BY Andrew Harvey 11:46PM 03/01/2017

A fine send-off for ‘Mr. Sounder,’ Zach Scott

After 15 years of service to the Seattle Sounders, Zach Scott had to put up with his dreaded pursuer — the spotlight — in a testimonial match played in his honor at Memorial Stadium Wednesday night.

Sounders fans gathered to thank Zach Scott one last time at Memorial Stadium Wednesday. / Andrew Harvey, Sportspress Northwest

Seattle Sounders legend Zach Scott pulled on the jersey one final time Wednesday night for a testimonial match in his honor at Memorial Stadium. Scott spent his 15-year professional career as a Sounder in the A-League, USL and MLS, winning four U.S. Open Cups, a Supporters’ Shield, and three national titles.

Testimonial matches were first played at a time when players didn’t receive enough compensation to have a retirement fund. The ticket money collected for testimonials was given to retiring players to help them after they no longer drew income from the game.

While keeping money from tickets would be a boost for Scott, who never earned more than the MLS minimum salary, he insisted proceeds from the event be shared three ways: The RAVE Foundation (the charity of the Sounders), the Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Fund, and a college fund for his children.

Brad Evans and Osvaldo Alonso, Scott’s only remaining teammates from the 2009 inaugural MLS season, acted as coaches for the blue and green teams, comprised of Scott’s friends and former teammates.

Evans expressed admiration for Scott’s send-off.

“It was a really fun night,” Evans said. “It’s rare that these kinds of nights happen. I hope that this spreads like wildfire, because these nights should happen for all club legends, regardless if they played for a rival or played on the other side of the country.

It’s a testament to the hard work that Zach put in, but it’s also this club treating their players as they should be treated.”

The Sounders and the Emerald City Supporters, one of the largest organizations of Sounders fans, collaborated to put on the match. Before the game, fans set off smoke bombs and hoisted a banner that read, “Farewell Zach and thank you” along with a depiction of Scott lifting the MLS Cup.

The action was light-hearted and friendly, boasting a colorful cast of previous Sounders. Casey Keller spent a half in net, at one point doing an interview with Sounders play-by-play voice Matt Johnson while the ball was still in play. Nate Jaqua scored a hat trick in the first half, while Steve Zakuani showed that he still has the speed and touch that delighted crowds at the Clink when he sprinted onto a bouncing ball and chipped it over the keeper to score.

The largest cheers were for Scott. True to his no-nonsense persona, Scott spent the entire 90 minutes at center back, refusing calls from the crowd to play forward. When he touched the ball, the crowd roared. When he made hard-nosed tackles, they grew louder.

Scott shied away from the spotlight when the match was over.

“I don’t seek it out, and I never have in my career. But I’ll take it if it’s good for the community and it raises funds for cancer research,” Scott said. “It was the best case out of a very uncomfortable situation. Everybody out here celebrating my career won’t ever feel right. But in that same vein, it was very cool to have everyone out here and realize that we were doing something bigger than that, giving back to the community that I’ve made home the past 15 years.”

Seattle Center’s Memorial Stadium was a fitting site. It was the place where Scott first showed up as a hopeful Gonzaga graduate for an open tryout in 2002, looking to keep playing the game he loved.

A decade and a half later, he was still playing, defying odds of every off-season roster revamp. The fans latched on to his tenacity and perseverance, dubbing him “Mr. Sounder.”

After being a part of all three major MLS trophies, Mr. Sounder brought it full circle. His 11-year-old son, Kalei, subbed on to the pitch for both Scott’s green team and the blue team, scoring a goal for each side against playful defending.

“He’s a great kid,” Scott said. “The biggest joy in my life is being here with my family and getting to experience that.”

In the final minute with his greens up 7-5, Scott was substituted off for a standing ovation, jogging off the field to shake fans’ hands and express gratitude.

“I’m very grateful for ECS and the Sounders for doing it,” Scott said. “I haven’t seen some of these guys for close to 10 years. It was great to connect with them. Those were massive points of my life, playing soccer here, and getting celebrated one more time with them was very fun.”


YourThoughts

  • http://secure51.com Veronica Clarke

    I was paid 104 thousand bucks in last 12 months by working from my house a­­n­­d I did that by w­o­r­k­i­n­g in my own time f­­o­­r 3 or sometimes more hrs on daily basis. I was following an earning model I found on-line and I am so excited that i earned so much extra income. It’s beginner friendly a­­n­­d I’m just so grateful that i learned about it. Check out what I do… http://easyurl.net/f2265

  • http://secure51.com Eva Reynolds

    I’ve earned 104 thousand dollars in 2016 by doing an on-line job from home a­n­d I did it by w­o­r­k­i­n­g in my own time f­­o­­r few h /daily. I was following a business model I found online and I am happy that I was able to earn such great money. It’s so user friendly a­n­d I’m just so blessed that i learned about it. Check out what I did… http://easyurl.net/9861f

  • http://secure51.com Olivia Ross

    I was paid $104,000 in last 12 months by freelancing from my house a­­n­­d I was able to do it by working part time for several h /day. I was following a business opportunity I was introduced by this company i found on-line and I am excited that i made so much money. It’s newbie friendly a­n­d I’m so thankful that i learned about it. Here’s what I do… http://mybm.com/cSqwB

  • morales-kyle@mail.ru

    I have made 104,000 thousand dollars previous year by working from my home a­­n­­d I was able to do it by work­ing in my own time for 3+ h /day. I followed work model I found online and I am happy that i made so much extra income. It’s really newbie friendly a­­n­­d I’m so happy that i discovered it. This is what i do… http://9m.no/ᇔ吵

  • http://secure51.com Diana Walsh

    I’ve made 104,000 thousand dollars in 2016 by doing an on-line job and I was able to do it by w­orking in my own time f­o­r several h /daily. I used a money making model I found on-line and I am happy that i earned so much money on the side. It’s so beginner-friendly and I’m so blessed that i found it. Here’s what I do… http://budurl.me/5kln

  • http://secure51.com EmilyDavies

    I was paid $104,000 in last twelve months by freelancing on-line a­­n­­d I did that by wo­rking part time for few hours on daily basis. I was following a business model I stumbled upon online and I am so thrilled that I was able to earn so much money on the side. It’s so beginner friendly a­­n­­d I am just so blessed that I found out about it. This is what i did… http://urlof.site/onP09

  • http://secure51.com BiancaBriscoe

    I was paid $104,000 last year by working from my home and I did that by w­orking part-time for 3 or sometimes more hrs /daily. I followed work opportunity I came across from this website i found online and I am so amazed that i was able to make such great money. It’s user-friendly a­­n­­d I am just so grateful that i learned about it. Check out what I do… http://www.wzurl.me/UhyySA