by David Falk
OLYMPIA, WA—There are several stories surrounding the indoor soccer pitch at The Pavilion on the campus of Evergreen State College. One is about how the field got there, the other about how Western Indoor Soccer League clubs consented to allowing the unusual place into their league so that the Oly Town Artesians could return for their second season.
The story goes that John Purttemann, long-time Evergreen State College soccer coach, brought The Pavilion pitch (boards, etc.) down from Hood Canal after he closed his Golden Goals Soccer Camp at “Misty Acres,” near Union, WA. The indoor pitch was set up under the roof, which still features basketball hoops that can be lowered into place. The Pavilion was once a group of covered hoops courts.
Purttemann himself is connected to indoor soccer, having played for the Portland Pride, Seattle Seadogs, Florida Thundercats and Denver Thunder, and twice being named to the Continental Indoor Soccer League All-Star team.The Pavilion thus evolved as a place for pick-up soccer and for the soccer Geoducks to practice out of the weather. Golden Goals at Misty Acres hosted dozens of soccer clubs on retreats and training, from youth to college to the Kitsap Pumas of the PDL before closing in 2011.
VIDEO: The journey from Hood Canal to Olympia
New life in the WISL
The Oly Town Artesians had finished their first season in the Western Indoor Soccer League on a successful note, making the playoffs and filling up Olympia Indoor Soccer with fans. Then came the bad news – Olympia Indoor Soccer was out of a place to host indoor matches when the building they rented was sold.
The search began for a new place for Olympia Indoor Soccer to live, and thus also a place for the Artesians to continue kicking. There was talk that perhaps a new indoor facility might be in the works through a different party somewhere between Olympia and Shelton. The Artesians consider themselves an Oly team, though. They desired to stay in the capital.
The Western Indoor Soccer League began asking clubs about their plans for 2015-16 a while back. It was then that the Artesians asked in earnest if it would be possible for the league to consider The Pavilion as their temporary home, since no other new venue had surfaced. WISL Commissioner John Crouch visited The Pavilion and inspected the site, also taking some photos. The shots were shared with operators of WISL clubs, along with a letter from Oly Indoor and Artesians owner Tim Smith. In his letter, Smith described the updates and improvements the Artesians would make if the league agreed to the venue.
WISL club owners had a choice to make, and the future of the Oly Town Artesian’s 2015-16 season hung in the balance of that choice. Clearly The Pavilion would be tough to vote “yes” on based solely on the place itself. The pitch is wider and even a bit shorter than most in the WISL. The venue is also in essence an “outdoor” one, with a covered pitch that is open to the elements where the roof ends. The Artesians were hopeful, but realistic about their chances. However, as clubs weighed in, they seemed to be putting aside the negative aspects of the facility in favor of keeping the Artesians in the league and keeping the WISL in Olympia. Eventually the WISL owners gave a “yes” majority to the Artesians, with a unanimous count in votes cast.
Now comes the hard part. Tim Smith and Oly Town General Manager Brandon Sparks are already starting to improve The Pavilion pitch. They’ve sprinkled more rubber pellets on the turf. They will be updating and correcting the lines and markings on the surface. In the letter to WISL owners, Smith says: “We intend to make the following improvements prior to the season: Sanding board “caps” to eliminate any rough edges; Straighten, align, and bolt boards to eliminate edges between joints; construct goal boxes; add bleachers; use court curtains to construct heated dressing areas; construct a heated viewing area with extra field glass; install a scoreboard. We are approaching our spectator experience as if it were a football game – hot drinks and food at concessions; Scarves and hats at merchandise tables, etc.”
It’s fitting that a pitch that once sat outdoors in a wooded area overlooking Hood Canal is now prepping to be front and center in local indoor soccer culture, playing its part in keeping the Artesians rolling…with John Purttemann still coaching the Geoducks, as a campus neighbor.