The STATE of Soccer in WASHINGTON
SPOKANE, Wash.—The defending WPSL (WPSL.info) Northwest Division Champion Spokane Shine remain active behind the scenes during the current off-season. It is possible that among new announcements for the 2013 season might be a venue change.
“One potential change is that we are in discussions with Spokane Falls Community College about possibly playing our home games there,” Shine head coach Jason Quintero tells goalWA.net. ”They’ve just done a major overhaul to the stadium and turf and it’s a really nice facility now. We’re still in the early phases of negotiation though, but I’ll let goalWA.net know if/when more progress is made there.” See a Spokane CC time-lapse video of the new soccer pitch installation below.
“We also have new kits coming, and they’re going to be sharp! We’ll be debuting them on our Facebook in March,” Quintero reveals.
The Shine work year-round on player recruitment. “It looks like we will be returning a lot of the players from the Northwest Division winning 2012 squad, except for our captain Lisa Robertson, who has signed for powerhouse Glasgow City and will be playing UEFA Champions League. I’m in talks with quite a few high quality players right now, but can confirm one new signing, Emma Brown, formerly of Washington University in St Louis, which is a perennial Div III highly ranked team. She’s scored lots of goals for them, and brings a level of maturity and passion for winning, which fits our mold quite nicely,” Quintero says.
“Also, there’s a chance that Marissa Mykines, who played professionally in Europe last year and with Shine the year before that, will be returning, but nothing’s finalized yet.”
Qunitero and the Shine will soon begin a series of steps leading them to the 2013 WPSL kick-off. “We have our league AGM in late January in Vegas so we’ll have more details about our playing schedule then,” says Jason.
Coordinating with colleges
“We’ll be starting training around the first week of May,” Quintero explains. ”Players will be trickling in throughout May as they get out of school at different times, and our final influx of players will be early/mid June as those players who go to college at schools who are on the quarter system (vs. semester system) get out for the summer. Until then, I’ll be busy keeping up with returning players and continuing conversations with potential new players and college coaches who are looking to work together to provide a high quality place to play this summer, so their student athletes come back in August in tip-top condition. More and more high level college coaches are seeing the value in our league and it’s exciting to see that happening.”
Buzz in the Women’s game
Women’s soccer has been in the news locally, nationally and internationally more than ever before. Even in this off-season the state of Washington has seen the founding of the NWSL, National Women’s Soccer League, and a club that will represent the state at that level, Seattle Reign FC. Quintero has followed the ups and downs at the pro level, and is hopeful this time sticks.
“I hope the NWSL can do it right this time. I think this might be the last shot at putting together a viable women’s professional league. It sounds like there are some things in place that can help facilitate getting to a more stable, economically viable league, such as North American national football associations helping pay for salaries of lots of players, which is fantastic. It’s a good use of money by the federations, and can help solidify the Americas as the top spot in the world for women’s soccer.”
The NWSL will need stars, and Quintero is watching to see how that plays out, too. “I’m disappointed to hear (Megan) Rapinoe and maybe a couple other big names won’t be playing in it, but how much can you blame them? A professional athlete’s window of opportunity for making money is so narrow, and even moreso for female athletes, that a move to Europe for more money makes sense. You could argue that they have a responsibility to help grow the women’s game in America, but you definitely could argue that they have a responsibility to support themselves and their families financially as well.”