PUYALLUP, WA—Washington Premier South Sound (WPSS) Football Club was founded in 2011 out of a group of Tacoma area players that competed annually as Team USA in the All Nations Cup. The Shock quickly gained traction playing indoors and competing for USASA under-23 national cups. In the summer of 2015 the club traveled to the east coast and won a national title. An original founding member of the Evergreen Premier League, the Shock had a rebound season of sorts in 2017 when they finished third in the table.
That wasn’t the only big news for the Shock. The biggest moment of all might well be their enhanced partnership with Washington Premier FC which has seen the adult side merge and move their home matches (women in the NWPL) to the youth club’s campus in Puyallup.
WPFC Director of Coaching Seth Spidahl reflects on the partnership. “Our inaugural season as Washington Premier South Sound FC was an awesome one! We are very proud to be one of two RCL clubs that can provide this opportunity at the amateur level for our current players, alumni, and other high level players in the South Sound. This platform allows our players to come in at our Recreational level program and continue on all the way through to the EPLWA and NWPL. We look forward to continuing making this program even more “Top Tier” in the future!”
goalWA.net sent over some questions to the Shock to check in with them on how their season went. Founder John Crouch and Men’s Head Coach Adam Becker combined to give us the replies below.
The Kids Are Alright
The merger of South Sound FC and Washington Premier FC gave the Shock a home and a connection to tons of local playing talent. “It was so great to be embedded in the strongest youth soccer culture happening all in one place in the South Sound, the Washington Premier facilities,” the club says.
“They are doing such great things with high level youth teams and to have our team training and playing games down there was such a great environment. We are still developing our place with Washington Premier as they are a very big and busy club, but that is to be expected and as we grow with them, we will continue to embed ourselves into the culture and future soccer career planning for the young players at WP.”
Below: Gallery from WPSS versus Seattle Stars, 2017 EPLWA season.
The Shock have always been one of the Evergreen Premier League’s more adventurous clubs. They enjoy playing sides from other leagues annually. “We had a great trip down to Bend to play the Portland Timbers U23s,” they say. “Our guys always love a big challenge playing PDL teams and what better place to play a high level soccer match than there. They brought a great crowd out and put us up with exceptional accommodations. Our guys played at a very high level in a very tight match with the Timbers U23s and really enjoyed the whole experience.”
So Close and Yet…
WPSS finished third in the EPLWA table in 2017. Over their history they have never won the league, with four years of finishing second, second, fourth and now third. “We had some frustrating losses (that happens every year) and we learned from them. We set a high standard for how we wanted to play, what our approach was to the team and the culture we wanted and we made it fun. We found players that believed in our program and our system, and with that belief came respect for fellow teammates, our coaching staff and our club.”
The Shock value a ‘whole person’ experience. “Every year we figure out more what our role is in the ‘player development’ aspect of our game and we love this. We focus on building great young men, hopefully moving them on to whatever their next level is in the sport but also helping them with their mindset and making sure the game is enjoyable still as they are essentially playing all summer in their ‘offseason’.”
WPSS have never finished lower than fourth. This year the club was just beyond the back and forth race between Seattle and Bellingham that was eventually won by the Stars. “The team that we finished the season with was certainly one of the best we’ve ever had, we were playing with exceptional connection on the field and we were having a blast. We would have loved to see the season go longer so we could have made up for the mistakes and struggles early on and continue the run we were on. All in all we finished very happy!”
The Shock got better while also getting younger. “Finishing in the top 3 in the league with 5-6 high school players contributing and even playing at the same time was great. We had a ton of Washington Premier Alumni (going as far back as 14 years with the club) on our side and finding success on their home grounds together was magical at times. We had our youngest ever player score in the EPLWA at 16 years old and definitely had the best young players ever with Washington Premier and our development mindset.”
Ready to Innovate in the EPLWA
The Shock are one of the more forward-thinking sides in the Evergreen Premier League. As the EPLWA prepares for season number five in 2018, the league will see a new President (Current President Peter Ostrovsky has told the clubs he won’t run for re-election.) WPSS doesn’t mind leading the way. “We would really love to push the idea of a champions league or series of inter-league play between the EPLWA, NPSL and PDL. We need to create stronger bonds between the next level and our teams and we also know from experience the players and fans absolutely love it when we play across our leagues. We plan to work with PDL and NPSL teams on the personnel side however we can to create more connection and more playing opportunities for all of our players.”
In the summer of 2018 the giant US Adult Soccer Fest is coming to the Northwest. The Shock want to compete. “We intend to put a top tier open team into the national USASA US Soccer Fest happening in Bellingham, WA to get back to our national tournament roots,” the club says. “We really enjoy the national level of competition and have missed our trips to the USASA U23 national tournaments.”
US Open Cup
It’s a question the EPLWA gets from around the country all the time: Why don’t your clubs participate in qualifying matches for the US Open Cup? The Shock’s answer: “We know the next question would be, what about the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup? We would love to be able to compete in that great tournament. We have been very open about this topic: we think the time and the financing that it takes to compete in that tournament just doesn’t make sense at this time.”
The EPLWA is all about long-term stability and sensible finances. “We believe we could find the players, the coaching staff to make an interesting bid, but we just need the harder stuff to be solved—time and for it to make sense financially.”
The Final Whistle
WPSS is keeping the entire soccer picture in mind. This includes development of quality officials and partnerships with the Washington State Referee Committee. “With the league’s (and our competition’s) best interest in mind, we hope to drive conversations about how we work better to help develop officials and work with the officials to continue to elevate the EPLWA game. The EPLWA is what all of us teams make of it and we learned a lot about the referee world this year and how important it is that we as teams work to develop more refs and work with them better.”