ARLINGTON, WA — The Arlington Aviators have played two seasons in the PASL. Next year they would also like to make the jump to outdoor soccer. In order to help make this happen Andrew Escalante, now in charge of the club, has recruited Dagi Kesim as head coach for the indoor and proposed outdoor sides.
There are plenty of moving parts right now for the Aviators. Former operator Phil Bartlow is out of the soccer arena business and the club is getting to know the new owners of Soccer First Indoor Sports, Tom Harris and Raymond O’Dell. Meanwhile, the leagues the team will play in—and even its name—are up for discussion as momentum builds.
Into the mix comes Dagi Kesim, who is Technical Director at youth club Gala FC.
Why would he take the time and effort to work with the Aviators? “There are a lot of good players in the area,” he says. “They are committed to the game, they are great role models and mentors. I have watched some local games and I felt with some discipline and with the right players we could create a team for the community that kids can look up to.”
The Aviators have been competitive indoors both seasons. “I am expecting to bring back many of the key players as well as some new faces,” Kesim says. “My biggest hope is to make my youth club and players proud. Arlington’s Soccer First is heading in a good direction and I am excited to be part of that as well.”
Andrew Escalante has played for the Aviators for both of their seasons. When Bartlow bowed out, it was Escalante who made sure the club had a voice and remained organized.
“When I first brought the idea of a semi pro indoor team to Phil Bartlow I wanted something for our local soccer community to rally behind,” Andrew recalls. “Growing up in Arlington, we haven’t had any big soccer clubs at any level. Most of the players I grew up with including myself played club soccer for teams like Crossfire, Eastside, NWN, and Snohomish United. Now that I coach high school ball (Lakewood Cougars JV) I think it is very important for our area to keep our local talent together and not leaving for those other clubs.”
“We want a club that gives back to our community and youth. Thanks to Dagi we might have one of the youngest semipro teams in the state this next season. We want to be the club that has players from across the state coming to play for us.”
Kesim also has northern Snohomish County soccer players and fans in mind as he takes over as coach for the Aviators. “I am all about creating aggressive teams while keeping it fun and OK for kids to watch as well. We will have longterm indoor and outdoor teams in our path,” Dagi predicts. “We will affiliate our youth club in someway with this team. We will make soccer fun again for the north soccer fans. We will make us a new Saturday night tradition. It would be tough to find a coach that is as passionate as me, I will pass my soccer fever to my players. I will have the community to help me achieve all these goals.”
Escalante can’t even imagine Arlington without the Aviators. “As a player this club has meant a lot to me in many of ways, but what sticks out to me the most is that I was able to continue playing soccer at a competitive level after college.”
Soccer First Indoor Sports will be hosting an indoor men’s tourney on April 12th at 3:30pm for the 530 mudslide victims. 150 bucks per team. All team fees go towards the 530 OSO mudslide. (Facebook)
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