EVERETT, WA — The Evergreen Premier League of Washington (EPLWA) will hold its second annual general meeting today in Everett. The league is expecting at least one representative from each of its eight clubs to join in the day-long process of reviewing the 2014 season and preparing for season two in 2015.
Along with club representatives, the meeting will include EPLWA President Peter Ostrovsky, Vice President of Competition Tim Busch, League Administrator Robin Gordon and Referee Assignor Roberto Alvarez.
The Evergreen Premier League debuted in 2014 with a mission of providng a competition for local Washington State clubs to grow the sport at the elite adult amateur male level while providing hometown players and supporters with teams to call their own. The league thus adopted the first-year slogan “Our State. Our Clubs. Our Culture.”
As they discuss how the initial season went for them, league and club officials will note that the race for the top of the table was dramatic and went down to the final match of the season. They will also note the league drew nearly 17,000 fans over 56 matches for an average right at 300 per match. This was better than the two other leagues at a similar level, the PDL and the NPSL.
Further, the league enjoyed unprecedented local newspaper coverage which far-exceeded the PDL and NPSL.
The EPLWA also saw a higher level of player talent than was anticipated. The skills of players on a match-to-match basis reflected the depth of talent in Washington.
The clubs will also likely reflect on the travel that was required of them. Matches back and forth across the state had some teams racking up nearly 4,000 driving miles during their seasons.
Going forward the EPLWA and its member clubs will try to strike a series of balances. There might be a desire or even a need to expand the league to better serve local clubs, players and supporters. If so, then what is the right number of clubs beyond eight? How can the EPLWA grow but still maintain an elite / exclusive presence?
There are other issues before the group today, such as competition format, internal communications, and league or club rules.
The Evergreen Premier League really had just one thing to prove to itself in 2014…that it had a valid reason to be in existence…that the soccer scene needed it. The debut season went very well, and there was confirmation at nearly every turn that Washington was better off as a soccer state with the EPLWA in operation.
Shortly after the season began the United States Adult Soccer Association granted the EPLWA “Elite League” status, bumping the start-up into a group that includes the PDL and the NPSL as national fourth division leagues. This honor was a breakthrough for the leagues’ clubs. The PDL and the NPSL were not the “only game in town,” locally or nationally. Soccer money spent on being in the Evergreen Premier League, already far cheaper than those other two leagues, would stay right here in Washington, helping to grow our culture. The spotlight on EPLWA’s clubs would however go national.
Now it is up to the clubs and the league to maintain and build on this momentum.
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