The STATE of Soccer in WASHINGTON
by Gerald Barnhart
Inland NW Soccer News Report: The Northwest Division of the Women’s Premier Soccer League has set forth the infrastructure for the 2013 campaign, expanding from five clubs to eight with four teams each in Washington and Oregon. New to the division will be a controversial third Seattle-based club and two new teams to replace the departed Portland Rain.
The Rain, saved and supported by the MLS Timbers last year, were scrapped with the Timbers ownership launching the new pro National Women’s Soccer League team, Portland Thorns FC. The Thorns will not be the only new women’s teams in the market though with the WPSL adding the Beaverton-based duo ofWestside Timbers and Tualatin Hills United SC (THUSC), extensions of two youth clubs in the area, to the Oregon contingent with returning members Eugene Metro FC and Oregon Rush.
Joining the Washington trio of the Spokane Shine, Issaquah SC and Emerald City FC will be AC Seattle, a side that will reportedly be comprised of numerous players brought in from Italy. Sources indicated and confirmed that Giuseppe Pezzano and the Seattle-based OSA Soccer Group (Academy and Consulting) are behind the new AC Seattle side. Pezzano has lofty connections having worked with the Montreal Impact of Major League Soccer and ACF Fiorentina of the Italian Serie A.
The import of players from abroad may be the only silver lining for the stretched player pool, which will be greatly tested with five teams in the market as the Sounders Women will continue to play in the W-League and the Seattle Reign will make their NWSL debut.
The division will be split into two groups with teams in the same state playing one another home and away (6 games) and the other state’s teams once each (2 home, 2 away) for a total of 10 games. The top two teams in each state will play in a four-team playoff event hosted by the higher Washington State side in 2013 with Oregon State’s top seed playing host to the division championship in 2014.
Read about other WPSL news out of the recent AGM here: Expanding WPSL Northwest set for 2013; league AGM marred by turmoil