for me,” said Waibel. “For me, I’m a quietly emotional guy anyway. Just the sincerity of what those three said… being able to hear those audibly was really emotional.” 

You can learn more about the 2021 Class of the Husky Hall of Fame HERE.

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