SPOKANE, WA— (club release) Spokane SC Shadow was announced today as one of the founding members of the Northwest Premier League, an elite statewide league designed as an opportunity for top women’s players to compete at an elite level during the summer. The NWPL, created by members of the successful EPLWA men’s league, will kick off in 2016.
Spokane is the third team to be unveiled as a founding member of the league, which is in the midst of introducing its first six clubs. Other sides previously announced earlier this week are the Olympic Force and South Sound FC, both also members of EPLWA.
Spokane’s NWPL side will feature a mix of current and recent collegiate players and will also provide an opportunity for the community’s elite college prospects to play in an extremely competitive environment to enhance their development.
“We are excited that this opportunity has finally come,” said SSC Shadow Technical Director Abbas Faridnia. “The club and the players have already benefited greatly through the presence of our men’s EPLWA side after just two years and we are glad to finally be able to offer the same opportunities for young women in the community after three years of exploring our options.”
The Shadow have been leaders in EPLWA attendance in its first two seasons with the league’s three highest attended games, surpassing the 700-mark on all three occasions. The team also captured the league championship both seasons, and the new NWPL women’s team is expected to be a contender as well considering the level of talent in the area and the past success of the Spokane Shine, a similar team that won the 2012 Northwest Division regular season title in the Women’s Premier Soccer League.
“This is a great opportunity for young players in the area to get a feel for the advanced level of competition they may soon embark on and it provides an excellent environment for current college players returning home to train and compete at an elite level while away from their college programs,” said Shadow youth coach Kevin Moon, who coaches the club’s top high school age teams and serves as college advisor for players.
The addition of the team comes at a time when women’s soccer in the region seems to be booming as both the Eastern Washington University and University of Idaho soccer programs experienced new heights in their programs this year in the Big Sky Conference. Many other Spokane-area players, who may be returning home this summer as prospective Shadow NWPL players, also had excellent collegiate seasons at colleges throughout the region.
“This will be a fantastic summer in the Lilac City. The men’s team will be looking to defend its back-to-back titles and the new NWPL team should also be a fun, competitive team that fans will enjoy cheering for,” said Shadow EPLWA General Manager Gerald Barnhart.
Further information on the formation of the Shadow NWPL team such as coaching staff, tryouts and playing venue will be announced at a later date.
“The NWPL coming to Spokane is a huge step for women’s soccer,” said Spokane native and former Seattle Pacific University standout Megan Lindsay, who has spent much of the past few years playing professionally abroad. “It is a great thing for the soccer community in Spokane, especially for the little girls who dream of playing professionally. From my experience with Gonzaga Prep and Spokane Shine, there are many talented girls from this area that have great potential. I am very happy and hopeful for this new team’s success this season. We need a women’s team in Spokane.”
(Spokane cover photo by Gerald Barnhart.)