The STATE of Soccer in WASHINGTON
Bremerton’s Kitsap Pumas have won the Premier Development League championship with a 1:0 triumph over the Laredo Heat on Saturday night August 6th in the Navy City.
A 10th minute goal from Robbie Christner held up the rest of the way for the champs.
Champions: Pumas bring first national title to Cascadia
United Soccer Leagues Press Release:
BREMERTON, Wash. – According to Kitsap Pumas captain Daniel
Scott, sacrifice has been at the heart of his side’s success this season.
That dedication paid off on Saturday night as the club claimed its
first USL PDL Championship with a hard-fought 1-0 victory against the Laredo
Heat at Bremerton Memorial Stadium.
“I don’t think words can really describe it,” Scott said. “I mean, if I think
if we look back to the beginning of the season there was so much sacrifice that
goes into this team. A good amount of us live over in the Seattle area and have
to make the commute over here three, four days a week, sometimes five times on
the weekend, so there’s a lot of personal sacrifice that we put in, but it paid
off and it was worth every minute of it.”
The Pumas opened strongly, pinning the Heat back in their own half as the
Southern Conference champion struggled to find any rhythm. After a pair of shots
by Elliott Fauske and Robby Christner had challenged the Heat’s defense early,
Christner was on hand in the 11th minute to put away what would prove to the be
the only goal of the game. With Laredo unable to clear its lines properly, the
ball came to Bryan Burke on the left side of the penalty area and his low cross
was tapped into the back of the net by Christner from six yards out.
“We wanted to come out strong,” Burke said. “We knew they knew we were going
to bring it, but once we got that goal, we were all pretty tired from last night
so we just made sure we’d hold that lead.”
Burke’s energy epitomized the Pumas’ performance, and he took MVP honors
after a strong performance that saw him consistently harry the Heat’s
“Bryan Burke is a tireless worker, and that’s one thing I think that we
really respect about him,” Scott said. “You’re going to get the same out of him
day-in and day-out, in training sessions and in games. He definitely deserved
the MVP of the game today, I mean he worked his rear off for us today and it
paid dividends in the end.”
Laredo eventually settled, but it took a poor clearance to give them their
closest opportunity of the half. After goalkeeper Bryan Meredith’s low clearance
was controlled by Heat forward Esteban Bayona, the striker took a look up from
40 yards and fired an audacious chip that went just over the crossbar. For the
most-part, though, the Heat weren’t able to challenge Meredith until second-half
stoppage time, when Gregory Mulamba fired a blistering shot that came off the
left post on almost the final kick of the game.
“I kind of just stretched out, got a little tip to it, not much, turned back
and saw it hit the post, and luckily Dan Scott was right there to clear it out,”
“Coach Pete [Fewing] says this all the time, but you have to earn your luck,”
Scott said. ”I think that’s something that’s stuck with us throughout this year.
Last night against Thunder Bay they had a shot off a free kick and Bryan
Meredith makes a great save and it hits the post in the last couple of minutes
of the game. We’ve dodged bullets, but I think sometimes you have to bend
without breaking, and I think that’s a testament to our work ethic defensively
as a team.”
Moments later the final whistle blew, sending the team and the packed home
crowd into celebration while putting a broad smile on Fewing’s face.
“They’re a very remarkable group of guys, and that’s why they win,” Fewing
said. “You have to give all the credit to these players. They’ve stuck together,
been very committed and they’ve been very disciplined. I do not think we would
have the team that we have without the discipline that the guys have and the
commitment they have for each other. It’s a special group.”
Whether this group stays together past this season has been a topic of
conversation among the players and coaches, with the performances many on the
Pumas’ side this season have put in likely catching the eye of professional
But that may just make this victory all the sweeter.
“It’s special, we’re a special group,” Scott said. “The cohesion on this team
didn’t happen overnight, and I think that’s something that we all recognize is
that it takes time, and I think in the long run when we look back on all of it,
we’re going to be friends for a long time going forward. This is a special group
and if there’s a team out there that deserves it, we do. I really personally
feel like we do deserve this.”