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40-year-old cancelled check is reminder of Bruce Arena’s ties to Puget Sound

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Arena played his only professional season for the Tacoma Tides.

By now, there’s no doubt as to the rich soccer history in the Puget Sound. But with today’s news that Bruce Arena has been named the United States men’s national team coach for a second time, it’s a good reminder that our region gave him his only chance to play professional soccer.

It was in 1976 that Arena played for the Tacoma Tides in the American Soccer League. Although there aren’t many playing records from those days, this cancelled check serves as proof that it really happened.

Arena had actually been drafted by the NASL’s New York Cosmos, but was cut before the 1975 season. He then spent a year playing professional lacrosse before being convinced to join the Tides. As it were, that’s also how he picked up his first coaching experience as he moonlighted with the University of Puget Sound.

The rest, as they say, is history.