The STATE of Soccer in WASHINGTON
PORTLAND, OR — Northwest soccer club owners and prospective owners met at a closed-door meeting in Portland last week to talk about forming a Northwest Division in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL).
One of the clubs at the meeting was SO Samba FC, from Hood River, Oregon. They posted a photo (below) on their Facebook page with the caption “NPSL closed-door meeting… good news on the horizon for SO Samba and NPSL.”
“There are high hopes for NPSL in the Northwest,” Samba General Manager Melissa Brandao tells goalWA.net. “Michael Hitchcock, NPSL’s commissioner, has made the NW a top priority for the NSPL expansion. We all know the NW is second to none in growth of soccer’s popularity and fandom–it’s fertile ground for soccer in this part of the country!”
“The fans are here, there are some great clubs, and most importantly there are players, playing at a high level of game. I can’t say specifically who was in the meeting but I can represent SO Samba FC and we are one of the clubs committed to the conference and NPSL expansion. (I can say that) it was an even split of interested clubs between Washington and Oregon.”
Another team known to be interested in joining the NPSL is Bellevue area’s Rairdon.com, led by owner Victor Perez. Rairdon.com is currently playing in the Starfire Premier League and was also a late applicant to the Evergreen Premier League (EPLWA). They were not selected for that league’s first season.
Perez tells goalWA.net, “So far we will start small, four to six teams, but as you know it will be more after it is announced (clubs will hear the news and want to join). Just like anything else this is a work in progress. Via Facebook Perez has recently stated “(It’s) The beginning of a new soccer journey (as) the NPSL semi-pro league (is) coming to Washington, Oregon, (and) Northern California.”
NPSL Commissioner Michael Hitchcock says “The NPSL is experiencing significant growth all over the country with an impressive number of expansion teams joining the NPSL for our 2014 NPSL Season. The Pacific Northwest continues to be a priority for NPSL. We’re excited by the interest and optimistic that we can launch a Northwest Conference in 2014 which will provide another great avenue for local players to develop and passionate supporters to support a community based team in their backyard.”
The NPSL currently lists 57 clubs in ten conferences. The closest side to the Northwest is in Northern California.
Earlier on goaWA.net: NPSL hires former MLS club exec; hopes to establish Northwest presence