By Rob Shore
BREMERTON, Wash. — The Pumas are back.
The Bremerton-based soccer team will be rebranded as the Kitsap Pumas starting in 2018, taking on the identity it held as a PDL expansion club in 2009 until moving to the NPSL last season.
“It’s good to be back,” Pumas owner Robin Waite said.
As Kitsap Soccer Club in 2017, the team won the NPSL’s Northwest Conference Division in its first season, going unbeaten away from home during the regular season and advancing to the Western Conference semifinals.
But many fans had a hard time not calling Kitsap SC the Pumas. Now, that won’t be a problem.
In reverting to the Pumas moniker, the club taps into a history that goes back to the foundation of the club in 2009. The Pumas won the 2011 PDL title, defeating the Laredo Heat 1-0 in the championship game. As the Pumas, they also advanced to the 2014 title game and won four division titles.
The Pumas also own a formidable history in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as the first PDL club to qualify for the tournament. They advanced to the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup in 2016 before falling to the Seattle Sounders.
In 2018, Kitsap will look to add to its NPSL honors. Only with a new name.
“We had a great year this year,” Waite said. “But I expect as the Pumas, we’ll be even better.”