SPOKANE, WA (Spokane Soccer Club Shadow Press Release) The Spokane Soccer Club Shadow are taking things back to the beginning, announcing that the youth club is launching a men’s team to begin play in the regional Evergreen Premier League, a new statewide league that will make its debut in the spring of 2014, and is expecting to also launch a new women’s team to also begin play in the National Women’s Premier Soccer League.
The EPL Washington addition is the first of several announcements the club is set to make and marks the return to senior level competition for the first time since the original Spokane Shadow men’s team, the originators of the youth club, ceased operations in 2005 following an unsuccessful resolution to turf issues at Joe Albi Stadium.
“We are really excited to be taking this first step in providing expanded playing and entertainment opportunities for the Spokane soccer and sports community,” said Spokane SC Shadow Technical Director Abbas Faridnia. “The region has sorely missed the presence of an senior level men’s team for the continued development of players in the area, and we look forward to continuing to provide talented young women a chance to further their careers.”
The Shadow played its first official season in 1996 as a member of what is now known as the USL Premier Development League, the nation’s preeminent amateur soccer league that is the fourth tier of the American soccer pyramid. The team was a resounding success on and off the field, winning division championships in the regular season or playoffs in its first five years while also finishing a regular league leader in attendance with numbers in excess of 1,000 each year.
The highlight of the team’s initial 10-year run came in 1999 when the club was selected by the Tampa-based minor league soccer headquarters host to the league’s Final Four, finishing as runners-up.
“We have a lot of great things in the works to hopefully make the Shadow senior sides reminiscent of the previous PDL team off the field, making summer evenings and beyond with the Shadow an enjoyable and interactive experience for our supporters.”
Many outstanding players were developed or came through the Shadow over the course of its PDL existence, chief among them being Major League Soccer veterans Craig Waibel and Brian Ching, a one-time MLS Golden Boot winner and former US international. The pair won a combined total of 11 MLS Cup, Regular Season Supporter’s Shield and US Open Cup championships.
“Spokane has a men’s team they can once again come out and cheer for; a men’s team that can showcase the Spokane soccer community,” said Faridnia.
“We are also in the development stages of working towards a senior women’s team to provide the same opportunities for the women of the Spokane soccer community.”
Over the past few years the Spokane Shine provided collegiate and youth players from around the greater Spokane area an opportunity to play at a higher level in the WPSL, winning a division championship in 2012 under the leadership, in part, of Scottish youth international Lisa Robertson, who has gone on to reach the UEFA Champions League Round of 32 this summer with her new side Glasgow City.
Further details on the new Evergreen Premier League Shadow team, including staff, stadium and ticket information, will be announced in the coming months along with the progress of the Shadow’s bid to join the WPSL.
Other clubs recently announced for the debut of the league are: Bellingham United FC, Seattle Stars FC, South Sound FC, Wenatchee United, Westsound FC Men and FC Three Rivers (Tri-Cities).