|Full name||Kitsap Pumas|
|Stadium||Bremerton Memorial Stadium
|Head Coach||James Ritchie|
|League||USL Premier Development League|
|Website||Club home page|
Kitsap Pumas is an American professional soccer team based in Bremerton, Washington, United States. Founded in 2008, the team plays in the USL Premier Development League (PDL), the fourth tier of the American Soccer Pyramid, in the Northwest Division of the Western Conference.
Kitsap are the reigning PDL champions, having beaten Laredo Heat 1-0 in the 2011 PDL Championship game on August 6, 2011.
The team plays its home games at Gordon Field Park, Kitsap County Fairgrounds. The team's colors are blue, white and gold.
Kitsap also fields a professional indoor team which currently plays in the Northwest Division of the Premier Arena Soccer League. The indoor team played in the Professional Arena Soccer League for one season. All Kitsap Pumas home games are web streamed.
The long term goal of the organization is to build the club up into a USL Pro side. The current owner was a minority owner in the USL 1 Seattle Sounders club prior to its move up to Major League Soccer.
The Pumas were one of four expansion teams in the NW Division of 2009 PDL season along with the Victoria Highlanders, Portland Timbers U23s, and Seattle Wolves. The Pumas played their first official game on May 2, 2009, a 5-0 victory over the Spokane Spiders, with the first goal in franchise history being scored by Tony Kerr. The Pumas qualified for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in their first year beating the Cascade Surge 3-0 at home on the final day of qualifying, outlasting the Portland Timbers U23's by 1 point. Their stay in the tournament was a short one as they lost to the USL Division I Portland Timbers 3-0 in front of a record crowd of 2,128.
Kitsap rebounded with victories in its next five games to take a commanding lead in the Northwest Division. The Pumas became the first team in the PDL to clinch a playoff spot, doing so on July 5. They missed a chance to take the division when they gave up a goal in stoppage time against the Timbers U23 on July 4, but defeated the Abbotsford Mariners 1-0 on July 11 as Stephen Phillips scored off an Alex Megson assist to earn the team's first ever Northwest Division title and a first round playoff bye.
Kitsap went on to beat the Seattle Wolves in their first ever play-off match 2-0 in front of a new club record attendance of 2,328, before losing to the Ventura County Fusion 2-1 in the PDL quarterfinals in Laredo, Texas.
On August 11, it was announced that head coach John Wedge would not return for the 2010 PDL season. It was later revealed by Wedge that the loss to the Fusion cost him his job. On November 9, 2010 the club announced the hiring of Pete Fewing as its new head coach.
Kitsap got off to another strong start for the 2010 season as they won their first five games to qualify for the U.S. Open Cup for the second straight season. They defeated the NPSL Bay Area Ambassadors 4-2 for their first ever win in the tournament. They lost to the Portland Timbers in the second round, the second time in as many years they were eliminated by the then USL-1 club. The Pumas also had problems with the Portland Timbers U23's as well, losing 3-0 and 1-0 in regular season contests. Despite not repeating as division champs, Kitsap clinched the second and final playoff spot by defeating Vancouver 6-2 on July 20.
Kitsap was selected to host the Western Conference playoffs and outlasted the defending champs Ventura County Fusion on penalty kicks in their semifinal match. It was the first time in club history that a match had gone penalty kicks. Dustyn Brim made a save while Jamel Wallace converted the winning penalty attempt. But the Pumas did not have enough energy to outlast the eventual PDL national champions, losing 2-1 to the Portland Timbers U23's.
The Pumas made a strong start to the 2011 season, but their early results were matched by Portland Timbers U23's, who also made a strong start to the season, with both teams tied in all statistical qualifiers for the U.S. Open Cup. Instead of holding a lottery, the Pumas persuaded the Timbers and the USL to let their next regular season match against each other double as a qualification for the tournament. Kitsap beat the Timbers 3-2 as Robby Christner scored a brace while Bryan Meredith - who was drafted by Seattle Sounders FC - made a key save on a penalty kick to help the Pumas become the first PDL team to qualify for the Open Cup their first three years as an organization. The Pumas defeated the Chivas El Paso Patriots in a first round Open Cup match in penalty kicks. Goalkeeper Zac Lubin - who was starting in place of an injured Meredith - held the Patriots scoreless for the entire match. He then made two saves in the penalty shootout, which went nine rounds before Bryan Burke converted in the ninth round to send the team into the second round of the tournament. They defeated the Real Colorado Foxes 3-1 to set up a first-ever official meeting with the Seattle Sounders (the two teams had played in closed door scrimmages the last two years.) Seattle defeated Kitsap 2-1 in a match that saw the Pumas miss on two chances on goal to upset the two-time defending Cup champions.
Back in league play, Kitsap stayed undefeated for much of the season, clinching a second division championship with a scoreless draw against Abbotsford. They lost their first ever international friendly - a 1-0 defeat against Football League Two side Port Vale - and their last game of the season against Victoria Highlanders, missing another chance to run the table for the regular season. The playoffs were a much different story, as Kitsap defeated Ventura County Fusion 1-0 and upset the Fresno Fuego 1-0 to win its first ever Western Conference title. The match against Fresno ended a 25-game winning streak by the Fuego. Daniel Scott scored in injury time while Meredith made a save off a penalty kick attempt by PDL MVP Milton Blanco a few seconds later to ensure the win. Kitsap returned home to host the PDL championship and made it pay off, as they defeated the Thunder Bay Chill 3-1 and the Laredo Heat 1-0 to win its first ever national title. Christner scored the game's lone goal off an assist by Burke.
Notable former players
This list of notable former players comprises players who went on to play professional soccer after playing for the team in the Premier Development League, or those who previously played professionally before joining the team.
- Leon Abravanel
- Jason Cascio
- John Fishbaugher
- Cameron Hepple
- Tony Kerr
- Max Lipset
- Bryan Meredith
- Jamel Wallace
- Bryan Burke
- Daniel Scott
- Derby Carrillo
|Year||Division||League||Regular Season||Playoffs||US Open Cup|
|2009||4||USL PDL||1st, Northwest||Conference Finals||1st Round|
|2010||4||USL PDL||2nd, Northwest||Conference Finals||2nd Round|
|2011||4||USL PDL||1st, Northwest||Champions||3rd Round|
|2012||4||USL PDL||3rd, Northwest||Conference Quarter-Finals||1st Round|
|2013||4||USL PDL||5th, Northwest||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
Note: Click US Open Cup for competition wiki. Click league for league season wiki. Click on year for team's season wiki.
- USL PDL Northwest Division Champions 2009
- USL PDL Northwest Division Champions 2011
- USL PDL Western Conference Champions 2011
- USL PDL Champions 2011
- Bremerton Memorial Stadium at Bremerton High School; Bremerton, Washington (2009–2012)
- Gordon Field Park, Kitsap County Fairgrounds (2013-current)
Attendance stats are calculated by averaging each team's self-reported home attendances from the historical match archive at http://www.uslsoccer.com/history/index_E.html.
- 2009: 768
- 2010: 825
- 2011: 568
- 2012: 438
- 2013: 605
The official Kitsap Soccer Club crest was designed by Joel DuChesne, who won a competition held by the club to design a logo for the team prior to the 2009 season. Pumas owner Robin Waite said “We were floored when Joel’s entry came it. It struck so completely at the heart of what the Kitsap Soccer Club is all about – traditional, authentic, yet modern, clean and looking to the future. He absolutely nailed it.” As his prize, DuChesne was presented with tickets to the club’s opening match against Tacoma Tide on May 15, 2009, and a pair of full 2009 season tickets.
- "Kitsap Briefs: Pumas tie South Sound on late goal". Kitsap Sun (Bremerton, WA). December 15, 2012. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
- "Wedge won't return as Pumas Coach". Examiner. 11 August 2009.
- Jeff Graham (June 22, 2010). "Kitsap Pumas Survice Open Cup Thriller". Kitsap Sun. Retrieved August 29, 2011.
- Jeff Graham (June 22, 2010). "U.S. Open Cup: Pumas Felled by Timbers". Kitsap Sun. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
- John Becerra, Jr. (July 21, 2010). "Pumas Punch Ticket to Playoffs". Kitsap Sun. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
- Jeff Graham (July 31, 2010). "Kitsap Pumas Beat Ventura, Advance Today to Showdown With Portland". Kitsap Sun. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
- Jeff Graham (August 1, 2010). "Pumas Run Out of Gas in Playoffs". Kitsap Sun. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
- Jeff Graham (May 31, 2011). "Pumas, Timbers to play for Open Cup berth". Kitsap Sun. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
- Jeff Graham (June 3, 2011). "Pumas top Timbers, gain Open Cup berth". Kitsap Sun. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
- Nathan Joyce (June 21, 2011). "Kitsap Pumas have date with Seattle Sounders". Kitsap Sun. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
- Jeff Graham (June 28, 2011). "Sounders knock Pumas out of Open Cup 2-1". Kitsap Sun. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
- Jeff Graham (July 9, 2011). "Pumas want more after earning division title". Kitsap Sun. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
- John Becerra Jr. (July 19, 2011). "English visitors not so friendly to Pumas". Kitsap Sun. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
- Jeff Graham (July 31, 2011). "Pumas win conference title, will host league finals". Kitsap Sun. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
- Jeff Graham (August 5, 2011). "Kitsap Pumas advance to PDL championship game". Kitsap Sun. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
- Jeff Graham (August 6, 2011). "Pumas beat Heat to claim PDL Championship". Kitsap Sun. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
- Chuck Stark (Oct 27, 2011). "Waite makes the call; Fewing won't be back with Pumas". Kitsap Sun. Retrieved Oct 27, 2011.
- Jeff Graham (Nov 29, 2011). "Pumas select Ritchie as next head coach". Kitsap Sun. Retrieved Nov 29, 2011.