BREMERTON, WA— The National Premier Soccer League sees the Northwest as a soccer hotbed. Then they wonder, “why don’t we have a stronger presence in that hotbed?”
It’s not like the NPSL hasn’t been trying. They have had clubs in our region, but it just hasn’t caught fire for them here like it has in the midwest, especially in the state of Michigan where six clubs are in the Great Lakes Western Conference, including the much-celebrated independent movement known a Detroit City FC. Not even close.
In recent years the NPSL NW has seen clubs come and go, including Sporting Seattle, Inter United FC (Tukwila) and SO Samba (Hood River, Oregon) —all folded, while Portland Spartans and OSA FC (Seattle) have to travel to Northern California to fill out there schedules in the 2-team Northwest Division.
Buzz is growing that the Kitsap Pumas of Bremerton are considering leaving the United Soccer Leagues’ PDL for the NPSL. We caught that rumor earlier here. Now a single source (under two different accounts) on twitter says it is going to happen. Just what does “Scratching the Pitch” know that we don’t?
The NPSL and the Pumas have not returned our emails asking for confirmation.
There is no doubt that getting the Pumas would be a big score for the NPSL in its efforts to build in the Northwest. Kitsap would instantly be the top club for them in the region in terms of history, fan interest, professional operations and ability to recruit talented players.
Three clubs (Kitsap, OSA, Portland) are still not really a division, though. That’s why the Pumas would really need to pull a PDL club or two along with them. The Sounders U23 say they are not interested. Would Victoria Highlanders, Calgary Foothills, Lane United (Eugene, OR) or Washington Crossfire (Redmond, WA) be interested in the NPSL? It seems unlikely that an MLS-linked side such as the Portland Timbers U23 would come over, as they are a part of the PDL-USL-MLS working relationship.
Is there an EPLWA club that wants to take up the NPSL cause? Capable of doing it could be clubs like Bellingham United or Spokane Shadow. There are no signs either one is interested.
Maybe a new club in Idaho, or further development in Oregon?
As for the Pumas, they must be looking at the NPSL’s lack of roster restrictions and salivating. No 8-players over age 23 limit rule, which has encumbered their goals over the years. A chance to drop the ‘development’ tag from their resume and be associated with clubs like Detroit City FC and others. Perhaps a chance to boost attendance, which sagged last year for Kitsap in the PDL.
The NPSL has a long way to go in the Northwest, but so do the Kitsap Pumas. If the move happens, it could bring new life to both. Stay tuned.