By Rob Shore
The Kitsap Pumas announced the signings of wingers Juan Carrillo and Adama Kante and midfielder Diego Ventura on Wednesday as the team continued its walk-up toward the first day of training on April 30.
All three players participated in the Pumas’ invitational tryout friendly in February, Kante and Ventura playing with the trialists and Carrillo playing with Port Angeles’ Peninsula College, where he has competed for the past two seasons.
Carrillo, a native of San Jose, Calif., scored 15 goals and notched six assists in 2017, helping Peninsula to a 12-3-4 record. He was named to the Northwest Athletic Conference’s all-star team for 2017.
“Juan is a dynamic winger with a lot of attacking quality that we’re happy to bring in from our Olympic neighbors at Peninsula College,” Pumas head coach Liviu Bird said. “He was a top player in his league for the last couple years, so he’s well up for the challenge of stepping into a higher level such as this one and seeing what he can do. He should be a player our fans enjoy watching with the ball at his feet.”
Kante scored 14 goals in 17 games for Highline College in Burien, ranking sixth in the NWAC in that statistic. Also capable of playing forward, he had four game-winning goals last season for the season.
Kante, the younger brother of former Kitsap Soccer Club player Hamidou Kante, has committed to play for Montana State University Billings in the fall.
“Adama is another of the younger brothers of last year’s squad to join us, after his brother Hamidou played for us in 2017,” Bird said. “We’ll get a similar player with a lot of energy and a hunger to improve every time he steps on the field. Adama had a great record at Highline, my alma mater as well, and he’s moving on to a solid NCAA Division II program this fall, so we’ll be doing our best to prepare him for that step up.”
Ventura, who played for Bellevue College in 2015, has spent the last year recovering from a serious knee injury. But Bird has high hopes for the midfielder.
“Diego is a good example of what our level of play can do for a guy who hasn’t been at the top level recently,” the Pumas’ manager said. “After suffering a knee injury, he’s spent the better part of the last year rehabbing and trying to get back to fitness. He came out to our tryouts with no assumptions and nothing but a great attitude and high work rate. His enthusiasm is infectious, and he’ll be excited to get back into competitive football after his time out.”
Top photo by Jay Cline / courtesy of Peninsula College