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July 8, 2011 at 6:41 PM

Current, former Sounders stunned by Mark Peterson’s death

UPDATE: Here’s a good update from

The local soccer community was dealt some very sad news today. Former Sounders forward Mark Peterson, who starred with the old NASL teams from 1980-83, died Thursday night. Here’s our brief story which will be updated later tonight.

I’ve collected some reaction from people that knew Peterson. I wish I could’ve got in touch with more people, but I’m currently en route to Portland for the weekend’s game.

* * *

“It’s really too bad. He’s only 51, a young man. He was one of my original boys, you know? I remember a lot of things about Mark, and I don’t have to check the records because it’s still like yesterday in my mind. He was such an exciting player. The huge bonus of all was that he was a Tacoma boy. He started alongside the great Roger Davies and in 1980, our best season ever, I think he scored 14 goals. The first goal he scored was from a corner kick. I think it was taken by Tommy Hutchison and there was a flick-on at the near post. He got on the end of it and put it in the back of the net. Then he took off in the air He was so excited.”Alan Hinton, who coached Peterson from 1980-82.

“It’s such a shame. He was just 51 and that’s not long enough. … He was with the reserve team when I was coaching. When Alan came, Alan brought him into the first team almost straight away. It’s so sad to hear he’s passed away. … He loved to play the game and was very skilled, of course. He always listened to you whenever you asked him to do something, which was important for me since I was trying to get him to improve and into the first team.”Jimmy Gabriel, who coached the NASL Sounders in 1979 when Peterson was on the reserve team.

“It’s just a massive shock. … He was such a prolific goal-scorer. Anyone that can score a goal every two games is worth his weight in gold. If he was playing now he’d be making a fortune, and rightfully so, but he wasn’t one of those guys that you’d sit down next to and he’d go on about all the things he’s done. … It’s a shame that he couldn’t play now. With all the television coverage and people watching, the public would’ve been enamored by him. … He was also a fantastic dad and he was proudest most of his three kids.”Gary Heale, a former Stars teammate and close friend to Peterson.

“I am deeply saddened over the unfortunate loss of Mark Peterson. Mark was a very close friend of mine from the years we played together with the Sounders. Mark was a very talented goal-scorer and always a nice man. I have nothing but respect for him. He was too young to go at 51. This is a sad day.”Brian Schmetzer, Sounders FC assistant coach and former NASL teammate of Peterson’s, in a statement.


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