Tulsa Roughnecks Legend Alan Woodward Dies

Thursday, May 21st 2015, 5:19 pm
By: Richard Clark

One of the most popular players on the original Tulsa Roughnecks soccer team has died.

Alan Woodward, who wore the number 7 jersey, died Thursday, May 21, 2015. 

Woodward was born in Sheffield, England in 1946 and was a star for the Sheffield United Football Club, called the Blades, for 14 years before moving to Tulsa.

Sheffield United announced on its official Twitter account that Woodward had died. The cause of death was not disclosed.

"It is with sadness we report the passing of Blades legend Alan Woodward. Condolences to his family & friends #RIPWoody," the club tweeted.

"I just fell in love with the place, that's why I'm still here," Woodward told News On 6 about Tulsa in 2013. We interviewed him at a gathering held in October 2013 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Roughnecks' victory in the 1983 Soccer Bowl.

10/2/2013: Related Story: Tulsa Roughnecks To Celebrate 30th Anniversary Of 'Soccer Bowl' Victory

Known as the Boomer, he became a fan favorite thanks to his powerful, right-footed shots on goal. He also did numerous commercials for Tulsa businesses.

He said the weather in Tulsa is much better than his native Sheffield, but he also appreciated the convenience and low cost of living. He was thrilled at the huge popularity of soccer in Oklahoma and especially the Tulsa area.

Woodward was proud to have played a role in popularizing the sport in the U.S. As soon as he got off the plane in Tulsa in 1978 he was told he had to go take part in a clinic that night in Bixby, a suburb of Tulsa he'd never heard of before. Bixby is now home to a thriving youth soccer organization.

He made 47 appearances for the Tulsa Roughnecks from 1978 to 1981. 

He told us in 2013 he had no desire to visit his home town again, but he changed his mind and went back to Sheffield in September of 2014 to take part in the celebration of Sheffield United's 125th birthday.

According to the team's web site, "he loved every minute, every handshake, every song and every autograph" at the celebration. 

He played in 640 games for the Blades and is the team's second-leading goal scorer, which is a major accomplishment because he did not play as a striker. 

Alan Woodward was 68.