WENATCHEE, WA— There was a time when Wenatchee was a good place for local adult male players to compete at the regional level. The Wenatchee Fire were in the Western Indoor Soccer League, Wenatchee FC were in the Evergreen Premier League and Wenatchee Valley College was continuing its long membership in the NWAC. Players hopped over the mountains for league matches spring, summer and winter.
It’s 2019 and much of that has changed. The Fire and their indoor soccer arena are long gone. Wenatchee FC men folded back in 2016. After the WFC men folded another group founded North Central Washington Alliance, a women’s club getting ready for their third season in the Northwest Premier League.
There are now new efforts underway to get a Wenatchee men’s club going. Eugen Capusan, owner of local Alignment Pros car care shops, is fielding a team for a March 30 match in the Apple Bowl Stadium as part of a double header with a women’s NCW Alliance scrimmage. Snohomish County FC Steelheads of the Western Washington Premier League are traveling over the mountains to provide the opposition. The match will kick off at 4 PM in the stadium Wenatchee FC debuted in when they began their 3-year stint in the EPLWA.
“I started in January the movement of a new semi pro team here in the valley,” Capusan explains. “Our goal is to form our team and play in our local league through out the summer and go to tournaments and have friendlies with other clubs this year and register our club in a Semi Pro league for 2020.”
No club name yet
Right now the club does not have a nickname, but there are names behind it. “I am the Head Coach, David Sanchez is my assistant,” Eugen says. It’s all in the early stages. “We are still building the team, through practices and training I let some players go as they were not the caliber I am looking for, and I am bringing new players to try in hopes we can make a strong team to represent Wenatchee Valley.”
Snohomish County FC is farther along in its development, but is just this year joining a regional league. Steelheads General Manager David Falk is excited to see Wenatchee is back on the radar for men. “I was quite fond of Wenatchee FC,” Falk says. “I was at the Apple Bowl for their first-ever EPLWA home match back in 2014. I was saddened when they folded. So I am glad to bring our club over to play at the end of March. We are fans of having more soccer clubs, and especially one in the Apple Capital.”
Looking for talent and discipline
Capusan knows he will see a lot of faces as he builds Wenatchee and that is just part of the journey. “The players you will see on the 30th, may not be the same players I will have in a month or two. It all depends on commitment, talent and discipline. I ran a tight crew my whole life and I want that to reflect in my team or I will pack my bags and do something else.”
Capusan believes in the talent in the greater Wenatchee Valley, stretching up to Chelan and out to Cashmere and Leavenworth. “I think we have a great talent here in the valley and we will be able to build a good team for 2020. My goal by playing Snohomish is to scale my players and see where they rank.”
Eugen is well-known in Puget Sound adult circles. He still runs the Romania side that competes yearly in the All Nations Cup. “I played and coached in Seattle for 20 years before I moved here,” he says, “and I know soccer—its always been more competitive there than here. We have a huge disadvantage over the players on the other side (Seattle), due to the winter and not having an indoor facility. Outdoors is snow starting November until April…the fields are closed so no soccer for us.”
Javier Reyna was a key founder of Wenatchee FC Men of the EPLWA. Now he’s the General Manager of the NCW Alliance Women. His team will host the men’s action as the new Wenatchee club plays Snohomish. It will be a moment of the old and the new coming together. Reyna says he is lending the yellow shirts once worn by Wenatchee FC to Capusan for his club to wear on March 30 at the Apple Bowl.