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Sunday, March 17, 1996 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Pro Soccer Player Paul Crossley Went From Sounders To Coaching

Seattle Times Staff Reporter

Paul Crossley was a quiet, conservative man from a family of slender means in Lancashire, England.

But he was a tiger on the soccer field. As a professional player, then coach, Mr. Crossley was fearless. He knew the game and was confident he could help others learn properly, too.

His years with the Seattle Sounders (1977-1980), plus his experience playing in England and then the United States for teams such as the Baltimore Blast and Minnesota Kicks, gave him credibility.

Mr. Crossley, 47, died of a heart attack March 11.

He came to the United States from England in 1977, after a season as leading scorer with the Chester Football Club.

Following a brilliant career as a forward for teams around the U.S., and as assistant coach at Loyola University, he returned to Seattle in 1990 to coach at Shoreline Community College, and at Bothell, Shorecrest and Redmond high schools.

"He was just a cornerstone of soccer in Washington state," said Rod Falor, a fellow coach in the Washington State Youth Soccer Association.

"The biggest thing about Paul was that he loved kids," said colleague Bill Muller. "But all he knew how to do was play soccer. He practiced from dawn to dark."

Muller said parents told him their sons had learned more about soccer in a month with Mr. Crossley than in years with others.

Mr. Crossley's stepdaughter Stephanie Vanover, of Boise, Idaho, said she'd always looked up to him because he had succeeded in his chosen field. "What made him a good coach was, he understood what the other young men were going through. I saw him practice `tough love,' so all of them respected him. I don't want to say he was harsh, but he was strict."

Mr. Crossley had lived in apartments in cities most of his life.

However, his wife of six years, Diana Crossley of Lake Forest Park, said her husband was interested in gardening. They bought their first house three months ago.

"He loved flowers," she said. "When we went to Flower World, I couldn't look at any flowers myself without him saying, `Look at this one!' Some daffodils he transplanted from a bank just came into bloom."

Other survivors include his son Ethan Crossley, of Lake Forest Park; his son Bradley Crossley and daughter Nicola Crossley, of Baltimore; his stepdaughter Angelia Norried, of Boise, Idaho; and his mother, Vera Crossley, of Rochdale, Lancashire, England.

Services were held. Remembrances, which will go toward his children's education, may be made to Paul Crossley Memorial Trust Fund, c/o U.S. Bank, P.O. Box 82585, Kenmore, WA, 98028.

Copyright (c) 1996 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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