UPDATE: Here’s a good update from goalWA.net.
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.