BREMERTON, Wash. — The Kitsap Pumas will take on Seattle Sounders 2 in a preseason friendly on April 23, the club announced today. As part of the Pumas Preseason Party, the club will also host an Army-Navy match between Joint Base Lewis McChord and Naval Base Kitsap the same evening.
“We’re excited for what should be a good event showcasing soccer in Washington state,” Pumas head coach Cammy MacDonald said. “We hope both Pumas and Sounders fans will come out to see some of the best young talent in the area.”
The Army-Navy match kicks off at 5:30 p.m. at Gordon Field, on the Kitsap County Fairgrounds, followed by the Pumas-S2 match at 7 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults (16 and older) and $2 for children. The matchday experience for this special event will be similar to a regular-season game, with the same vendors, a beer garden and a kids section for cheering and singing.
“We are excited to play Kitsap again this year,” Sounders 2 head coach Ezra Hendrickson said. “They provided tough opposition in last year’s Open Cup, and I’m sure that will be the case again this year.”
The Pumas met S2 in the second round of the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, where the teams battled to a 2-2 draw before S2 won, 4-2, with two extra-time goals. After that meeting, S2 picked up Pumas forwards Mike Ramos and Hiroki Kobayashi and midfielder Nick Hamer on short-term loans in June and signed midfielder Carlos Patino in September.
S2 exercised its contract option on Patino in December, locking him in for another season with the USL side. The Sounders are one of several clubs that Kitsap works with to give its players a chance at the next levels of soccer in North America.
“We’re delighted that Carlos was able to use the Pumas as a stepping-stone to a higher level. Our club model is based on giving players like him a chance to be full-time professionals,” MacDonald said. “We’re happy to continue our relationship with the Sounders, and we’re hopeful that we might have some players on our squad this year who can do the same as Carlos.”
Meanwhile, both the Army and Navy have held tryouts across the region ahead of their grudge match in April. The game between the two should be competitive, but also fun and a good chance to celebrate the Armed Forces.
“We’re thankful for our military families in the Bremerton area that have been big Pumas supporters since the inception of the club,” MacDonald said. “We host a Military Appreciation Night every season and offer discounted tickets, but hosting this match is another way we want to show our appreciation.”
The Pumas Preseason Party is the penultimate friendly on Kitsap’s schedule before opening the 2016 regular season on May 7 at home against the Victoria Highlanders. Kickoff for that match is set for 7 p.m. at Gordon Field.