BREMERTON, WA – The weather was near perfect as a group of 85 players, some hailing from states as far away as Florida and New York, participated in the 2016 open tryouts for the Kitsap Pumas today at Gordon Field.
Pumas owner Robin Waite was amongst the crowd of local fans and volunteers who watched the large turnout of players at the tryouts conducted by the Pumas coaching staff.
In addition to the East Coast states, there were players from Texas, Louisiana, Colorado, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Kansas and Maryland as well as players from Canada and the United Kingdom who made the trip to Washington. Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana and Nevada were also represented.
“We had a lot of good talent here. The level was pleasantly surprising,” said Cameron MacDonald, Pumas head coach. “The large turnout is a testament to the direction the club is going. More and more people want to become a part of this organization as it evolves.”
Some of the more recognizable names were Vancouver Victory and Corban University defender Aaron Kines and former FC Tacoma 253 forward Abdinur Galgalo. Galgalo competed against the Pumas in the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and made it to the invitational round of the Pumas tryouts the same year.
Three former Highline CC players – right midfielder Jules Mugisha, left midfielder Glody Divava and forward Yves Mugisha – were also present, as was former Seattle Sounders academy defender Marcus Machado.
Players were assessed in small-sided games as well as technical drills before moving to full field games. 2015 Pumas players Cory Keitz, Rene DeZorzi, Buba Jammeh, Trevor Jensen and Ash Apollon all took part throughout the day, testing potential signings.
“Having some of the 2015 players out there helped give the coaching staff a good benchmark when evaluating” MacDonald said, adding he is in negotiations with a couple of potential returners. “We’re in the early stages of the conversations with a few of last years guys and we’ll see how those develop in the coming weeks.”
The coaching staff will have plenty of tough choices to make as to which players will be invited back for the second round of tryouts in February.
The invitational round of tryouts will take place at Gordon Field on the Kitsap County Fairgrounds, on Feb. 13 and 14. A number of players from the open will participate, as well as a new round of players identified by the coaching staff as capable of competing for a contract.