by David Falk
It’s over 24,000 miles around the Earth. Evergreen Premier League clubs combined within the state of Washington to drive nearly that distance in the league’s first season. The eight elite men’s clubs drove a combined 20,928 miles (give or take a few hundred) per vehicle for matches which criss-crossed the state from late April to late July*.
The 2015 EPLWA Annual General Meeting is scheduled for October 24 in Everett. No doubt one topic of conversation will be how to minimize the effect of travel on players and club wallets. See the complete club mileage list below.
Miles driven per club (one vehicle) to get to 8 away matches in 2014:
Spokane Shadow – 3,986*
Vancouver Victory FC – 3,124*
Bellingham United FC – 2,770*
Wenatchee FC – 2,632*
Yakima United FC – 2,446*
WestSound FC – 2,226*
South Sound FC – 1,888*
Seattle Stars FC – 1,856*
The league featured a balanced home / away schedule in 2014. One way to cut down on travel miles would be to junk that system, which some loved because of its simplicity and “Top of the Table” Championship, and schedule more matches with closer opponents. That would likely require adopting a playoff system in order to keep chances “fair.”
Then there is expansion. The league could seek to go to 10 0r 12 clubs and perhaps create divisions. When the league stopped at eight clubs last season they left interested teams standing at the door, outside looking in. Showing interest but not brought in were clubs in Tri-Cities, Centralia, greater Seattle, and three different clubs in the Snohomish /Everett area.
Maybe the current eight clubs are fine with the driving they did this year. There was quite a difference though between the most-traveled and least-traveled clubs. League Champions Spokane Shadow drove approximately 4,000 miles (per vehicle) while Seattle did less than half of that.
*Note: These mileage numbers are based on a single trip to and from an opposing city. In many cases clubs combined trips and lessened their mile totals. As an example, Spokane combined a trip to South Sound (Tacoma) and WestSound (Silverdale) to make that round trip approximately 700 miles for two matches.)