By Rob Shore
The Kitsap Pumas had three players named to the NPSL’s Northwest Conference Division on Friday, with striker Uriel Herrera, midfielder Alvaro Rubio and defender Jack Sluys honored by the league.
The NPSL’s Conference XI teams were selected by the teams, media, fans and supporters through an online voting process.
Herrera, who shared the Pumas’ team lead with three goals, quickly developed into an attacking mainstay. Among his goals were a match winner in injury time in a 2-1 victory over OSA FC on June 2. Herrera played for Whatcom Community College in 2017, scoring seven goals.
Rubio was the heart of Kitsap’s midfield throughout the season, providing defensive cover for the back line. The Spaniard scored a late equalizer on a penalty in a 2-2 draw with Spokane SC Shadow on May 20. Rubio is set to return to Fairleigh Dickinson University for his senior season this fall.
Sluys, a native of Gig Harbor, started every game in defense for the Pumas and was a steadying force in his first season with the club. Sluys will take his skills to Fordham University this fall.
Each Conference XI includes one head coach, three defenders, four midfielders, and three forwards. The Conference XI winners automatically qualify as nominees for the 2018 NPSL Region XI teams.
Division champion Spokane SC Shadow had five named to the Northwest Conference Division XI in head coach Mike Pellicio, goalkeeper Bryan Hernandez, defender Spencer Wolfe, midfielder Tanner Williams and forward Mike Ramos. Runner-up FC Mulhouse Portland had three players named to the squad in defender Alex White, midfielder Ryan Middleton and forward Fred Braun.
PDX FC midfielder Ryo Asai also earned a place on the Conference XI.