The STATE of Soccer in WASHINGTON
by David Falk
Various sources from all four of the Puget Sound area’s Premier Development League (PDL) soccer clubs have confirmed they will all return in 2013. The Sounders U-23 will play their second season under that name after operating as Tacoma Tide FC for six campaigns. The Kitsap Pumas will play their fifth season as will Washington Crossfire (one season as “Seattle Wolves FC.”) The North Sound SeaWolves will field a squad for a third consecutive year in the greater Everett area. While the principal characters in the spring / summer drama remain the same, there is bound to be plenty of change as well. See below.
The Sounders U-23′s will enter the 2013 season as defending Northwest Division Champions. Further, the club progressed in the playoffs all the way to the national semifinals. The division title gives the U-23′s a United States Open Cup spot. All eyes will be on the club’s early form to see if they can manage to advance as far as perhaps even facing Seattle Sounders FC of MLS. As of now the club still plans to play at multiple venues, including a return to baseball’s Cheney Stadium for at least one match. Die-hard Sounders followers will be watching to see which players from the academy system might be back home on the U-23 roster for the PDL season.
The Kitsap Pumas enter year five knowing that for the first time in their history they will not be part of the US Open Cup. The club is busy this off season getting ready for their indoor soccer campaign in the PASL Premier. Meanwhile, the Pumas are also looking in to moving away from Bremerton’s Memorial Stadium and erecting a venue on the grounds of Gordon Field near Silverdale. The club is currently in a legal dispute with the school district over fees for use of the stadium. Gordon Field has a Field Turf pitch in place but needs everything else. Defending Ruffneck Cup holders Kitsap have already posted tryout dates for 2013.
Washington Crossfire says they are a go for 2013. It will be interesting to see what kind of players will populate their roster. Last year it was a combination of local veterans and academy graduates home from college that boosted the Black and Red to a playoff spot. Will Crossfire keep their newest USSDA grads at home, out of the grasp of the Sounders U-23′s?
The North Sound SeaWolves have been in two neighborhoods and stadiums in two years. A debut season at Goddard Stadium in Everett saw meager crowds of around 200. Last year that low benchmark dropped even further as the club struggled to draw fans in Edmonds at Edmonds-Woodway Stadium. The SeaWolves were forced to play all eight home matches in the month of June. Here’s hoping that the SeaWolves find the right spot and gain some success at the box office in 2013.
The Ruffneck Cup has been the source of behind-the-scenes talks this off season. Exploratory work is underway to see if there is interest / the ability to make the competition a stand-alone event outside of the PDL season, and to include non-PDL adult clubs from around the state. Stay tuned.