WENATCHEE, Wash. — Wenatchee Fire FC youth soccer recently announced a merger with Cashmere Youth Soccer. Now the new entity is further organizing local soccer by aligning with Wenatchee FC adult club of the Evergreen Premier League (EPLWA.) The Fire youth will adopt the name and crest of Wenatchee FC.
“The merger is happening with the desire to create an alignment with our community youth soccer all the way up to our semi-professional organization,” says Javier Reyna, one of Wenatchee FC’s founding owners. “Our mission is to provide opportunities for our youth to aspire to join an organized club from an early age and have the opportunity to play soccer at a semi-professional level or higher.”
Wenatchee Fire FC President-elect Janine Bakken describes the larger vision. “One of the major initiatives we’ve been working on for the last several years is to vertically align and bring together the various soccer entities in the Wenatchee Valley. The goal being to implement the model identified as the most effective for youth development by our country’s governing bodies for the sport; USSF, USYS and US Club Soccer. The model is a template for organizing and assuring that every player, youth and adult, has the ability to play at whatever level they are capable for as long as they are capable and have the desire to play. The alignment with WFC is another step in the process of our Club’s intent to comply with national standards for organization and creating a clear long-term development path for the players we serve.”
“This will help both our clubs in that we can work together and use each others resources to provide a better experience to our communities,” says Reyna. “With our merger, we hope to continue to support the growth of soccer within North Central Washington as well as creating stability and balance to both of our organizations.”
Reyna says that Wenatchee Fire youth clubs will become “Wenatchee FC Youth.” They will continue to provide high level service and professionalism with their current management and board members under the new name and crest.
Wenatchee FC was founded in 2013 and joined the Evergreen Premier League (EPLWA) as an adult men’s team for the debut season in 2014. The EPLWA is an elite amateur men’s competition that has teams in Bellingham, Bremerton, Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver and Yakima. The league is recognized as being part of the fourth division in American soccer, behind MLS, NASL and USL Pro. The term “semi-pro” is used to describe the professional manner in which EPLWA clubs seek to operate. Wenatchee FC will join the Spokane Shadow as the other Evergreen Premier League club with an aligned youth system. The Shadow not only won the first league title last season, but thanks to their youth club support they also lead the EPLWA in attendance at first team matches.
Mike Osborn, Director of Coaching for Wenatchee Fire FC, is excited about the new opportunities for youth and adults. “The benefits of our alignment with WFC are numerous,” he says. “Here are a just a few: It gives our youth players a flagship team to identify with and rally behind; It gives us a platform to link all levels in the Valley from recreational to college under one banner; it increases awareness and visibility of our players around the state and serves as a model for others across the nation; it integrates our leadership structure, strengthening our ability to overcome common misconceptions and create more opportunities for all players of all abilities; allows for the leveraging of resources with regard to equipment, scheduling, coaching and administration; provides increased visibility of the sport in the Valley and need for community partnerships to help resource the vast majority of participants that are severely under-served.”
Ultimately, the goal is to create a soccer pathway where good players become great and good people become great citizens. “Our commitment is to use soccer as a platform for promoting the pursuit of excellence in the educational, character, physical and psychological development of today’s player,” Osborn says. “By creating a healthy competitive environment for all players we strive to teach all who participate how to set and work toward goals individually and collectively, modeling and instilling the qualities of leadership, teamwork, commitment, perseverance, loyalty and sportsmanship. Players will learn how to overcome adversity, exercise self-discipline, practice humility, gratitude and service to others. The end result being that every player is equipped to make significant contributions as a part of a team, both on the field and where they happen to live their lives. In short, our goal is to play a significant role in developing today’s player into tomorrow’s game changer.”
Wenatchee FC will announce open tryout dates and the 2015 Evergreen Premier League schedule in the coming months. The Wenatchee FC First Team Men will kick off their EPLWA season in early May. Watch www.WenatcheeFC.com for updates. Like Wenatchee FC at their Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/WenatcheeFC and follow WFC on Twitter at @WenatcheeFC.