After delays, George Goss, physical education teacher of 22 years at McKenna Elementary, was inducted into the Pacific Northwest Semi-Pro Football Hall of Fame on Nov. 11 in Federal Way. Goss played and coached at the semi-pro level for several teams including the Pierce County Bengals and the South Sound Shockers.
Goss, a class of 2021 inductee, had his induction postponed due to cancellations stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, but was finally honored for his efforts on the gridiron.
“It was a really cool night. I got to see some of the football players that I haven’t seen in decades. There were some guys from the Pierce County Bengals that I haven’t seen since the late ’90s, and it was great catching up with them,” Goss said. “It’s a brotherhood. You get to reconnect with old teammates and friends and meet new people and learn their stories. It was a lot of fun.”
As a semi-pro football player, Goss played for the Pierce County Bengals from 1994 to 1996, 1998 and 2001. He also played for the Oregon Thunderbolts for several weeks for one of their playoff runs. As a semi-pro coach, Goss coached the South Sound Shockers in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010. He also coached the South Sound Spartans junior college football team in 2011-12 and the Mayhem semi-pro team in 2013.
“I was super excited to be able to get up there to give my speech, and it went as well as it did. Having my family there was awesome as well,” Goss said. “When I was playing semi-pro, my daughter was born in ’97 and didn’t get to see me play a lot, but she got to see me coach over the years. It meant a lot to me for her to see how football was such a big part of my life at that time. The speech itself went really good. I’ve been obsessing over preparing my speech for the last couple years as I’ve been waiting to get in. I wrote down some notes over the years, but ran through my speech so many times in my head that I ended up not needing them.”
Goss said the best part of his night was listening to the other inductees’ speeches and learning their stories.
“It was really cool to learn how they even got to hear about semi-pro. Some people heard from a friend, some heard about it in a newspaper ad, and it was great learning how they used football to translate to discipline off the field. It gave me a good foundation for becoming a PE teacher later.”
Goss thanked several people for their support along the way, including his wife, Tracy
He said her support throughout the whole process meant everything to him.
“The guy that nominated me, John Brown, was our quarterback when I played with the Pierce County Bengals. I appreciate the fact that he nominated me,” Goss said. “It was really cool that my family got to come out and see how important football is to me.”
Football players out of high school or college who are still yearning to compete on the gridiron have more opportunities now than ever through local semi-pro leagues.
“Look around. There’s a lot of teams in the Puget Sound area, up and down I-5, from Bellingham to Portland and even further south. There’s a lot more resources now than when I was playing,” Goss said. “Give yourself a shot. I didn’t get a lot of playing time my senior year and thought I was done with organized football, but semi-pro offered me so much. There’s a lot of extra opportunities now. There’s spring leagues. There’s summer leagues, everything.”