A soccer advocate and humanitarian, Steve Kelley retires
After more than 3,400 columns over a stretch of more than 30 years, Steve Kelley’s last byline will appear in the Seattle Times today. With his retirement comes the loss of one of the best advocates for soccer the Sounders FC had in their first five years as an organization.
When the club was announced in 2007, Kelley was there. When they played their first game in 2009, he was there. And readers of the Times got to go on the journey with him.
He brought many stories of the club to the forefront, but was also critical at times, treating the Sounders under the same sort of microscope that he did the other major sports franchises in Seattle. They were no mere novelty, but a sports team that would receive his praise and criticisms when appropriate.
“I think one of the nice things was that he had such a high public profile and so much credibility built up, that when it became time to have a soccer team, he knew all about it and knew its place in the sports landscape. Some other people might not, but he did,” Sounders FC Senior Vice President of Business Operations Gary Wright said. “He had an appreciation for it and understood what it was on the world’s stage.”
He was also there in El Salvador when the Sounders played their first road match of the CONCACAF Champions League, but was there as much for the humanitarian efforts that took him to Kabul, Afghanistan and Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and many other points in between.
Before he retired, Kelley visited Sounders FC training one last time and was presented a jersey with his name across the back. It was a small token of the gratitude felt by the club towards one of its greatest advocates in the media and someone who will forever be called a friend of the organization.
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