By Rob Shore
BREMERTON, Wash. — Kitsap Soccer Club midfielder Jesus “Chuy” Sanchez and center back Tyler LaCourse were named to the NPSL West Region Best XI announced by the league on Friday.
Sanchez and LaCourse were the only members of the Northwest Conference Division to be selected to the all-region team.
The 26-year-old Sanchez earned the recognition in his fourth season with Kitsap SC / Kitsap Pumas. He played 11 games and started 10, including both playoff games, scoring one goal with six assists. More than that, Sanchez was often the engine that made Kitsap go — in Kitsap’s signature 3-2 comeback victory over FC Mulhouse Portland on May 26, he assisted on the last two goals.
Sanchez was Kitsap SC’s captain for much of its inaugural NPSL season, which saw the team win the Northwest Conference Division title and advance to the conference semifinal before falling to CD Aguiluchos USA.
“I think it’s a testament to how well the team did this year,” Sanchez said of the all-region nod. “We didn’t get to our final objective, but any time you earn individual awards, it’s an acknowledgement of the team doing so well.”
The 19-year-old LaCourse was a mainstay for Kitsap at the back this season, making nine starts and appearing in every game this season in a defense that allowed 12 goals during the regular season, lowest in the Northwest Conference Division.
“It’s a huge honor; I’m so excited to hear that,” said LaCourse, who is preparing for his sophomore season at Oral Roberts University. “It’s a really cool experience for me personally, especially getting some confidence going into my college season. I think it will help going forward.”
LaCourse also scored twice in 2017, including an equalizer in injury time in a 2-2 draw against Pierce County on June 11.
“I thought we had a great season and had a great group of guys,” LaCourse said. “The chemistry on the team was unlike any team in the league. I’ve played on other NPSL teams, and you don’t find that anywhere else. To be able to get a division title and go to the Western Conference semis — I’m bummed to not get farther than that.”
Sanchez agreed with the sentiments.
“It was a very good season considering it was our first year in the league,” he said. “It was a very good season for how far we got.”