(Sep 12, 2016) Organized youth soccer in Washington started in our own backyard, in Bellevue, in the mid-1960's, and our own club had its origins in 1970 with the formation of a competitive, premier-level program under what was to become Eastside Youth Soccer Association. In fact, our state was the first to introduce and recognize an all-girls program, holding its first girls' State Cup finals, also in Bellevue, in 1972.
Eastside FC joined this past weekend with Washington Youth Soccer in celebrating half a century of organized youth soccer in Washington at its 50th Anniversary Gala and Fundraiser at the Bellevue Hyatt on September 9th, which featured guest speakers Jill Ellis, coach of the US Women's National Team, and Adrian Hanauer, majority owner of the Seattle Sounders FC.
We are proud to have had so many of our current and former coaches and players honored at the event as standouts over the past five decades, as follows:
- Top 50 Soccer Citizens, community leaders and great coaches and administrators who, by devoting countless hours to youth soccer, allowed players to develop life skills that they could carry with them for the rest of their lives: Chance Fry (EFC Coach and Director), Jan Smisek (EFC Coach), Michelle French (EFC coaching alum) and Darren Sawatzky (EFC Coach).
- Top 18 All-time WA Men's Players: Chance Fry, Jordan Morris
- Top 18 All-time WA Women's Players: Michelle French, Kate Deines, Kathryn Reynolds, Kim (Stiles) Calkins (EFC coaching alum)
Eastside FC's Head Coach and Director of Operations Chance Fry, and former EFC Head Coach Michelle French, are two of the three honorees who made both lists: Top 50 Soccer Citizen and Top 18 Player. The third was University of Washington Associate Head Coach Amy (Allman) Griffin.
A couple dozen Eastside FC coaches, staff and board members represented the club, while Eastside FC players and coaches volunteered to help with the event. The evening festivities included an auction, which raised money for Washington Youth Soccer and the Washington Youth Soccer Foundation, whose mission is to increase opportunities and access to youth soccer for under-served youth and communities in the state.