By Rob Shore
The Kitsap Pumas announced the signings of striker Jorge Ruiz and defender Matt Eronemo on Monday, adding two familiar names ahead of the 2018 National Premier Soccer League campaign.
Ruiz led Kitsap Soccer Club with five goals in 2017, finding the back of the net in both of Kitsap’s playoff games.
“Whenever you can get your leading scorer back, that’s never a bad thing,” Pumas head coach Liviu Bird said. “Jorge came in and did very well for us last year, and we’re excited that he’ll be returning to do more of the same in 2018.”
As a sophomore for the University of San Francisco last fall, Ruiz had a goal and an assist in five starts. He scored the equalizer in the 84th minute in an eventual 2-1 victory over San Diego State on Sept. 8.
Ruiz, a 20-year-old who hails from Mission Hills, Calif., previously played for the Chivas USA and LA Galaxy academies,helping the Galaxy academy team to a national championship in 2015.
Eronemo, 28, rejoins the Pumas’ active squad after taking a year off in 2017 when he served as Kitsap’s strength and conditioning coach. He has the versatility to slot in at center back or right back.
“Matt is a guy who has been around the club for a number of years, and he did a great job staying involved with the team last year despite being on the mend from a long-term injury,” Bird said. “He’s back now and he’ll be a good leader for the younger guys who need to learn what it means to play at the intensity this level requires.”
Eronemo played all 270 minutes for the Pumas during their U.S. Open Cup run in 2016 and previously played for the PDL’s Puget Sound Gunners in 2013 and 2014.
Eronemo played collegiately at Concordia University and Bellevue College, winning an NWAACC championship at the latter in 2009.
The Pumas’ season kicks off with the start of training on April 30.