TACOMA, Wash. — Tacoma Stars Head Coach and General Manager Darren Sawatzky today announced the signing of forward Derek Johnson to a contract for the 2015-16 season.
“Derek has earned the opportunity to sign with the Tacoma Stars through his play over the past couple years,” Sawatzky said. “He is consistently getting better with his decision-making at higher levels and we hope this leads to a breakout year for him at the indoor professional level in the MASL. We are looking to build for the long term while trying to win out of the gate. Derek fits both of these initiatives nicely.”
Johnson, 23, joins the Stars carrying a resume that includes stints with the Seattle Sounders U-23, South Sound FC, and IFK Stockaryd/Rörviks IF, a fourth-level elite club based out of Stockholm, Sweden. The Tacoma native played locally at Franklin Pierce High School and at the college level with Pacific Lutheran University. He is also the Youth Development Director for local and hometown Franklin Pierce Soccer Club.
He saw his first action in semi-pro soccer in a Tacoma Stars jersey at the age of 17 playing under professional Indoor Soccer Hall-of-Famer Greg Howes. He won the “Golden Boot” two out of three seasons playing for South Sound FC at the semi-pro level through his college years, and led the team in scoring both for the MASL and the WISL Tacoma Stars in the 2014-15 season.
“Playing for the Tacoma Stars at the professional level is a dream come true,” Johnson said. “It’s always been my hope that Tacoma would be able to resurrect indoor soccer at the highest level. I grew up listening to stories of Preki, Steve Zungul, and Joey Waters, and it can’t be emphasized enough what an impact they had on soccer in this region. If it wasn’t for the Stars I probably would never have been introduced to soccer.”
Johnson represents the second major signing made by the club as they enter their first full season playing in the Major Arena Soccer League. The Stars signed veteran goalkeeper and Gig Harbor native Danny Waltman to a contract earlier this summer.
Season ticket packages, group outings, and suite offerings for the Tacoma Stars 2015 season are available now. To purchase, call 1-844-STARS-TIME or visit the Stars online at www.tacomastars.com. The most up-to-date news and notes about the Stars leading up to the start of the 2015 season can be found by following the Stars on Twitter (@TacomaStarsSC) or liking the team on Facebook.