Monthly Archives: May 2012

Vote for Pumas’ Man of the Match for May

VOTE NOW: Who is the Pumas’ Player of the Month for May?
Like Kitsap Pumas Fans’ Page and vote! Voting will end June 7. A framed and matted 5″x7″ award will be presented to the Pumas Player of the Month immediately after the next Pumas’ home match on June 9.

This award is sponsored by the Hellcats and Kitsap Pumas Elite Supporter Groups and new to this season. Voting done online thru facebook Kitsap Pumas Fans’ Page.

We will also be awarding a Player of the Year as well as other awards yet to be determined. Those will be online via facebook and possibly thru ballots in the Pumas’ match day programs.

Pumas get first victory against Victoria

Kitsap’s roller-coaster start to the season Sunday as the team beat Victoria 1-0 on the road. It’s the Pumas’ first victory at Victoria in four tries.

With the victory, Kitsap improves to 3-2-0. The team had been winless on the road, losing games to Vancouver 3-0 and Portland 4-0.

Kitsap’s next game is Wednesday against Washington Crossfire at 7 p.m. at Redmond High School.

Ritchie on Open Cup loss: League is most important

Not that the Pumas wouldn’t have liked to beat Cal FC and advanced to face Wilmington in the second round. But with Kitsap already facing a busy schedule the next two weeks, I don’t think being free of Open Cup obligations is the worst thing in the world — not for a team still trying to find its way in the PDL.

“The league is the most important thing,” Pumas coach James Ritchie said today.

Here is a story previewing Saturday’s game against the Seattle Sounders U-23.

Pumas/Cal FC Open Cup: Cal FC 3, Pumas 1 Final

The Kitsap Pumas are about to begin their first round U.S. Open Cup game against Cal FC at Bremerton Memorial Stadium. Look for updates on Facebook at Kitsap Pumas Insider.

Danny Barrera gets the only goal in the first half in the 44th minute.

Kitsap gets back into the game after consecutive goals by Danny Barrera. Matt Friesen scores in the 72nd minute.

Arthur Aghasyan makes it 3-1 in the 86th minute. That should wrap it up.

Pumas/Fraser Valley: Kitsap wins 6-0

So much for the Pumas being in trouble after losing their season opener in Vancouver. They looked supremely in control during a 6-0 shutout of Fraser Valley. Kyle Johnson had two goals, while Chris Bettencourt, Greg Miley, Ben Truax and Justin Robbins had one apiece.

Thought the team really did a fine job of keeping its shape up and down the field. Really liked how Danny Medina got up the field from his left back position. Midfielders Kyle Johnson, who was at left back last game, and Greg Miley consistently put Fraser Valley under pressure out wide. Ben Truax is looking like the second coming of Bryan Burke, while Chris Bettencourt did well to stick with it after misfiring on some offensive chances. John Becerra will have a story in the paper Sunday, while I’ll have an Open Cup advance for Tuesday.

Just some other thoughts about the game: Medina, love the clean-shaven head. Makes him look….dangerous. Played very confident out there…. Not sure what hairstyle Dustyn Brim is sporting — maybe his wife can explain? — but nice effort to fill the team water bottles at halftime. That’s blue collar right there. … Somebody always seems to find a way to take a hack at Steve Mohn’s bad left ankle. … Zac Lubin with a fingertip save to keep the shutou intactt. … Justin Robbins (Mr. Pink Mohawk) wins the award for first defender to score a goal this season.


Pumas looking to rebound Saturday

Adversity isn’t a word normally used when discussing the Kitsap Pumas.
After all, the defending Premier Development League champions entered the season with a 36-5-8 record in regular-season games. They’ve never lost two games in a row.

Yet the Pumas are going into Saturday’s home opener against Fraser Valley looking to avoid their first losing streak after dropping a 3-0 game to Vancouver last week.
Kitsap, which will be wearing pink jerseys to support breast cancer awareness, has dominated Fraser Valley — formerly Abbotsford — in the previous three seasons. The Pumas have won all six matches, outscoring their opponents 17-4.

Kitsap welcomed back a familiar face this week in Elliot Fauske. The defender/midfielder played for the Pumas last season, serving as a part-time starter/super sub. He was added to Kitsap’s roster (at least the one listed on the PDL site) recently, but he wasn’t with the team during preseason and I’m not sure if he was in camp with any other PDL clubs. I’ll try to find out the circumstances regarding his addition on Friday.

Fauske is an overage player, but with Taylor Hyde still working his way back following hip surgery, he can fit on the roster. But I don’t think Hyde is too far away from returning, so the club has a decision to make regarding its overage contingent.

Bird’s Blog: A night to forget in Vancouver

Needless to say, this wasn’t how we envisioned the start of our season.

We have no excuses. There is no explanation. We just got outplayed, and we paid for it.

The key now is to move on and get ready for the home opener next weekend. In a way, we needed to lose on Friday because it showed us that just because you’re the defending national champion, it doesn’t mean your you-know-what doesn’t stink.

We’ll take the positives from that game — we played much better in the second half  than the first — and move on.

Of course, it’s good to think about what happened for a couple days, but it’s not healthy to dwell on it. By the time training rolls around tomorrow morning, the game in Vancouver will be a distant memory.

It’s time to flush this one.

In a long season, teams can’t get caught up thinking about the mistakes — the games in which they played poorly, the games they should have won, the goals they should have scored or shouldn’t have let in — because it distracts from the task at hand.

The good thing about soccer is that you almost always get a second chance, and you almost always get on the field soon after the last time you were on it. We train several times a week, and we sometimes play three games in a week’s time.

Part of what separates average players from professional players from world-class players is the mental aspect of the game. The only play, the only session, the only game that matters is the one right in front of you; the last one and the next one don’t mean anything.

That’s one of my weaknesses as a player that I’ve been working to fix. Sometimes, I over-think things. I “get in my own head,” as the saying goes.

It’s one of the strangest skills to train. The way players get better at all other aspects of the game is by doing something — taking 1,000 repetitions, watching game film, talking to coaches — but not this one.

It’s against every instinct I have as a player to not do anything, but that’s the key here.

Don’t think. Just act.

Pumas sign Stoddard, release Rappolt

Writing a Pumas column, but just wanted to share a bit of news. The Pumas have signed Justin Stoddard to a contract. The former USL Sounder was an assistant coach last year and played for Kitsap’s indoor team. He and Greg Miley, who signed recently, are the last two overage players to sign with Kitsap. The others are Dustyn Brim, Steve Mohn, Taylor Hyde, Matt Friesen and Kyle Johnson.

In other news, Brim will start in goal in Friday’s game in Vancouver and the team released defender Pierre Rappolt.

Bird’s Blog: Training camp

(My apologies to Liviu for not publishing this earlier. New fatherhood has my brain running in all directions!)

Last week week, we got away for a couple days as a team (minus one or two guys) and had a short training camp on Whidbey Island at Camp Casey. If you couldn’t tell by the fact that we had to stand in the sound to ice our legs, it was a tough one.

We arrived on Wednesday at around 3 p.m. and moved into our dormitory-like accommodations. The three coaches had their own room, while the rest of us piled in four, five or even six to a room. I pulled Steve Mohn, Daniel Fabian, David Meherg, Zack Sampson and Enrique Hidalgo as roommates.

We ate dinner as a team at 6 and had a soccer tennis session at 7:30. Soccer tennis is a really fun game to get the legs moving and work on our touches. None of our games were quite as intense as Cristiano Ronaldo and Rafa Nadal’s — although Enrique tried a couple of bicycle kicks on the hard gym floor — but it was a good start to camp.

The next morning, we were up before breakfast to go for a run. We ate and prepared for our first on-field session of camp. After that session, we went for another run as a team.

After lunch, most of the guys were asleep, while some of the college students did homework (or at least I did, but I think I may have been the only one). After the second session, we went for our Puget Sound ice bath.

The day was not yet over, though. After dinner, we had another soccer tennis session. At this point, our legs were starting to drag a bit, so it wasn’t quite as sharp as the session the day before. Just ask my partner, who shall remain nameless but struggled to keep any ball inside the court.

The next morning, we went for one last team run and cleaned up the house (former Army barracks) in which we stayed.

Training camp is always an interesting experience. Something about sleeping in the same room as five other guys who are equally sore brings a team together. That’s probably the biggest benefit to being able to go away for a couple days together; the team feels closer now than last week.

It’s also an advantage we have at Kitsap that other PDL teams don’t usually get because most of their players are finishing up spring seasons with their college teams.