Monday, July 30, 2012

Shadow among pride of the Northwest at National Cup XI

In the end, only the Vancouver Timbers were able to come away as champions at the US Club Soccer National Cup XI in Chicago on Monday. But the Spokane Shadow were one of only three clubs from the region to advance to their bracket's championship game, reaching the U15G Premier final.

Overall, the teams representing the region struggled amongst the national competition in Waukegan, Ill. Only four of the 20 northwest-based teams were able to earn two victories and put themselves in contention to compete for a title – all on the girl’s side of the event. In addition to the Shadow and Timbers, FC Portland and the Northwest Nationals had outstanding results.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

FC Spokane’s River City Cup set for this weekend

The Plantes Ferry Soccer Complex in Spokane will be busy this weekend as 82 teams from the greater-Spokane area and a few visitors come together for the River City Cup, hosted by FC Spokane, which will have 24 teams in action.

The event, which raises money for cancer research through Coaches vs Cancer, will feature boys and girls brackets for each age from U11-14 with a pair of mixed older brackets, U15/16 and U17-19, at the upper end of the spectrum.

The list of clubs from the area is vast with eight representing Spokane Foxes/Pumas and five each from the Sabers, Breakers, Cheney Storm and XiFA. Spokane Valley FC United will have four teams along with the Scotties. Washington East is fielding three teams.

Four INW teams headed to USCS National Cup XI in Chicago

Four teams from the Inland Northwest are part of a 20-team contingent from the Northwest that are participating in the US Club Soccer National Cup XI this weekend, July 27-29, in Waukegan, Ill. The foursome consists of a pair of Spokane Shadow teams and the Idaho duo of Valley Thunder (Lewiston) and Idaho Thunder (Post Falls).

The other 16 Northwest clubs are from the other side of the Cascades. The event features 122 teams (64 boys, 58 girls) competing for 20 titles (10 for each gender).

The four INW teams are headed to the greater Chicago area as winners of the Northwest Regional tournament held June 23-26 in Seattle. The Spokane Shadow teams, a fraction of a successful turnout at the Northwest Regionals, will be competing for the U16 Boys Super and U15 Girls Premier championships. Courtesy of their Northwest Regional performances, the Idaho Thunder will be vying for the U17Boys Super crown while Valley Thunder, advancing as runners-up from the Regionals, are in the U16 Girls Premier bracket.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Spokane to host special collegiate challenge between Cascade and Frontier Conferences

Two Northwest NAIA Conferences have coordinated, in conjunction with sponsor Red Lion, a special event that will be hosted in Spokane pitting schools from the Cascade and Frontier Conferences against one another in a coordinated non-conference schedule for four sports. The 14 participating schools are all from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.

As part of the challenge, seven different schools will meet at Dwight Merkel Sports Complex over the course of two weekends in separate men’s and women’s schedules. The University of Great Falls (Frontier) will be in Spokane for both the men’s and women’s soccer events.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Spokane Shine withdraw from WPSL playoffs, replaced by Issaquah SC

Issaquah SC headed to the WPSL postseason in San Diego - Photo: Gerald Barnhart
After winning the Northwest Division championship over the weekend, the Spokane Shine withdrew from the WPSL playoffs Monday due to an inability to finance the  postseason trip to San Diego for the upcoming Western Conference playoff tournament. The team has been replaced by the second-place Issaquah SC, who are expected to announce the news officially this evening.

When asked about the withdrawal, team president Linda Davis said:

“Only two years young and look what the Shine team - owners, coaches, trainers, players, advisory board and fans - have accomplished: best in the Northwest. We could not be more proud to be the WPSL Northwest Division Champions. Now we look forward to year three when funding will allow us to fulfill our second dream, a trip to the WPSL Playoffs.”

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Stalemate in Seattle derby gives Spokane Shine NW Division title

The Spokane Shine players and staff may want to send a bouquet of flowers to each and every member of Emerald City FC this week, especially Kate Bennett.

Three weeks ago, the chances of the Spokane Shine advancing to the WPSL playoffs as winners of the Northwest Division looked dim. But the club kept grinding out results via narrow 1-0 victories and got just enough help elsewhere.

That aid came in the form of a hard-fought Seattle derby that saw Emerald City and Issaquah, both with postseason hopes on the line, play to a pair of 1-1 draws in the final week of the campaign. The first came Wednesday, giving the Shine hope going into the weekend, which included Friday's match against Emerald City - one of those 1-0 decisions for the Shine.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Back on top, Spokane Shine await Battle For Seattle result Sunday

Shine put forth best offensive effort of the season | Photos: Gerald Barnhart - Full Gallery - Facebook Gallery
The Spokane Shine did what they needed to the past couple weeks to put themselves in position to win the division title, wrapping up the campaign Sunday with a leisurely 6-0 win against the winless visiting Oregon Rush, though it was hard work beneath the baking mid-day summer heat.

“Wait by your phones,” head coach Jason Quintero told the team after the match.

The Shine now await the division’s finale – the second meeting in the Puget Sound showdown between Emerald City and Issaquah. Spokane needs Emerald City, whom they defeated Friday evening, to earn a draw or victory against now second-place Issaquah SC Sunday evening at 7:00 pm PT at Issaquah High School. EC controlled possession for much of the match Wednesday against their local rivals in a 1-1 draw in which they also hit the woodwork a couple times as well.

Squeezing out wins in second meetings no ‘fluke’ for Spokane Shine

Chelsie Breen, Stephanie Busch and Maggie Schrader have been key to Shine defense
“Fluke.” That’s what Spokane Shine head coach Jason Quintero said of Lisa Robertson’s goal directly off a corner in Friday night’s 1-0 win against visiting Emerald City. What is not a fluke, however, are two things the Shine are quickly becoming known for: grinding out wins and improving on previous performances.

“Seems to be our M.O.,” Quintero said of the final score. “I think this is our fourth one-nil win. We get one and we are so good in the back – and in goal as well – that we just don’t really get scored on that much.

“It’s a testament to Maggie Schrader, Chelsie Breen and Allison Jordan – and Shannon Lindsay was unavailable tonight – and then Averi Hallman. It’s just a great team effort and Stephanie Busch is just so calm; that really sets the tone for our defenders not to panic as well.”

Friday, July 13, 2012

Another 1-0 win for Spokane Shine keeps playoff hopes alive

Lisa Robertson was all over the pitch, delivered winner from the corner - Photos: Gerald Barnhart
The Spokane Shine have mastered the art of coming out on top in tight, hard-fought contests, earning their fourth 1-0 victory this season Friday evening against Emerald City FC in a battle of two clubs attempting to stay in the playoff picture. Former Scottish youth international Lisa Robertson provided the lone tally three minutes into the second half, handing Emerald City their first loss of the campaign.

The result eliminated the visitors from postseason contention, leaving the home club with a win to earn Saturday versus the winless Oregon Rush and relying on Emerald City to now provide a little help Sunday against Issaquah with at least a draw in the Battle for Seattle. The two clubs finished in a 1-1 deadlock Wednesday in their first meeting.

Final weekend a tough task for Spokane Shine with postseason at stake

The bench has played a key role for the Shine this season
The Spokane Shine will be front and center for the first two days of the weekend, playing host to two games that have playoff implications before all is said and done Sunday in the second half of the Battle for Seattle. The Shine host fellow playoff contender Emerald City Friday at 7:00 pm PT and the winless Oregon Rush Saturday afternoon at 2:00 pm PT. Both games are at Joe Albi Stadium.

Both the Shine and visiting Emerald City sit four points back of Issaquah SC, whom Emerald City plays again Sunday at 7:00 pm PT. The two clubs played to a 1-1 deadlock Wednesday evening in the Puget Sound showdown. While the result provided the Shine with two of the three points they needed Issaquah to drop to keep them in play, it made the weekend a lot more anxious and the scenarios a little more complicated with a three-way tie among the potential outcomes.

The Shine are coming off a positive weekend in which they posted a pair of 1-0 victories that directly eliminated Eugene Metro FC and Portland Rain out of postseason contention. Unfortunately, sometimes a win can also be a loss – as was the case Sunday.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Teenagers Marbury and Jordan shine under pressure

Mead's Kara Marbury (L) and Central Valley's Allison Jordan (R) - Photos: Gerald Barnhart
The WPSL Northwest Division title is up for grabs this weekend for the Spokane Shine. But no matter the results, the outlook looks bright for the club beyond the two matches versus fellow contender Emerald City FC (Friday, 7:00 pm PT) and winless Oregon Rush (Saturday, 2:00 pm PT) at Joe Albi Stadium. High school standouts Kara Marbury (Mead) and Allison Jordan (Central Valley) are a key factor in that potential.

“I am really excited for the next few years and what’s gonna happen. [Marbury] is gonna be something special for Spokane Shine fans for hopefully years to come, and she’s only 16,” said Spokane Shine head coach Jason Quintero, echoing similar thoughts later about 17-year old Allison Jordan. “Right now, just the growth she’s had in the past month, I don’t know what she’s gonna be like in a couple years for us – it’s gonna be something special.”

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

WPSL Seattle Showdown Part I finishes 1-1; NW Division title up for grabs

Race for division title will go to the wire for leaders Issaquah as Emerald City, Spokane lurk in shadows
When the word came down at the Spokane Shine training session Wednesday evening that Emerald City FC and Issaquah SC played to a 1-1 draw in the first of their two-games this week, there was muted optimism as they only got part of the help they needed in the playoff chase.

Wednesday’s result creates a myriad of scenarios for the division title that includes a three-way tie, something that would not be good for the Shine given their current goal differential. Spokane and Emerald City sit four points back of Issaquah. The Shine and Emerald City meet Friday in what is a must-win result for the Shine if they wish to avoid the three-way tie. Emerald City then returns to Seattle to face Issaquah again Sunday evening after Spokane plays host to the winless Oregon Rush  Saturday afternoon. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Gonzaga product Zach Scott recognized by Sounders fans with tifo

Former Gonzaga standout Zach Scott was honored by the Emerald City Supporters at the latest Seattle Sounders match Saturday versus Colorado with one of the group's special tifo displays.

The presentation was surf-themed for the Hawaii native, who played for the Bulldogs from 1998-2001 and has been a member of the Sounders lower division and MLS sides since becoming a professional. That 10-year span was part of the impetus for the recognition with a prominent banner stating: Hanging Ten For The Sounders.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Hope Solo accepts warning for accidental use of banned substance

It was announced Monday that United States national team goalkeeper Hope Solo of Richland, Wash. and the Seattle Sounders Women W-League team accepted a public warning from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for testing positive for a banned substance.

Spokane Shine edge Portland Rain on the road; playoff chase down to final week

With a short-handed roster and a tough road trip after a hard-fought victory Friday, it was not an easy task. But once again the Spokane Shine went on the road and picked up a 1-0 victory over an opponent that got a better result previously at Joe Albi Stadium as they topped the Portland Rain 1-0 Sunday on a goal from Darci Smith.

A must-win scenario for both sides, the Shine kept their postseason hopes alive and knocked Portland out of the race for the division title, leaving only the three Washington-based clubs to duke it out in the final week of the season.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Backs against the wall, Shine head to Portland after beating Eugene

It did not take long. Just a few minutes after the final whistle of their 1-0 victory over Eugene Metro FC at Joe Albi Stadium Friday evening, head coach Jason Quintero gathered his team and immediately turned the side’s attention to the task at hand Sunday. The minor jubilation from that point turned to focus on the Portland Rain.

“It’s gonna be tough. It’s a huge test for us,” said Quintero. “We gotta go up there, play one game and come back. We don’t get any hotel stay or anything like that. It’s another game where our backs are against the wall and we have to win if we wanna stay in the playoff hunt.

“I liked how our girls responded today knowing that they had to win. We played like we had to win from the get-go, and we’ll come out and do the same on Sunday.”

Spokane Shine snare late win against Eugene, keep playoff hopes alive

Tight contest decided by Shannon Lindsay, Kara Marbury and Averi Hallman | Facebook Gallery - Full Gallery
With both sides tied in the table and clinging onto postseason hopes, the Spokane Shine were saved by two fantastic plays from Shannon Lindsay and Kara Marbury in a 1-0 nail-biter against visiting Eugene Metro FC, who were officially knocked out of contention with Issaquah also posting an expected victory against winless Oregon Rush Friday evening (updated table below).

Defender Shannon Lindsay of the University of Montana made the first significant play nine minutes into the second half that loomed large in the overall result of the contest. A long ball up to the left-hand side of the box found Megan Marchesano, who saw Stephanie Busch coming out. Marchesano, looking for her second goal of the campaign, flicked the ball over Busch toward an empty net only to see Lindsay make a quick sprint and a miracle semi-bicycle kick effort to clear the high bouncing ball off the goal line. 

The match remained back-and-forth until the final quarter-hour when the Shine began to apply extra pressure, looking for the victory.

“About 25-30 minutes left – a tie was as good as a loss for us – so we started pushing players forward,” said head coach Jason Quintero. “We had to open up the game to get some more chances.”

The third in a series of fantastic opportunities for the Shine over the course of a minute-plus finally gave the Shine a chance to celebrate in the 79th minute as Kara Marbury, a 16-year-old striker out of Mead that committed to the University of Illinois this week, scored her first of the season. With the team already in the offensive third from the previous chances, midfielder Averi Hallman gathered the ball on the right side of the area and sent a solid ball inside the box to Marbury, who made an excellent near-post run and directed it past Elise Nord for what stood as the winner.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Spokane Shine coach Jason Quintero: Revenge is the theme of the weekend

The Spokane Shine have had two weeks off. Now they face a pair of two-game weekends to close out the season, clinging onto an outside chance of claiming the WPSL Northwest Division title and accompanying playoff berth. The task begins Friday evening at 7:00 pm PT at Joe Albi Stadium versus Eugene Metro FC.

To reach the postseason, the Shine would most likely need to win its final four games and get some assistance along the way. They finish the season the following weekend with a pair of home games Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, but first they must take one more road trip Sunday to play the Portland Rain, who were victorious, 2-0, in Spokane two weeks ago.

“Pretty excited about our chance here - we are not in control of our destiny like we would like to be; we still need help,” said head coach Jason Quintero after training Thursday night, knowing that the Shine also need Issaquah SC to drop three more points in their final three games, two of which are against their local rival Emerald City FC. “I like the fact that we still have a shot. And I like the fact that we are in kind of a midseason stride, I think; even though we didn’t play so well in our last game.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Always busy, Spokane Shine defender Averi Hallman enjoys embracing change

It's all about having fun for Hallman
Spokane Shine defender Averi Hallman is a dynamic and versatile athlete. It is something that has been a part of her life since the age of nine, making the changes she has faced in recent years merely something fun, instead of a daunting challenge.

Chief among those changes was a move from playing as a striker for Mt Spokane High School and the Spokane Shadow to moving across the country to the University of Memphis and later becoming a defender in her sophomore season with the Lady Tigers.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Eastern & Central Washington teams reach 6 finals, win 3 titles at USCS Regionals

Two dozen teams from six clubs in the greater-Spokane region traveled to Seattle for the US Club Soccer Northwest Regional Tournament June 23-26 along with eight other entries from Central and Eastern Washington - a total of 32 teams. Half of the entries advanced from group play, highlighted by the Spokane Shadow coming home with three championships.

Overall, the Shadow finished with Vancouver United as the clubs with the second-most championships won. Redmond-based Washington Crossfire finished with four titles, leading a group of Puget Sound area clubs that won 12 in total. Northwest Nationals (Lynnwood) and Eastside FC (Bellevue) won two each with Washington Rush (Everett), Washington Premier (Puyallup), Seattle United and Whatcom FC (Bellingham) each winning one.

Vancouver United (WA) led the collection of Portland-area clubs, a region that spans to Eugene as well as over into Washington. In addition to Vancouver United’s three titles, fellow Vancouver-based teams Salmon Creek SC, Santos FC and Pacific FC won championships. FC Portland and Eugene Metro FC won championships representing Oregon.

The Shadow won three of the seven titles claimed outside of the I-5 corridor. The other four to win were the Idaho Thunder (Post Falls), Missoula Strikers (MT), La Roca FC (Kaysville, UT) and Cook Inlet SC (Anchorage, AK).

The good and bad news is the report I was planning to do on all the Inland Northwest teams from Washington ended up being quite lengthy. For those interested in a particular region, check out the three sections I split the round-up into via the following links.


Spokane Shadow send 16 teams; win three championships [+]
Three advance to playoff rounds from Spokane quintet [+]
Three clubs do well for Tri-Cities, Central Washington [+]


Five clubs find success for Idaho at USCS Regionals in Seattle [+]
Missoula Strikers, Magic City lead Montana contingent at USCS Regionals in Seattle [+]

Spokane Shadow send 16 teams; win three USCS NW Regional championships

Part 3 of a three-part series recapping the performance of Inland Northwest clubs from Washington at the US Club Soccer Northwest Regional tournament held June 23-26 in Seattle. For an overall look at the event and links to other two parts, click here. 

This section covers 16 teams from the new-look Spokane SC Shadow - one of the six clubs that represented the greater-Spokane region.

Three advanced to USCS NW Regional playoff rounds from Spokane quintet

Part 2 of a three-part series recapping the performance of Inland Northwest clubs from Washington at the US Club Soccer Northwest Regional tournament held June 23-26 in Seattle. For an overall look at the event and links to other two parts, click here. 

This section covers SoccerEdge Academy FC, FC Spokane, Spokane Foxes, XiFA SC and Washington East SC - five of the six clubs that represented the greater-Spokane region.

Three clubs do well for Tri-Cities, Central Washington at USCS NW Regionals

Part 1 of a three-part series recapping the performance of Inland Northwest clubs from Washington at the US Club Soccer Northwest Regional tournament held June 23-26 in Seattle. For an overall look at the event and links to other two parts, click here. 

This section covers Three Rivers SC, Wenatchee Fire and Central Washington Soccer Academy.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Missoula Strikers, Magic City lead Montana contingent at USCS Regionals in Seattle

Missoula Strikers captured the U19B Super Group Championship
Five Montana clubs sent a dozen teams to the US Club Soccer Northwest Regional tournament June 23-26 in Seattle, and managed to bring back one regional championship trophy and a trip to the national finals. The contingent was led by six entries from Magic City SC with a half-dozen and three from Missoula Strikers while Flathead Soccer Camp, FC Bozeman and FC Missoula sent one team each.

Five clubs find success for Idaho at USCS Regionals in Seattle

Idaho Thunder - Champions, U17B Super Group
There may have been only seven teams from five different Idaho-based clubs at the US Club Soccer Northwest Regional tournament June 23-26, but they certainly acquitted themselves quite well with four teams advancing from group play. Three teams reached the final in their respective bracket with the Idaho Thunder’s lone team winning the U17 Boys Super championship.

“The Thunder U17B put all egos and attitudes aside, playing as a team determined to win regionals,” said Briggs Anderson, the team’s coach and the club’s Director of Coaching & Player Development. “All players played as a single unit not allowing for any weakness on the field. The intensity and team work put the Thunder back in Nationals where they will try to build on last year’s finalist result."