BREMERTON, WA - (Kitsap Pumas release) The path to a championship always starts small.
It starts at soccer fields across the world where players of all shapes and sizes and backgrounds come to tryout for a club and achieve their dreams of glory, hopeful to impress coaches to get their playing careers started.
It was that way for Matt Friesen, Kyle Johnson and Steve Mohn, who made the Kitsap Pumas from the original tryout in 2009 and were part of the squad that won the 2011 USL Premier Development League championship.
It could be the same for those interested in trying out for the Pumas Feb. 1 and 2 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., both days at Gordon Field at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds in Bremerton, Wash.
Those who are picked from the open tryouts go on to the invitational tryout Feb. 15.
The tryout is open to players who are 16 years old and up. Those who are not 18 must have a parent with them at the tryout.
The cost is $50 and participants are responsible for bringing their own soccer equipment. Hotel rooms are available at a discounted rate.
Unlike most PDL clubs, the Kitsap Pumas are a professional soccer team who pay their players. Successful applicants will be offered professional contracts. Any collegiate player interested in playing professional soccer needs to keep in mind they may lose eligibility if they play for a professional team, however, they are welcomed at our tryouts.
Several other Pumas have tried out and made the team, then moved on to bigger clubs in the United States and overseas as well.
Danny Medina, who played with Kitsap for a year, was signed by San Antonio of the NASL.
For manager James Ritchie, its the variety of players that come in that he enjoys the most about the open tryouts.
“It’s great to see what talent is out there that we don’t yet know about,” he said. “Hopefully we find some diamonds like we have in the past. We’re excited to get out there and see who comes in.”
Ritchie said they take special pride in finding gems from smaller places where talent shines for Division II, III, NAIA, even community college teams.
“There are a lot of players that slip through the cracks that many aren’t aware of,” he said. “I don’t care if they’ve played Division I or not – we want them and this is a chance for them to showcase their talent. We don’t want to leave any stone unturned in our search for talent. There are a few people that haven’t had the chance to show what they can do, and we know they’re out there. So by doing these open tryouts, we hope they come out and show the coaching staff of the Pumas what they can do.”
Founded in 2009 when owner Robin Waite bought the rights to the then USL Division I Seattle Sounders and moved the club to Bremerton, the Kitsap Pumas have been one of the most successful clubs in the PDL. They have won two division titles in 2009 and 2011, a Western Conference Championship in 2011 and the PDL Championship in 2011. They have made the playoffs the first five years of its existence and have won every derby trophy they have played for as well.
To register, visit http://kitsapsoccerclub.com/event-registration-2/?ee=14.
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