BREMERTON, WA— (KitsapPumas.com) The Kitsap Pumas have elected to re-sign Justin Ortinau for this coming Premier Development League (PDL) season. During the 2014 campaign Ortinau appeared in all eighteen games for the Pumas including netting a brilliant goal that sealed the Pumas 3-0 victory over FC Tucson in the Western Regional Final.
Ortinau, who was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, attended the prestigious Regis University where he received all-conference recognition for the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC), all-region honors and an all-RMAC tournament team selection before transferring to Quincy University for his senior year.
Although Ortinau excelled at the collegiate level, his passion for the game started at a much earlier age.
“I started playing soccer with my dad and brother when I was real little- about three years old” recalled Ortinau. “I was always involved in sports growing up but none really seemed to spark the same fire in me like soccer did. I remember watching great players such as Ronaldinho and Cesc [Fabregas] play on television and they truly inspired me to continue playing.”
Just like most kids growing up in the United States who love the game of soccer, Ortinau pursued his passion by playing at the youth level for a local St. Louis club by the name of Kutis SC.
“Growing up playing youth soccer for Kutis SC was always just about fun for me. We initially formed the team with all my good friends out of pure enjoyment but then we turned out to be a very talented side as well” Ortinau recalled. “Our club’s success helped me to be recruited to play in college but it wasn’t until about my freshman year of college when I got real serious about continuing to play after graduation.”
After hearing about the Pumas tryouts following the completion of his final collegiate season, Ortinau decided to make the trip from St. Louis, Missouri to Bremerton, Washington to earn a spot on the 2014 Pumas roster.
“I knew that the Pumas were a very talented club that has had a lot of success over the past few years and I knew that this could be a great opportunity for me to continue playing the game I love at a very high level” said Ortinau. “The coaches here liked what they saw from me at the tryout and I really liked how the coaching staff ran things so for me, accepting their offer was a no-brainer.”
Once in Bremerton, Ortinau quickly found an appreciation for both the quality support the team receives from the community and the high level of talent that comprised the puma’s roster.
“It was great having the support of the community throughout the season. We have great fans which make it a lot easier to feel at home and to play to your potential” said Ortinau. “I also appreciated the opportunity to play on a team that not only had a roster filled with quality players from all around the world, but also with guys who were such quality people. We had a great season last year, had a lot of fun together off the field and I think that’s why we experienced so much success on the field.”
Although Ortinau did not make as large of an impact as he wanted to during the 2014 season, this year he plans to build upon that experience.
“I feel a bit like I have some unfinished business with the Pumas. I want to make another run at a national title this year and hopefully play a large part in that success” Ortinau said unworriedly. “I plan on getting together with the rest of the guys and using my experience I gained last season to help lead this team back to more trophies.”
Head Coach Cameron McDonald shares the same enthusiasm for this upcoming season and believes that Ortinau will be a large part of the clubs forthcoming success.
“We are excited to have Justin back with us for the 2015 season. He is an extremely talented player and will hopefully build on the experience he gained with us last year.”
Just as the Pumas Organization has done for numerous other players since their inaugural season in 2009, they have given yet another talented player the opportunity to develop and pursue their dreams at a highly competitive level.
“I am so grateful to have another opportunity to play for the Pumas and to keep chasing my dream” said Ortinau. “I plan on using this season to both grow as a player and to help add many more trophies to this club’s already storied history.”