John Best, the first head coach and an early general manager of the North American Soccer League’s Seattle Sounders, died Sunday in Ireland while visiting family. Best, 74, who was with the Sounders from 1974-76, had a lung infection. He had also battled kidney disease for more than two decades.
Best, a Liverpool, England, native, was a five-time NASL All-Star in Dallas before joining the expansion Sounders in 1974. During his coaching tenure, the Sounders played to near-capacity crowds at Memorial Stadium before moving to the Kingdome. Seattle went 43-26 during Best’s three seasons.
After departing the Sounders, Best became general manager of the Vancouver Whitecaps, helping the ‘Caps win the 1979 NASL championship. He rejoined the Sounders in 1982 when they finished runner-up to the New York Cosmos in the Soccer Bowl. After the Sounders folded in 1983, Best became part of a group that operated the Tacoma Stars of the Major Indoor Soccer League.
Best had three kidney transplants over the past two decades, including one from his wife, Claudia, who survives him.