BREMERTON, Wash.- “We will have a bit of a new look to us this year but it will be a good opportunity for some new faces to prove their mettle for indoor and for the outdoor team,” Kitsap Pumas PASL-Premier head coach Dustyn Brim tells us. His Pumas open their season this Saturday December 1st at the Olympic Soccer and Sports Center in Bremerton against the expansion Tumwater Pioneers.
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“We decided not to host tryouts this year for the indoor team. We invited certain players in to train with the squad and have a more in depth look at players,” Brim reveals. It is a change from previous season preparations. “I am fortunate to have Coach (James) Ritchie with me as we have been doing pretty extensive scouting of college games this year and that has opened up a few more players to the team. Since the indoor team is amateur we can have college players on the squad without affecting their eligibility. We have also had players contact us about playing and know it is a good opportunity to perform in front of the entire coaching staff for an extensive period of time, with coach (Dustin) Stoddard and myself playing, and Coach James at all the sessions.”
Brim says the Pumas are starting to get players who notice what former Pumas are doing. “A good recruiting tool as well is the fact that former players from the Pumas are beginning to transition into leagues in a higher level. We are very proud to have Elliot Fauske playing his second year in the MISL at Rochester and now Enrique Hidalgo is playing there as well. David Meherg has also stepped to the pro ranks with the Tacoma Stars. We have a very good core of players returning that have played previously with the indoor team, so their experience will be very important to the side.”
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The Pumas will play eight regular season games, but won’t face defending champion WSA Rapids in any of them. “I’m not a fan of the schedule really,” says Dustyn. “I would have loved a balanced schedule of each team home and away. Don’t get me wrong I understand why they do it (for less travel expenses and less overall matches) but I want to face every team to know that you had a fair crack at them all. I have some unfinished business with the Rapids that we aren’t getting to take care of unless we meet in the playoffs. They are a very talented team that handed us a loss last time we played. You have to want to play teams like that to test yourselves. Plus they are fun games for spectators as the two teams play hard, entertaining soccer, and off the field are very respectful and good people. I think more home games is always going to be an added bonus for teams and their fans.”
The Kitsap Pumas were founded solely as an outdoor outfit back in 2008. They added an indoor team in the PASL in 2010. There have been times in the club’s history that the indoor Pumas have drawn crowds as big or bigger than the outdoor summer side in the PDL. “I’m not really surprised to be honest that they are popular with the fans,” Brim says of the winter Pumas. “It is a great time of the year for it because there are so few events to go be part of during the cold winter. Its also a very target-based audience. Olympic Soccer and Sports Center already is a major hub for soccer players to turn to during the winter so we are able to advertise to soccer oriented people. Its very affordable entertainment.”
2012-13 Kitsap Pumas PASL-Premier Schedule
The OSSC is hopping for Pumas home matches, with food, beer, music and of course soccer.
“I have not met a person yet that after seeing a game, hasn’t enjoyed the energy that is packed into that place,” Brim explains. “Fast paced, tons of action, lots of contact, and very talented players. Another factor which the outdoor team is looking to remedy this year is that there is very reasonable beer sales (at OSSC.) It allows people to be a little louder and more vocal in support of the game and shed some of the inhibitions which keep people quiet. Another thing is the accessibility of the players, this has become a Pumas tradition, outdoors and indoors, of mingling with the fans and kids after every match. People like to know the players and kids get autographs which fuels their aspirations of playing this game that we love. We have a few more local lads this year as well which always helps connect to the community we play in. We are very thankful for the wonderful support we have received so far and hope to help it continue.”
The team the Pumas put on the arena pitch will be full of new faces.
“We have a couple goalkeepers that will be in contention for playing time, myself included. We have quite a few dangerous players that can strike a ball. Pat Perkins (who trained with the outdoor team all year) I think will step up to contribute a handful of goals this year. He’s a big strong lad that will put himself on the line for results, and is a Bremerton native. We’re also going to try to get Matt Friesen a bit closer to the goal to get his scoring touch on. Cameron Stone is another returnee from last year. After a good season with Olympic College we will look to him to provide a lot of the industry (hard work) in the midfield. I think the way we play that the scoring will be spread around nicely, and hopefully a lot. I’m really looking forward to the challenge and to matching up against new and old foes.”