BREMERTON, WA — (club release) The Kitsap Pumas have resigned another member of the 2014 Premier Development League (PDL) national finalist squad. Michael Chamberlain, who assumed the role of a very physical and hard-working target man for the Pumas, appeared in seventeen games last season.
Chamberlain served as a consistent aerial threat to opposing teams and routinely imposed his physical presence to hold possession for the Pumas allowing their talented attacking players to join the play. Chamberlain scored two goals himself and had two assists, which came at crucial moments in each of the Western Regional games in Tucson, Arizona.
However, Chamberlain’s passion and talent for the game began many years prior and many miles off the mainland.
Chamberlain was born on the island of Kauai in Hawaii where he began playing competitively for a local club by the name of motiv-8. However, after a few years he decided to make the move to a bigger club that competed on the island of Oahu. Although the Hawaii Rush soccer academy provided a higher level of competition for Chamberlain, they were also a plane flight away to every training session and game.
“Growing up playing in Hawaii was hard because there weren’t many established teams and my family really had to sacrifice a lot to get me to play at the highest level I could” Chamberlain recalled. “Also being so far away from the mainland we really had to fundraise a lot in order to go to the top tournaments. But I believe all of that only strengthened my passion and appreciation for the game.”
Although he had to sacrifice and travel a lot growing up in order to play at the highest level, Chamberlain had nothing but high praise for Hawaiian youth soccer.
“Soccer is really physical in Hawaii and growing up I really learned how to take a hard challenge and never quit” Chamberlain said. “I really take my hat off to the guys back home. They truly kept my passion for the game going and I believe the soccer culture there helped make me the player I am today.”
Due to the fact that Chamberlain was able to receive a lot of exposure from his time playing for the Rush academy and the Olympic Development Program (ODP), which hand picks some of the best youth talent from each region of the United States to compete against one other, he ultimately received a scholarship to Concordia University (Or)-one of the top National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) soccer programs.
“I went to a smaller private school in Hawaii growing up and so when I was choosing a college I wanted to go somewhere I could both compete for a top program and also get the academic attention I felt would be best for me” Chamberlain said. “I also had family in the Portland area so I felt I would have all the tools there I needed to be successful.”
In his four years at Concordia, Chamberlain consistently performed well on the field and had a lot of success in scoring goals. In his career he scored an impressive 33 goals and had 19 assists. His outstanding scoring record even earned him a spot on the Cascade Collegiate Conference (CCC) second team his junior year and a place on the CCC all-conference first team his senior year.
However, as he progressed in his collegiate career and continued to develop his game, Chamberlain found that he had the talent to continue playing at a higher level after graduation.
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“Growing up soccer was my biggest passion and it was really all I ever wanted to do” Chamberlain said. “But at about my sophomore year of college was when I started to really realize that I had the potential to take my talents to the next level so I focused even more on challenging myself to get better every day.”
Chamberlain’s realization about his ability began to carry some weight when he was scouted by the Pumas.
“I remember how great it felt to get that email from the club” Chamberlain recalled. “I felt like my hard work over the years was paying off and I made the trip to the Pumas tryouts without hesitation. After being called back for the second tryout, I was able to sign with the Pumas and it felt awesome.”
However, that was truly only the beginning for Chamberlain and the Pumas.
“I couldn’t have asked for much more than the experience I got with Kitsap last season” Chamberlain said. “To play at that high of a level with that great of a group of guys was awesome. Not to mention the great support all of the Kitsap community showed us from the start.”
Even though last year proved to be a successful year for both Chamberlain and the entire Kitsap organization in their reclamation of the Northwest Division, the Roughneck Cup, and the Western Regional title, their focus continues to solely be placed upon the upcoming season.
“It was wonderful making it to the national final last year but since the season ended with us coming up short I have felt like there’s been a missing piece of the puzzle” Chamberlain said. “Also Cammy being named head coach played a big role in my decision to come back for another season. He is a great coach and I think he will take the club far.”
Head coach of the Pumas Cameron MacDonald shares Chamberlain’s sentiment about how unsettling the conclusion to last season was and is equally excited to have a player like him back for when the club gives it another go this season.
“I was lucky enough to be part of two championship winning sides at Livingston FC as a player.” MacDonald said. “There’s no better feeling and to see that group of players last year miss out by one goal was devastating. Brining back players like Michael will ensure we have a real chance at going one better this time around.”