Mike Ryan is one of the founding fathers of soccer in Seattle. The Irish immigrant came to the area in the 1960s and has worked ever since to help the sport grow.
With his help, pick-up soccer at Woodland Park has turned to Sounders FC mania.
I had the privilege of writing this story about the coach a couple years ago.
Now Ryan wants to celebrate with his old soccer buddies. The former coach at UW and the U.S. women’s national team is having a birthday bash to celebrate turning 75 years old.
And he wants to party with the local soccer community.
“That is the biggest reason I wanted to do it,” said Ryan. “The Garden of Eden for soccer, the Mecca on Sunday for us was Woodland Park. You could go down there and there would be four to five rows deep of people around the field watching the games. The Germans would be playing the British, or the Italians. It was an ethnic league back then and then we’d have a picnic afterward. We would raise funds by having dances. There was a huge social part of it.”
And now Ryan wants to continue that on.
Check out the details after the jump.
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Who’s invited: Everyone! Especially those that played with and against Ryan in at Woodland Park.
When: Valentine’s Day. Sunday night, February 14, 5 p.m.
Where: Noble Court Restaurant, 1644 140th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA 98005.
What’s going on: Live music and entertainment. There will be fresh flowers, catered food and an ice sculpture. Live music by Blues Orbiters. And, of course, dancing, which has been a lifelong passion of Ryan’s (“I’m going to go out kicking, as I came”).
How you can help: SPREAD THE WORD!
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Ryan’s daughter, Siobhan Ryan is helping organize the event.
“The main focus and goal of the evening is not only to celebrate dad’s birthday, but a celebration for the folks that have played with him, coached with him and learned from him,” she said.
“We’ve always wanted dad to let us throw him a party, and this year he changed his thoughts. It was his idea to make it more of a soccer reunion, an opportunity to bring everyone together at once, to come together and tell stories.”
Lastly, from coach Ryan: “Don’t bring gifts, just your memories.”
If you need any more information, you can contact Siobhan Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org