Thursday, June 17

No one left in the Northwest

They are all gone. I was sad to here that Abbotsford GM Barry Crocker was planning to retire. Then I saw the story about it being official. He’s absolutely deserving of a nice retirement, it’s just difficult to see it come as he is the last of what I consider the original gang of Northwest PDL administrators from my days working with the Spokane Shadow.

Barry was kind of the lovable grandfather of the group. The English-Canadian is one of the nicest and most genuine gentlemen you will meet in the sport, which is perhaps why his efforts to grow the sport in Abbotsford, a lovely city just outside of Vancouver, over the course of three decades were successful. In a day and age when you meet so many coaches and soccer administrators who continue to work in the sport out of ego or money, Barry was one of the few who was truly devoted to the youth and helping them improve their game.

Barry was not alone. The others included my mentor at the Shadow, Jeff Robbins, along with Teresa Vega (Yakima Reds) and Dave Irby (Cascade Surge). I missed seeing all of them on a regular basis when I moved to Tampa to work for USL, but always enjoyed the chats each year at the Annual General Meeting or championship events. Unfortunately, as the group got smaller each year, the feel of the division, at least in my own personal world, changed.

But although the faces have changed, at least the division is still strong with new blood creating a new dynamic in the Northwest. Today though, my best wishes go out to Barry as he makes his trek to Mexico. I hope he has a wonderful retirement, because he surely deserves it.

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