The Kitsap Puma’s signing of forward Borce Atanasov mid-way through the 2015 season addedceven more firepower to the already prolific Pumas attack. After performing well for the Pumas in a few of their preseason games last season, Atanasov was unable to sign for the Pumas as a result of his commitment to finishing his education at Oregon State University. However after completing the school year, the Pumas coaching staff saw it as a great opportunity to finally add Atanasov to the squad.
“Borce did well for us in preseason and although we would have liked to have had him for the entire summer, it was great to bring in a fresh player of his quality in the lead up to play-offs ” said Head Coach of the Pumas Cameron MacDonald.
The Pumas who were an impressive 6-0-1 when they signed the Macedonian forward went on to finish the PDL regular season with an undefeated record of 10-0-2 en route to claiming their second straight Northwest Divisional title. Atanasov would go on to appear in all six remaining games for the Pumas where he scored one goal off a header from a set piece in a 2-0 victory over Washington Crossfire.
“Playing for Kitsap helped me a lot with becoming a more complete player,” said Atanasov. “It was a perfect stepping stone for my career because it gave me a glimpse of what being a professional soccer player demands. Not only did I learn what it takes to be successful on the field but through being involved in coaching kids soccer camps, fundraisers, and volunteer work I also learned that supporting your community is just as important as supporting your teammates.”
While the season didn’t end quite as Atanasov had hoped when Kitsap surprisingly exited the playoffs in the Western Conference Semifinal, his short time at Kitsap did undoubtedly provide him with the platform he needed to develop as a player.
“Playing for the Pumas gave me the chance to learn from great coaches and play with a high caliber of soccer players, which I think helped prepare me for my career in Europe,” said Atanasov. “I would say the most important lesson I learned playing with Kitsap is to put your ego to the side and always work for the team.”
Following the conclusion of the 2015 PDL campaign Atanasov went back to his native country of Macedonia where he was signed by Academy Pandev, who is primarily a developmental club that competes in the Macedonian Third League.
“A couple years ago when I went to Macedonia to visit family I got the opportunity to train with Academy Pandev and it was incredible,” said Atanasov. “So when the PDL season ended I decided it would be best for my career to return there.”
After showing well in a pre-season game against FC Horizont Turnovo, who compete in the Macedonian First League, Atanasov was asked to sign with the top-tier club.
“Although it was tough to leave the club that gave me my start I decided to transfer because it allows me to play at the highest level in Macedonia and it also gives me a better shot of being scouted by bigger clubs in Europe” said Atanasov.
As he embarks upon a new challenge playing at the highest level of his career thus far, Atanasov accredits much of his success to the influence that his previous coaches and clubs had on his development.
“I just want to say thank you to the mangers at both Academy Pandev and Kitsap for believing in me and helping me become the player I am today,” said Atanasov. “This transfer makes me want to work even harder and I am going to do my best to help Turnovo be successful on the national and international level.”