BREMERTON, WA— Kitsap Soccer Club owner Robin Waite attended the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) Annual General Meeting in Orlando, Florida a few weeks ago. He was greeted warmly by the league.
Joe Barone, Chairman of the NPSL, told ScratchingThePitch.com: “(Kitsap is) a huge addition to the NPSL. I think that the ownership groups of the league are very, very proud and honored to have an organization like Kitsap join the NPSL. They approached us regarding joining the league, and I think it’s a great addition to the NPSL and to further growing the Pacific Northwest.”
(Cover photo: Waite at NPSL AGM with other leaders. NPSL Facebook photo)
Waite felt the love for Kitsap at the gathering. “They felt it was very positive that we had switched leagues and had done well in the Open Cup,” he tells goalWA.net
“All and all we were welcomed with open arms. I noticed that even our old nemesis Laredo Heat has also made the switch (over to the NPSL.)”
Waite witnessed a sense of committment and an entrepreneurial spirit as well. “The members/teams were very pro NPSL and involved in improving the league. It’s a league that is run by the teams. It was all very positive. At least 10 more new teams are coming in. There was a lot of collaboration among teams for ideas about game day experience, streaming matches online, etc.”
Open Cup spot still there in NPSL
Goalkeeper Coach Liviu Bird, who spoke with goalWA.net in this recent interview, notes that the switch to the NPSL is not a hinderance at all to the Kitsap SC annual run for the US Open Cup.
“Just like in the PDL, the NPSL has a qualification process for the U.S. Open Cup,” Bird explains. “In 2016, 14 teams from the NPSL entered the competition. We received a first-round bye from the PDL qualifiers, and Chattanooga also received one as the top NPSL qualifier. The U.S. Open Cup will be a big part of our strategy as a club, as it has been throughout our history and as it is for every lower-division club hoping to make waves in the national soccer scene.”
As for life in a new league after an entire existence in the PDL? “Everything else should be the same. I don’t think fans will notice much of a difference,” Bird believes, “other than the fact that we’ll be playing under an altered name and crest for a season. We’re going to do our best to make sure it’s a smooth transition.”