(from USLPDL.com) The 2016 PDL season’s Northwest Division has a familiar cast, including a returning name to the fold in Victoria Highlanders FC, which purchased the franchise rights from Puget Sound Gunners FC during the offseason.
The returning group features defending division champions the Kitsap Pumas, Calgary Foothills FC, Lane United FC, Portland Timbers U-23s, 2015 PDL Championship semifinalist Sounders FC U23 and the Washington Crossfire.
Northwest Division Breakdown:
Calgary Foothills FC: Calgary finished in the middle of the pack during its first PDL season, earning fourth in the division a year ago with a 3-2-7 record. Tommy Wheeldon Jr. is the team’s head coach. Significant alumni: Bradley Kamdem (Rochester Rhinos). Key returning players: Dominic Zator, Dominic Russo.
Kitsap Pumas: The Pumas joined the Charlotte Eagles as the only unbeaten sides during the 2015 regular season. Kitsap posted a 10-0-2 record to win the Northwest, and the defense lead the league with only four goals conceded during the regular season. However, Kitsap allowed that four-goal title to FC Tucson, dropping a 4-1 match in the semifinals of the Western Conference Championship. The club certainly can rebound as it has been the standard of the division with four titles since joining the PDL in 2009. The Pumas are coached by Cam McDonald. Significant alumni: Miguel Gonzalez (Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC), Zac Lubin (Swope Park Rangers), Logan Miller (Wilmington Hammerheads FC). Key returning players: Nick Hamer. Key newcomers: Kalem Scott, Darius Madison.
Lane United FC: Lane United improved on its 2014 debut season in the PDL, earning fifth place in the Northwest with a 3-7-2 record. John Galas is Lane United’s head coach. Key returning players: Matthias Binder.
Portland Timbers U-23s: The Timbers U-23s finished runner-up in the division in 2015, posting a 6-2-4 record and qualifying for the postseason for the fifth time in their previous seven seasons. Portland has hovered near the top of the Northwest and is looking to return to the top spot that it enjoyed in 2010 en route to the PDL Championship crown. Jim Rilatt is the Timbers U-23s head coach. Significant alumni: Jake Gleeson (Portland Timbers), Khiry Shelton (New York City FC), Emery Welshman (Real Salt Lake). Key returning players: Collin Partee. Key newcomers: Tucker Hume, Walker Hume.
Sounders FC U23: The Sounders U23s are coming off a successful 2015 that included a third-place finish in the division and advancement to the semifinals of the 2015 PDL Championship. The club hosted the event at Starfire Stadium, but fell to eventual champion K-W United FC in the semifinals. Seattle has advanced to the postseason four times since making its PDL debut in 2006. Darren Sawatzky is Seattle’s head coach. Significant alumni: Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Taylor Peay (Portland Timbers), DeAndre Yedlin (Sunderland). Key returning players: Paul Christensen, Guillermo Delgado. Key newcomers: Ashkanov Apollon.
Victoria Highlanders FC: The Highlanders return to the PDL, where they competed from 2009-14. Following the 2015 season in the Pacific Coast Soccer League, the Highlanders purchased the franchise rights from Puget Sound Gunners FC during the offseason. Victoria had had some previous PDL success as the 2013 PDL Western Conference Champion. The team is coached by David Dew. Significant alumni: Brett Levis (Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2)
Washington Crossfire: Washington finished in sixth place in the Northwest last year and is set for its eighth PDL season. The club has qualified for the postseason twice, including its first campaign in 2009.