Pumas: 10 Survive First Tryouts; Friendly Scheduled Against UW

Jeff Graham’s got the latest news coming out of Pumas headquarters. Kitsap’s pro soccer club will take on the University of Washington in a friendly in April. But first, the roster needs to be finalized. They’re a long ways from that, but the first step was taken last weekend when the Pumas held tryouts at Gordon Field at the Fairgrounds. Click here to see a photo gallery of the tryouts.

You can read Jeff’s story below. And here’s a post, with photos and videos, from David Falk of the Seattle Examiner.

By Jeff Graham
jgraham@kitsapsun.com
The Kitsap Pumas held their first round of tryouts last weekend at Gordon Field in Bremerton.
In total, 10 players made it through. Five will be brought back during the team’s invitational tryout session Feb. 26-27, while five were offered spots on the Pumas’ reserve team.
Of the five who received invites for the end of the month tryouts, goalkeeper Vito Higgins is the biggest name. The former Gonzaga University graduate earned a spot with Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy two years ago, but a foot injury derailed any potential advancement he had with the club.
Also making it through Kitsap’s first round of tryouts were midfielder Ben Funkhouser, a Gonzaga graduate, midfielder Fernando Gonzalez, forward Tiago Silva and defender David Miller.
Kitsap executive director Ben Pecora said the five trialists will join current Pumas players at the next round of tryouts. Players who competed for Kitsap last season but are not currently under contract will also be in attendance, as will players from around the globe who the team has scouted.
Two Kitsap players who won’t be able to make the Feb. 26-27 tryouts are forward Tony Kerr and midfielder Alex Megson.
Kerr was recently named to England’s national beach soccer team. He’ll be competing in Spain from Feb. 27 through March 6 in the Fuerteventura tournament. Megson, meanwhile, is competing for the Milwaukee Wave of the Major Indoor Soccer League, which ends its season in March.
It if appears the Pumas are searching all avenues to find potential players, they are — and for good reason.
As a professional PDL club, Kitsap can roster a maximum of eight players who turned 23 before Jan. 1, 2010.
Twelve players from Kitsap’s 2009 team were 23 or older before the start of the year, as was recently signed defender Daniel Scott. That means the Pumas will have to make some interesting decisions before league play begins on May 1.
“The challenge will be with the overage guys,” Pecora said.
The Pumas are also the process of building a reserve team. Pecora said reserve players — who retain amateur status — will assist in training and help the club build toward possibly making the jump from the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League to USL Division 2, where there is no 23-and-over rule.
Pecora said two of the players from last weekend’s tryouts who were offered a spot on Kitsap’s reserve team were Bainbridge High senior Jimmy Baggett and Will Devereux, who is a member of the Pumas’ U-17 pro-youth team.
Pecora also confirmed the Pumas will play a friendly against the University of Washington men’s soccer team April 24 at Bremerton Memorial Stadium.

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