Jack Daley helped guide the North American Soccer League version of the Sounders into their first Soccer Bowl championship game in 1977 and brought many of the team's legendary names to this city. He passed away Thursday of an apparent heart attack in his home.
Former Sounders general manager Jack Daley, who guided the original incarnation of the team through its first eight seasons, has died in San Diego at age 82.
His son, John, said Daley’s wife found him collapsed on the bathroom floor of his home Thursday morning. Attempts to revive Daley from what his family suspects was a heart attack proved unsuccessful.
“Whatever it was, it happened quick,’’ his son said. “He had just gotten out of the shower and was getting ready to go and play a round of golf.’’
Hired away by the new North American Soccer League franchise from Toronto Metros in 1974, Daley was at the helm when stars like Dave Butler, Jimmy Gabriel, Adrian Webster and Roger Davies helped ingrain the Sounders into the city’s consciousness. They went to their first of two Soccer Bowl championship games in 1977 under Daley, losing 2-1 to the New York Cosmos at Portland in a match the Sounders appeared to control much of the play in.
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“He was just a winner,’’ said Alan Hinton, the team’s former coach and a longtime soccer ambassador for the Sounders’ current Major League Soccer incarnation. “He was one of the guys who did so much back then to build the foundation of what the team became today.’’
Hinton had coached the Tulsa Roughnecks in the 1979 season when Daley lured him to the Sounders for the 1980 season. They’d met for an interview at the Edgewater Hotel, which Hinton said turned into “a wonderful three days’’ in which they really connected.
That first year working together in 1980, Daley and Hinton acquired the NASL rights to English soccer star Davies from Tulsa and watched him score 25 goals in 29 games. The Sounders finished 25-7 and second overall in the league but were upset by Los Angeles in the conference semifinal.
That offseason, Hinton and Daley traveled to England together to scout midfielder Steve Daley (no relation) of Manchester City ahead of bringing him to Seattle. “I remember, Steve scored a rocket and Jack was jumping up and down going, ‘That’s our boy! That’s our boy!’ He really loved his work and loved the game.’’
After leaving the Sounders after the 1981 season, Daley became GM of the San Diego Sockers indoor franchise for several seasons. In his retirement, he worked as an elevator operator for the San Diego Padres at Petco Park so he could spend time chatting with baseball fans.
“He really loved people,’’ his son said.
Daley is survived by his wife, Chris, and three other sons, Andy, Michael and Brendan. A funeral is to be held at Miramar National Cemetery in San Diego but arrangements are still pending.