by David Falk
2014 will be the “Year of the Player” in Washington. Somewhere from colleges, youth clubs, local towns, adult soccer leagues and around the globe we’ll need around 375 players to fill roster spots in the PDL, EPLWA and NPSL for our 15 competitive clubs.
The Kitsap Pumas got their search underway last weekend with open tryouts. The Saturday session was lightly attended. The Pumas usually get their players from invitational tryouts and head coach James Ritchie’s annual trip to the InfoSport Combine. On Sunday the Pumas session was observed by a representative from WestSound FC.
All of our clubs are of course looking for the best players they can find, and also the “best fits.” A good player is no good to a club if he can’t travel to practices and matches, or isn’t up for committing for an entire season. The PDL and the EPLWA will each play 14-match regular campaigns. (The term “semi-pro” is used in the headline to indicate professionally run clubs with amateur status players. The Kitsap Pumas pay their players a non-living wage.)
Is there enough talent out there to make all of our clubs solid? That is going to be an ongoing question followed by fans before, during and after tryout season. The PDL clubs generally get their players from in and out-of-state college programs. It is rare for a local to stick who isn’t in college and searching for elevation into the pro game.
The EPLWA and NPSL are more of a mystery. We will all learn about their player make up together. Seattle NPSL has already held an open tryout, and they look like a club that will be made up of local internationals who star in the Starfire Premier League. That puts them at war with Seattle Stars FC of the EPLWA for the best Seattle adult amateurs. Inter United FC, the other Seattle-area NPSL club, might have a strong African influence on its roster with players from that continent who are now living in the Emerald City.
Thanks to the Evergreen Premier League towns will play a bigger role than ever in 2o14, as will the Washington State Adult Soccer Association. Adult players who might not be involved in a college program could still turn out for EPLWA clubs in Wenatchee or Yakima or Seattle. College guys who want to spend the summer at home representing their home towns could find a chance in Bellingham, Vancouver, Spokane, Tacoma or Silverdale. Anyone could be anywhere.
In Vancouver Washington the Victory of the EPLWA will recruit in the same town as the NPSL side Spartans, who recently declared that they are a “Vancouver club” despite playing their home matches in Portland Oregon this year. The Spartans just won the OPSL title.
Clubs will hype their coaches, their histories of moving players up, their locations. All in the name of getting the best guys on their rosters. The networking is beginning to buzz. It’s the year of the player.
The EPLWA has a 25-man roster limit. If we apply that total to all 15 clubs (it will likely be a bit less), then we see the state needs 375 players.
Premier Development League (PDL)
Evergreen Premier League of Washington (EPLWA)
National Premier Soccer League (NPSL)
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