The Kitsap Pumas Professional Soccer Club has elected to resign defender Matt Eronemo for its 2016 season.
Eronemo, who featured at both right back and center back for the Pumas last season. His aggressive play mixed with his will to win helped lead the Pumas to an impressive record of 10- 1-2 in PDL play as they claimed their second consecutive Northwest Divisional title and Ruffneck Cup.
“My role is to defend our goal as well as I can and communicate to my team at all times,” said Eronemo. “I also try to raise the standard in practice in terms of sharpness and fitness to help increase the team’s overall production and success.”
Pumas head coach Cameron MacDonald was understandably delighted to have Matt on board for the upcoming season; “Matt epitomizes hard work and dedication. Guys like him are the first names on your team sheet each week as you know you are going to 100% effort and commitment”.
While that commitment to refining his game allowed him to play a pivotal role for the Pumas all last season, his passion for the sport started at a much younger age.
“I grew up with a ball at my feet,” said Eronemo. “I played just about every sport as a kid and always enjoyed the beautiful game even though my best friends all played basketball.”
After growing up in the Seattle area, Eronemo played two seasons for Bellevue Community College where he helped lead the Bulldogs to a NWACC Championship his second season in 2010. His outstanding play earned the tenacious defender an NWACC All-Star team nomination the same year as well as a scholarship to Concordia University in Portland, Oregon.
Eronemo’s consistent play at center back for the Cavaliers over two seasons helped build the program and culminated in leading his team to an appearance in the Sweet 16 of the NAIA National Tournament.
“It was always my plan to play college soccer,” said Eronemo. “I was fortunate enough to have coaches who believed in my abilities and gave me the confidence to succeed. I will never forget the relationships I built throughout my college years and the success that came with all the hard work we put in together.”
His outstanding individual performance while at Concordia not only earned him a Second-team All-Cascade Collegiate Conference (CCC) nomination his first year but also a First Team All-CCC nomination his second season in 2012.
Following his standout play at the collegiate level, Eronemo competed against the Pumas in the PDL during the 2014 Campaign as he captained the Puget Sound Gunners.
“Playing for the Gunners was a great learning experience for me,” said Eronemo. “Every game was very competitive and it taught me how consistent you must be to be successful in your craft.”
After the conclusion of that season, Eronemo elected to attend the Kitsap tryouts in hopes of being signed to the Pumas 2015 roster. After an exemplary showing at the tryouts, Eronemo was signed to the squad.
Eronemo went on to start 14 games in all competitions for the Pumas and scored a crucial goal off a corner kick when the Pumas faced divisional foes Seattle Sounders u23s at home in front of a packed Gordon field. He was third on the team in minutes in divisional play with 981.
The team was a pleasure to be a part of. It was a professional and lively environment at all times. We had talented players from all over the globe which made for a great season both on and off the field.
Although the season didn’t end as Eronemo had anticipated in the Western Conference Semifinals, he plans to build from the past season this time around.
“I hope to accomplish another successful season,” said Eronemo. “We know we didn’t finish last season the way we should have. That’s life but let’s not take away from the amazing season we had as a group. I look forward to more of the same this upcoming season”
Eronemo continued, “I feel the Pumas is the right place for me to be for another season. I get mentally, technically, and physically better every day in this environment. I can’t wait to get started.”
Transaction: Kitsap Pumas sign defender Matt Eronemo on Feb. 18, 2016
Born: Nov. 12, 1989
Hometown: Kent, Wash.
Citizenship: United States
Acquired: Signed on Feb. 18, 2016