TACOMA, WA— Craig Vincent knows a lot about the women’s soccer scene in Tacoma. For several years he has planned, worked and hoped for a local women’s team to take root for the players in South Sound. Finally, it is going to happen in 2015 with the arrival of the Northwest Premier League and the South Sound FC Women.
Vincent has worked on a project titled “Tacoma City Soccer” since 2013. More recently he was involved with FCT 253, which fields teams in the WPSL and NPSL, but has since moved back to Seattle as OSA FC. Finally all of the pieces are coming together in 2016 as Vincent partners with John Crouch and the already-established South Sound FC club to field a team in the new Northwest Premier League.
“The purpose of the South Sound Women’s program is to provide more opportunity for local players to develop and show their potential among a group of similar-minded peers,” Vincent says. “We want to offer players another avenue for reaching the next level. Currently, the path to the higher levels of soccer nearly require a player to attend some form of college, and for many, that path is too restrictive. Between academic requirements, and limiting the number of years that players can play at the school, it creates an environment many players aren’t able to properly flourish in. Additionally, schools don’t provide an atmosphere where players can play with more veteran players and South Sound will be able to provide this important aspect for growth.”
Vincent’s vision for women’s soccer in Tacoma and South Sound FC’s role goes beyond the players he’ll help put on the pitch. It’s also going to be about community. “Another goal for the club is to provide more support for our youth. We want to offer local youth clubs, and players, chances to work with us through player development camps, coaches training, advice and support for players looking at attending college, and various other activities. We hope that helping to blur the line between youth and competitive amateur will help give players that may normally slow down and quit towards the end high school the drive and vision to stay inspired and be educated about how to keep playing. We ambitiously hope that this eventually leads to a high school age academy team that connects directly to the women’s program.”
The South Sound FC Men of the Evergreen Premier League have the motto “Brotherhood, Loyalty, Community.” Vincent likes that slogan and hopes to emulate it on the women’s side. “An important objective for the club is to provide our players a family,” he says. “We hope players join our program and make as many friends as they do teammates. We want players to feel like they have support in all manners of life, far beyond the scope of soccer. The South Sound Men’s program has been extremely inspiring regarding this, and we strive to match that atmosphere with the women’s program – and, with success, between the men’s and women’s programs, as well.”
There is much yet to be done, but at least now Vincent knows he has a club, a league, boundless opportunities that will begin to be real in the months ahead. There is a lot to be excited about.
“Outside of what we’re looking forward to within our own program, we’re looking forward to seeing other programs working towards similar goals as ours,” he says. “The opportunity for growing women’s soccer that the NWPL provides is fantastic because it better allows communities to fill the largest gap in the women’s pyramid, the gap between youth clubs and tier 2 women’s soccer, like the WPSL and previous W-League. Getting more players into this level of soccer will only grow the levels above it, and on from there. We’re also looking forward to the administrative connection the league will provide. The more like-minded people are able to come together to create something the better the individual pieces will become, as well. We’re looking forward to meeting the other coaches and staff, and the networking and idea sharing that comes from all these new connections. We have a very strong soccer community in the Northwest, and this additional strengthening will hopefully provide more incentive for players/coaches to come to the region to grow, and current players/coaches to stay.”