Wenatchee FC just completed their first season in the Evergreen Premier League in 2014. The club was founded to serve the Apple Capital Valley, giving fans a club to support and scores of players a place to play. The importance of WFC is clear. In the very center of Washington geographically, the greater Wenatchee area is also host to talented soccer players whose careers can now keep going after high school and college. In “Apple Valley Grown” we will visit with a few guys who are benefitting from the birth of the Capitals of WFC.
Sometimes you have to move to America to get your soccer chance. In the case of midfielder Luke Dickens, he moved to the States with his family at age 13, and then continued to play the sport he loves. Imagine moving from Brighton…to Cashmere.
“I was born in Brighton, England,” Luke tells goalWA.net. I lived there (England) for 13 years, before moving to Cashmere, Washington. I have been playing soccer since I could walk. I played everyday in the school yard and on the streets of Brighton.”
The streets of Cashmere, a small but beautiful town on the outskirts of Wenatchee, must have not even seemed a real place to Dickens. Then suddenly he was living there. He knew he had to keep playing. He brought his best skills over to the USA.
“I played high school soccer at Cashmere High school. I was the top scorer/assists player in my junior and senior years. I received first team all league, second team all state and league MVP.”
It was at Cashmere High that Dickens met Javier Reyna. “I got involved in Wenatchee FC through Javier Reyna, who I knew as a coach from high school.”
So it was that the Brighton kid from Cashmere ended up seeing a local football club sprout up in the best grass-roots tradition down the road in Wenatchee, allowing him a chance to play locally last summer, and perhaps giving him a future in the game as well. Dickens appreciates the chance Wenatchee FC is giving. “Playing at a high level of soccer in the summer has helped me stay in shape, keep sharp and has improved my speed of play.” Luke says his highlight of the season was the Capitals’ 3-1 win at home over South Sound FC.
Luke rides the Wenatchee River (courtesy of his Vimeo channel)!
Luke is senior at George Fox University of Newberg, Oregon. The Bruins play in the Northwest Conference. His team is struggling in his final collegiate season. “It’s been a difficult season for GFU, injuries and poor results. Leading the league in shots, our highlights include beating Multnomah University and getting my first goal of the season. Captaining the team has also been a great experience. So has traveling to Colorado and competing with top universities.”
The realities of a senior year are not lost on Dickens. He knows this is his final time to suit up as a Bruin. He also knows that life after college means finding work. How does soccer fit in? “Depends on how well my college season turns out,” says Luke. “Also depends if I have to move for job opportunities. However I would love to play for Wenatchee FC in the future. I’ve always had a dream to try to go professional.”
Thanks to the founding of Wenatchee FC in the Evergreen Premier League, if Dickens stays in Cashmere after he graduates…he’s got a high-level local club to continue his playing career with.
Luke at George Fox (courtesy of his Vimeo channel):