Remembering the Yakima Reds (1995-2010)

Remembering the Yakima Reds (1995-2010)

Yakima Reds in Tacoma, 2007. (David Falk)

The late Yakima Reds still hold the record for years in a row operating at the pro or semi-pro level in the state of Washington. The Reds were born in 1995 and played sixteen straight seasons before folding in 2010. That tops the 15 seasons of the Seattle Sounders in the A-League/USL before that club folded and the MLS Sounders were born.

There is a pretty good Wikipedia page on the Reds’ history, which includes these passages:

Reds adapted crest, 2010.

2008 saw great excitement with the return to Yakima of one of its most famous sons, Jake Sagare, who was to lead the Reds’ lineup all year. The Reds started 2008 like a rocket, winning five of their first six games, including impressive wins over Spokane Spiders and Tacoma Tide, the latter of which featured a brace from on-form striker Junior Garcia. Yakima’s dominant early-season form also saw them qualify for their first ever US Open Cup, and they were drawn away in the first round to reigning USL2 champions, Harrisburg City Islanders. Sadly for the Reds, they were outclassed a long way from home in Pennsylvania, as Harrisburg ran out 5-1 winners. June was a more difficult month for Yakima, as they went from back-to-back victories to a trio of defeats to Spokane, BYU Cougars and Ogden Outlaws. To their credit, the Reds regrouped for a final push and, following their hard-fought 1-0 win over rivals Vancouver Whitecaps Residency, were one of three teams heading into the final games with a genuine shout at the playoffs. A dominant 4-1 win over Abbotsford Mariners in the penultimate game – in which Garcia scored 2 goals and had 2 assists – left Yakima facing Tacoma Tide in a winner-take-all final game. Unfortunately for the Reds, Tacoma took the home field advantage all the way to a 6-2 victory, which left Yakima a close third in the Northwest table, just missing out on a playoff spot. Junior Garcia was the top scorer in the entire PDL, with 15 goals, and was subsequently named the national MVP, the first time that honor had ever been given to a Yakima player.

Reds’ girlfriends and wives travel to Tacoma, 2008. (David Falk)
Earlier Yakima Reds logo.

On 25 September 2008, the Reds’ management announced that the club was folding and withdrawing from the USL, citing the economic climate and the financial difficulties being suffered by the ownership group, Irwin Research & Development, as the reasons.[1] However, on 17 November 2008, the club announced that a last-minute takeover of the club’s ownership had taken place by local businessman Perry Piercy, and that the Reds would continue to compete in 2009.[2] Unfortunately for Yakima, the optimism and enthusiasm at being afforded a last-minute reprieve did not translate to positive results on the pitch; they struggled all year, ultimately winning just three regular season games. The first victory of the season came at the end of May, a 2-0 victory at home over the Spokane Spiders, but by that time Yakima had already lost four, including a 4-0 hammering by the Seattle Wolves on the opening day of the season, and an 8-2 thrashing by Portland Timbers U23’s where the Oregonians were 4-1 ahead at half time. Mid-June was Yakima’s high spot, when they won two-games back to back, unexpectedly thrashing Tacoma Tide 4-1 off the back of a Vinicius Oliveira hat trick, and then annihilating the Abbotsford Mariners 6-1 in the next game, with Oliveira again the catalyst, hitting four goals. This was as good as it got, though, and normal service was resumed shortly thereafter. The Yakima defense leaked goals, letting Tacoma get their revenge by scoring four, and then allowing 18 goals in three consecutive games as they lost 6-1 to the Victoria Highlanders, 6-0 to Vancouver Whitecaps Residency, and 6-0 to Abbotsford, who were clearly keen to make up for their earlier humiliation. They finished the year second from bottom in the Northwest, saved from the wooden spoon only by the Spokane Spiders. Vinicius Oliveira was clearly the Reds’ standout player, hitting 10 goals and providing 3 assists in his 14 appearances for the team.

Notable players who wore the Reds’ kit are Jage Sagare, Junior Garcia, Byron Alavarez, Mike Chabala, Chris Eylander, Bobby McAlister, and Danny Waltman, among others.

In 2009 the Sounders held a “Super search” for talent, and the top two contenders were both from the Yakima Reds (eventually.) Junior Garcia finished second and pictured above in a match against the Seattle Wolves, Vini Oliveira won the competition. (Jenni Conner)
Yakima native Jake Sagare, at left, was with the Reds at different times during his career. (Jenni Conner)
This 2010 billboard advertised for the Reds in Yakima. (David Falk)
Traveling Kitsap Pumas fans set up at Yakima’s Marquette Stadium before a 2010 match with the Reds. (David Falk)
2010 Reds warm-up kits. (David Falk)
Reds in Tacoma, 2010. (David Falk)

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