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A Testament to Mr. Sounder

Puget Sound charitable soccer matches go back more than 100 years, but the Zach Scott Testimonial may be the best yet.

Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Of all the salutary-type matches chronicled in Seattle's colorful soccer annals, the March 1 Zach Scott Testimonial will check all the boxes.

Here you have a sweat-drenched, workmanlike player who wrung every ounce out of his career, who is devoted to his adopted community and who serves as an inspiration to every kid who wonders whether there's a place in the pro game for a bulldog bent on out-working all comers to earn that roster spot, again and again and again.

Zacharias Scott may have a garden-variety bobblehead, but his name will long be synonymous around these parts with an inimitable work ethic and unceasing sacrifice to realize a dream. And once he realized it, he clamped down on it with jaws of steel.

Unsurpassed Commitment

Beyond Scott the man lies this testimonial's mission, to raise funds for three worthy causes: pediatric brain tumor research, the RAVE Foundation and college education for the Scott kids. After all, Mr. Sounder's salary more closely resembled an allowance for most of his 15 seasons.

Imagine, 15 seasons, all while largely playing for the love of the game. No other Sounder has logged more than 10* seasons here. Scott's 353 appearances for both the A-League/USL and MLS clubs is beyond reach for at least the next year or so.

Never mind soccer, in our city's pro sports history, only the Mariners' Edgar Martinez lasted longer (18 seasons) and after so doing finished with a far fatter wallet. But Scott knew the numbers; he's not complaining.

But First, Some History

This is not the first match feting a Seattle soccer personality, or a Sounder, for that matter.

Since the early 20th Century there has been no dearth of goodwill matches, fundraisers for everything from war bonds to tuberculosis clinics. In truth, some have been rather solemn occasions.

Back in the days when boots were leather and protruding nails were cleats, the carnage in the state's first division could result in broken limbs and lost jobs due to injury. There was no health insurance nor financial safety net, so fellow players took up collections and held special matches to raise funds for the families.

It's not all ancient history, either. As recently as 1996, the local soccer community staged a fundraiser in the wake of onetime Sounders winger Paul Crossley's untimely passing. Hundreds gathered at Bothell's Pop Keeney Stadium to see a collection of Sounders and SeaDogs kick it around for a good cause.

Thankfully, some charity matches, such as Steve Zakuani's, provide an upbeat vibe. Our history is not just a supportive community in terms of attendance but of also giving generously.

Thankfully, the Zach Scott Testimonial calls for Scott to participate -€” nay, more than that; to get stuck-in! After all, the best testimonials are not just those with big crowds, but where the guest of honor is alive... and kicking.

Note: Neil Megson played a combined 16 seasons for the outdoor Sounders (NASL/A-League) and indoor Tacoma Stars (MISL).