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favor of midfielder Mike Cebula, one of three brothers who eventually played for the Pilots: could he gather as many young women as possible to form the first Pilot women’s soccer club? Girls’ youth soccer was beginning to take off but high school and college teams were still scarce. Mike went to work, and thanks especially to student nurses, he mustered a group of women who practiced for several weeks before their first and only game that season: a 1-0 win against Concordia. Like James Bach’s Columbia University prep team 67 years earlier, the first Pilot women’s team finished the season undefeated and unscored-upon. Title IX, passed into law in 1972, lacked any teeth until 1979, when the Carter Administration issued its Intercollegiate Athletics Policy Interpretation, which meant that girls and women would receive equivalent opportunities to those granted to boys and men for athletic participation at their educational institutions. A full season of club soccer followed for the Pilot women in 1979, and in 1980, with the arrival of Ken Robinette from Washington State University as head coach, women’s soccer was official on The Bluff. Over the next 30 years, the women’s program amassed 480 victories and scored 1,730 goals (2.9 for each goal conceded) with only three losing seasons. In 20 of those campaigns, the Pilot women went to the playoffs and reached the Final Four (in NAIA and NCAA) eight times. In 2002 and 2005, they reached the pinnacle of the sport, hoisting the NCAA Division I national championship trophy both years. Credit for that success goes to the late Clive Charles, who dreamed big things for both the men’s and women’s programs and then set about making them happen. In addition to his contributions at all levels of soccer including U.S. National Team and the Olympic program, Clive would become one of the greatest coaches ever at the college level. Few coaches in any sport more deservedly clutched a national championship trophy than Clive did on that cold, wet December 2002 afternoon in front of 10,027 fans in Austin. The Pilot women had defeated WCC rival Santa Clara, 2-1, on Christine Sinclair’s overtime tally. It would be the last game Clive coached for UP; he died of cancer in August 2003, only 51 years old. Over the years there has been a close link between the University’s soccer program and the Portland Timbers professional club, going back to its for-

mative days in the North American Soccer League. When the 1977 Pilot men’s varsity recruits graduated in spring 1981, the Timbers took virtually all of them as their first reserve team, to face the Vancouver Whitecaps reserves at Portland Civic Stadium. Portland’s Phil Cebula became the answer to a trivia question as the first Pilot ever drafted by the pros. As for the coaches, I came from the Timbers’ front office and Mike Davis, who followed me as coach in 1979, made the Timbers lineup for one game during a labor strike by the NASL players union. Clive Charles and Bill Irwin were top players in Europe and for Portland during the NASL era. Many Pilot assistant coaches over the years — including Roger Goldingay, Mick Hoban, and Ray Martin — played for the Timbers in the early years and one of my assistants, the venera-

taking. In all more than 50 Pilot men have made their way to the professional ranks; only about a dozen on the women’s side have been with pro clubs, but their numbers have been constrained chiefly due to the nascent nature of women’s pro soccer. When you look at the list of former players who have achieved conference, All America, Olympic and national team honors — including World Cup appearances — it is both stunning and glorious, taking up several pages each in the men’s and women’s soccer media guides.

ble Doctor Gus Proano, was one of the owners of the pro club. Garrett Smith, the current women’s head coach, also was a Timber during the Western Soccer League period in addition to playing for several other clubs. Current assistants Rob Baarts and Lisa Sari Chambers, in addition to being former Pilot stars, also have professional playing experience on their resumes. And the new incarnation of the Timbers, now members of Major League Soccer, continue to look to the University for players. Ryan Kawulok played on the Timbers’ U23 team for two years, a path current Pilot midfielder Steven Evans is now

measurement, the sport has been not only the most successful of all the University’s athletic pursuits (with respect to the men’s cross country team, annually ranked among the nation’s ten best), but the most popular (sellouts don’t lie) and most famous around not only the nation but the planet. That’s an amazing and wonderful sentence to write — and, I hope, to read. n

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By one measurement, the Pilot season that opened as this issue of Portland went to press is the 109th on campus, if we count from the mysterious 1904 club; by another calculation, it is the 101st, counting from Jim Bach’s undefeated 1912 boys; but by all forms of

Dennis O’Meara, coach of the Pilot men’s soccer team from 1974 to 1978, was the Portland Timbers’ first public relations director. He still coaches, at Westside Christian High School.

Profile for University of Portland

Portland Magazine Autumn 2013  

Portland Magazine Autumn 2013