Before Major League Soccer opens a third season with the Sounders Tuesday night at Qwest Field against the Los Angeles Galaxy, Sportspress Northwest’s Art Thiel caught up with the game’s local legend, Cliff McCrath, at the Sports Star of the Year event at Benaroya Hall.
A native of Detroit, McCrath coached for 37 years at Seattle Pacific University, where he won five NCAA Division II championships. He also helped recruit players to the original Sounders team in the North American Soccer League of the 1970s. A charismatic leader who went by “Uncle Nubs” (check out his left hand in the video), McCrath once paid off a bet on his team’s championship abilities by walking on his hands and knees from the SPU campus to the Space Needle.
After his controversial dismissal from SPU in 2007, McCrath, 74, has devoted his time to a national soccer officials organization as well as Soccer Saves, a nonprofit organization that uses soccer to bring life skills to improverished areas of Africa.