Cookie Consent by Free Privacy Policy Generator Skip to content

Ship’s Log, June 15: Circling the Legends

It’s time to start building the Circle of Legends.

Last Updated
7 min read

Finally the Seattle Sounders will have a place of honor at Lumen Field and in our hearts. The Eternal Sounders Circle of Legends opens Saturday.

First raised in honor are the squad from 1974, as is fitting.

When the committee considers the nominees for the next honorees they can look at the Seahawks Ring of Honor (2 builders, 2 coaches, 11 players), the Mariners Hall of Fame (1 builder, 1 coach, 9 players), the Sonics retired numbers (1 builder, 2 coaches, 5 players with more to come whenever we get that team back) and the Storm (2 players).

This type of honor is narrow, with only the most special members of an organization's history being elevated to these heights.


  • MLS Players - must have three of the following benchmarks
    • 100 games
    • Two major trophies
    • League or team issued personal award
    • Senior national team representation in major tournaments

That list is actually fairly long.

  • Veteran players (pre MLS) - must have two of the following
    • 50 appearances
    • One major trophy
    • One individual award
    • Capped by their international federation at the senior level

Again a substantial list.

  • Coaches
    • 150 matches
    • Two major trophies

This list is not large. In the USL era there are only two (Hinton and Schmetzer). The NASL selections for coaches are more difficult because it is hard to call the trophies earned then major. Also, none of the NASL coaches hit 150 matches, and so would need four major trophies. In the MLS era it's both Sigi and Brian who qualify.

  • Builders
    • "Minimum contribution of 10 years of service to the greater Seattle soccer community"

That list is enormous.

But there are a couple people who stand out from the rest. You'll learn more of their names over the years of this process.

One should be recognized straight away.

Here are a few names I think should eventually get in:

Frank MacDonald

MLS Sounders fans probably know Frank now as the man who is part of the Washington Legends of Soccer historical organization. Those very in-tune with the workings of the club will remember MacDonald as the first head of communications. He also worked in comms for the NASL Seattle Sounders.

I'm not here to tell you about Frank's full history in a biographical sense.

He certainly meets the criteria put forward by the club.

He's also done more than simply meet the criteria. Way back in 2009, when blogging was considered basement work by passionate fans, the authors banned from press boxes Frank reached out to all of us (there were about a dozen at the time) and invited us to practices and to games to sit in the press box.

If the mainstream media was going to ignore the sport of soccer then the bloggers would be the way fans connect. Except the mainstream didn't ignore the Sounders. Radio, TV, newspapers (remember those!?) all showed up to practices regularly to cover the team that was taking the town by storm.

MacDonald helped give Sounder at Heart a lift and without him I'm certain this website doesn't last 16 years (we're two months from that mark).

When multiple books were written about the greatest expansion team of all time their point-person in the org was Frank MacDonald.

When we needed a glimpse of history from the NASL or A-League or USL eras? It was Frank who gave us that image, sometimes writing for us. When we needed a bright light shown on the FC Seattle/Storm era it was only MacDonald who could do so.

He's often been hidden from public view, even less visible than other short listers for the builder role such as Gary Wright or Pat Robertson. Certainly less visible than the coaches who will be honored in the future, nor the players who have made the Seattle Sounders the greatest MLS team in their era, nor those great players who gave Seattle its first glimpse of national professional soccer

But the contributions to the game of soccer in Seattle cannot be understated. Frank belongs in the Circle and early at that. Because without Frank MacDonald the generations of Sounders soccer stories in this region never get told.

Leighton O’Brien

Many in the area know Leighton as one of the leaders in the youth soccer community. His time with Pac NW has helped the South King County youth club grow and produce several future pros across a few leagues.

But, prior to the MLS era O'Brien was a one of the best USL players. Yes, he had cups of coffee with San Jose Clash and Real Salt Lake. He had time with other less significant teams, but the glory was with the Seattle Sounders.

Back in 2022 he won the league MVP, led the league in assists, and the squad won the Pacific. Like many in the Schmetzer-era of second-division Sounders he came to shine in 2005-07 winning the league twice, the Commissioner's Cup once and the Cascadia Cup twice.

Other's had better stats in that era – Roger Levesque, Cam Weaver, Seb Le Toux. Leighton commanded that midfield. The stat that indicates such is the 10 yellows in 2005. The memory of O'Brien roaming then CenturyLink Field and Starfire was of a former 10 who shifted to that 6/8 who refused to allow opposing attacks into his zone.

Leighton belongs in that Circle.

Peter Hattrup

The USL era had four of them (Leighton, Mark Baena, Le Toux and Peter Hattrup).

As Leighton defined the continuing success of the Hanauer-Schmetzer era of USL Sounders, Hattrup defined the 94-01 stretch of the club. Peter was the leader on the first US pro club to make the Concacaf Champions League.

That '94 squad took the regular season title. Then in '95 when Hattrup won the MVP the team took the league title.

A couple MLS teams came looking. He came back in '97 and the team took second in the conference back-to-back. Peter also scored the first pro goal for a Sounder against Necaxa in international competition during the 96 CCL (played in '97). He wasn't part of the team that crushed Transvaal 10-nil.

At Memorial Stadium as the Seattle Sounders kept the love of soccer alive, Peter was the dashing forward who changed games via his goals. Other players spent more time with "bigger" teams (Hahnemann for example). Peter's place was Seattle and with his team of choice we were all better for it.

No player defined that era more.

Sigi Schmid

Do I really need to build the case for the man who has the MLS Coach of the Year trophy named after him?

The man who reinvented how good expansion teams can be?

Four-time US Open Cup winner.

Wins and goals and demeanor that demanded respect.

Schmid is a US Hall of Famer. Unlike the others, he didn't make Seattle home. His home was always in LA. Kind of fitting when you think of Seattle's long connections to California.

His heart was here though.

Sigi loved watching us grow into what we are. He was an immense part of our growth. That's true for other cities too – LA and Columbus.

But here he is where he showed America that the Seattle Sounders are eternal, forever and always competitive.

Sigi collected trophies like 80s kids collected Transformers. He watched the crowd respond to Sounders v. Timbers and called it heaven.

It's a shame we didn't have the Circle when Sigi was with us. But we have it now and if he isn't one of the next couple people elevated that committee isn't worthy of their job.

This Circle of Legends is another chance for us to embrace a history that MLS wanted us to ignore, that other cities routinely drop as astrix, to be us. In a season that's gone sideways the thing the Seattle Sounders will get right is this – our legacy.

Purchasing the new jersey or planning to get MLS Season Pass? Use our affiliate links to support your bloggers.

Catching up on Sounder at Heart

Here's what you need to get ready for the weekend's action.


Next match: Saturday night hosting Minnesota United at 7:30 pm PDT on MLS Season Pass. This is the 50th anniversary celebration.

Previewing the match

Other stories


Next match: Sunday afternoon hosting Portland Thorns at 1 pm PDT on CBS and Paramount+. This is their Juneteenth celebration.


Off this weekend


Off this weekend

Spokane lost to Union Omaha 4-1 in USL Cup play.

USL2 teams

Friday: Ballard FC is at Lane United; Midlakes United host West Seattle Junction

Sunday: West Seattle Junction hosts Tacoma Stars; Ballard FC is at Capital FC Atletico

Looking back at the news

Everything else you need to know

Remembering Om Arvind . Our friends at American Soccer Analysis look back at the life of our friend Om.

Soccer – and life – through the eyes of the U.S. deaf women's national team

The NWSL seems likely to expand to the Midwest and/or the South based on the intel gathered by the Sports Business Journal.

Chicago Red Stars have to find a new stadium for a home match because of Riot Fest.

It's Barbra Banda's league, just ask the Defector (they aren't wrong).

The USL Championship will have up to 21 games on Univision's stations. The USL Super League will be on Peacock.

The NASL's lawsuit against MLS and USSF is moving to trial.

NYCFC's to-be-built 25,000 seat stadium includes the requirement that a second pro team play there and the option to sell marijuana.

In The Athletic's review of MLS watchability, the Seattle Sounders do not come in as the least watchable. What's best for a non-Sounders fan watching the Sounders? The fanbase and the uniforms.

fullpullwines This newsletter was made possible through the support of Full Pull Wines, a boutique wines reseller that has been sponsoring us since 2011. You can join their mailing list here.