Athletics The Scholar-Athlete
Finishing at Home
Soccer Star Marcus Hahnemann Reclaims His Seattle Roots
By Clint Kelly (email@example.com) | Photo by Luke Rutan
For Amanda Day Hahnemann ’96 and Marcus Hahnemann ’94, a Seattle Sounders FC goalkeeper, soccer fields in Seattle feel like home.
One week in early December, Marcus Hahnemann went skiing in the Cascade Mountains five times. He could hardly be faulted for excess schussing. The last time he’d hit the slopes was in 1993 when he helped take the Falcons to the NCAA Division II soccer championship. He graduated, and was quickly swept up into international professional soccer as an all-star goalkeeper, appearing for the U.S. men’s national team in 1994.
Last fall, after playing more than a decade for top-flight English teams Reading and Wolverhampton and twice being named to World Cup teams, he returned home to Washington and signed with Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders FC to finish out his career.
But despite a meteoric ride in the world of professional soccer, Hahnemann, 40, is quick to say that he was also an SPU intramural badminton doubles champ who claims the distinction of having beat athletics trainer Bob Grams for top spot.
That’s the thing about Hahnemann. He has kept a level head and relishes his SPU experience, not the least because it is where he met his wife, Amanda Day Hahnemann ’96, an exercise science major whose mother, Loanna Friesen Day ’67, is also an alumna.
“Design Fundamentals,” Amanda says, naming the class she and Marcus first shared. “There were lots of group projects. We visited the Fremont Troll, went to art exhibits, and took lots of pictures.” And kept an eye on each other.
“But we lived down at the gym,” says Marcus, a physical education major who switched from electrical engineering. “There was a strong core of people on the PE faculty who struck a good balance between work and play. They taught us hard work, fairness, and how to conduct ourselves in an ethical manner. Coach Cliff McCrath came to my house to recruit me, and it was Cliff McCrath who eventually married us.”
To remain active in the sport he loved, Marcus had to maintain good grades. “I knew from day one I was going to graduate. A lot of players are drafted before college, but my parents were adamant I get a degree.”
“My husband is smart,” says Amanda, a freelance writer and founder of The Royal Families, a fundraising organization that raised thousands of pounds with support from the wives and players
from Reading Football Club. “For him to have a university degree is rare in the English football
The Hahnemanns are busy getting reacquainted with the Seattle area. “It’s fun to rediscover the place,” says Amanda. It’s also enjoyable helping sons Hunter, 14, and Austin, 12, discover Seattle.
“It’s their first year in America; all they’ve known is England,” says Amanda. “They had never played baseball or basketball, but enjoy soccer and rugby, and absolutely love playing cricket.”
The family cabin in Cle Elum provides the Hahnemanns with refreshing down time for fishing, motorbiking, skiing, or just unwinding. Their lives have been so demanding for so long, they rarely want to leave the country hideaway. Marcus enjoyed this Christmas Day with the family for the first time in 13 years. In Britain, because the day after Christmas is Boxing Day, the biggest day in European soccer competition, Marcus was always traveling and in practice on Christmas.
Christmas is the off-season for MLS, where Marcus has moved out of retirement and back on
to the pitch as the Sounders’ goalkeeper. Though he mostly served as a backup during this last season, Marcus started for the Sounders October 24, 2012, against Honduras’ Marathon in the international CONCACAF Champions League tournament and made four saves, posting a 3–1 win.
You could say it was his first start for the Sounders — or his 66th. The last time he was in Sounders uniform was in the 1990s, playing in Memorial Stadium for the A-League. Seating was 12,000 if they brought in the extra seats and it wasn’t often necessary.
But how things have changed in soccer-crazed Seattle. Last season at CenturyLink Field, average attendance at a Sounders game was more than 43,000.