There’s a new league coming to the state of Washington this winter, the Western Indoor Soccer League (WISL.) Though the league is brand new and features a dynamic shiny new logo, the clubs in the league are mostly veteran indoor performers staffed with folks that have operated local indoor sides for many years.
John Crouch is the commissioner of the WISL. He’s previously been behind the winning ways of the South Sound Shock. The Shock have operated as an indoor elite side since 2011. In their time indoors (the club is also a founding member of the outdoor Evergreen Premier League) the Shock have an undefeated regular season and national playoff trip (2012-13) to their credit. Crouch and the Shock are switching gears in the WISL, though. They are combining efforts with the returning Tacoma Stars to field a strong side for the City of Destiny.
The Tacoma Stars are being called “3.0” by indoor soccer watchers. It makes sense because we can see three distinct eras for the Stars. There was of course the Tacoma Dome glory decade in the MISL (1.0). Then came the rebirth into the PASL (Premier) and PASL (Pro) (2.0). Now the Stars are taking on yet another challenge, this time returning to the Tacoma Soccer Center and helping found the WISL (3.0). The name “Tacoma Stars” has over two decades of play, history and culture behind it.
The Wenatchee Fire are the longest consecutively-operating elite indoor side in the state of Washington. Since 2005 the Fire have been playing in some form of the PASL. In 2013-14 they bring all of that experience with them into the WISL. The Fire ripped through the PASL in their first year, and have been a steady competitor ever since. The Fire have multiple division titles. They also have a core group of players and loyal fans who are excited about the new league and new beginnings.
The WSA Rapids changed their name this week to Bellingham United FC as the Whatcom Sports Commission will now operate soccer under the BUFC banner. The Rapids have competed indoors since 2007. The inaugural WISL campaign will be their 8th straight indoor season. Much like Wenatchee, Bellingham United has a tradition with indoor with both players and supporters. The Rapids won the 2010-11 division and made the playoffs for two more seasons after that.
The Arlington Aviators will enter their third season of indoor play as they help found the WISL this winter. The club is incredibly tough to beat at home, and last year with two away wins they pulled off a 6-2 record and second place finish. The “Flyboys” have great fans and a group of guys who are active on social media.
The Oly Town Artesians are truly the new kids on a new block. This will be the first season for the team. However, they are founded by Brandon Sparks, a guy who helped run the Tumwater Pioneers of the PASL a couple of years back. Sparks also designed the look of the new club, creating the Oly Town crest.
The WISL looks to be a great mix of talented, experienced people, local indoor soccer tradition and growing state pride. Fans voted the first-year league slogan to be “The Fastest Game In The West.” That was a good call on their part. Indoor soccer is fast and furious, heating up our damp winters. The WISL will be great entertainment at family-friendly prices.
There is plenty of management experience going into making the Western Indoor Soccer League a positive experience for soccer in Washington.
KICKOFF: The WISL is hosting the first annual Northwest Indoor Soccer Invitational on November 1 at the Tacoma Soccer Center. All elite Washington men’s indoor teams are encouraged to participate. See details here.