PORT ANGELES - The nationally-ranked Peninsula College Pirate soccer teams will take to the pitch one time this year at the annual Rumble in the Rainforest, sponsored by High Energy Metals, coming up Saturday at Sigmar Field.
The Pirates will host men’s and women’s teams representing the Olympic Force and the Seattle Stars, for a full slate of matches, beginning at 10 a.m. and concluding at 5:30 p.m. Admission for a day of soccer is $5.
Although the matches are all exhibition, it will mark the collegiate head coaching debut of Jake Hughes, who was recently hired to take the helm of the Pirate men’s team.
“The rumble is a great way for our program to prepare our sophomore players to move on, and our incoming players to regain some sharpness for the upcoming season,” Hughes said. “It will be an exciting and challenging event against two good teams.”
Saturday’s Rumble will also be the first action for veteran coach Kanyon Anderson since winning his third Northwest Athletic Conference women’s soccer title in November.
“We are excited to continue this cool tradition against two really good teams,” Anderson said. “ I am also happy to be able to highlight the awesome facilities at Peninsula and have a soccer celebration for our fans each spring.”
The Olympic Force Soccer Club, based in Bremerton, represents players from the Kitsap Peninsula and surrounding areas. It’s roster includes players who are preparing to start college, players who are in college, and players who have completed their collegiate playing careers and are looking to play at a high level. The women’s team, coached by Jason Jarrett, plays in the Northwest Premier League and the men’s team, under the direction of coach Steve Cashmore, plays in the Evergreen Premier League.
The Seattle Stars, based in King County, were founded in 2011 and have a similar make-up of players as the Olympic Force. The women’s team, coached by Chris Wells, and men’s team, coached by Omar Lara, also play in the same leagues as the Force.
PORT ANGELES – For the second time in his seven-year career as head women’s soccer coach, Peninsula College’s Kanyon Anderson was named Northwest Athletic Conference Coach of the Year Wednesday.
Anderson, who’s 2016 Pirates won the NWAC championship for the third time, also won that award in 2011. He will be presented with the award at the NWAC’s annual awards banquet in June.
The coach who was hired when Peninsula started a women’s soccer program in 2010, has won Region Coach of the Year awards in 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2016, as well as 2014 when he won the men’s soccer region coach of the year honor.
He credits his team for this year’s NWAC-wide recognition.
“First of all, it’s not too hard to win with this much talent,” he said. “We were loaded this year and literally had all-star caliber players coming off the bench at nearly every position. On top of the talent, this year’s team was so quick to pick up concepts that I found myself having to work hard just to stay ahead of them.”
And while Anderson downplays his success as a coach, it’s his hard work as a coach, and as a recruiter, that has led to his success.
“Kanyon is the premier women’s soccer coach in the NWAC and I’d put his credentials up against any junior college soccer coach in the country,” said Rick Ross, Associate Dean for Athletics and Student Life. “Because we play in the NWAC, he doesn’t get to compete for a national title, but the success he’s had over the last six years is unprecedented and ranks right up there with the best programs in the country. He’s very deserving of this honor.”
His 2016 Pirates finished with 19 wins, one loss and one tie. That record is the second best in the nation behind 25-0-1 Paradise Valley, the National Junior College Athletic Association national champions. Ironically, the Paradise Valley women’s only tie came to the NWAC’s third-place finisher Spokane in non-conference play.
Peninsula also ran off a streak of 18 straight wins in which they allowed only two goals. They finished the season scoring 93 goals and allowing six in 21 matches. It was also a team effort, as 21 of the 25 players who aren’t goal keepers scored goals.
TUKWILA – The Peninsula College Pirates, who won their third Northwest Athletic Conference championship Sunday, joined four other colleges as the winningest women’s soccer program in NWAC history.
The 2016 Pirates opened their season going 1-1-1 in non-conference play against the NWAC’s top three teams, giving up four goals. Peninsula then steamrolled the North Division, winning 15 straight matches to capture their sixth straight region title, before winning three straight playoff matches to claim the NWAC title. During that 18-game winning streak, the Pirates gave up a remarkable two goals.
“This is mentally the toughest team I have ever coached and this is the most enjoyable victory of my career,” said head coach Kanyon Anderson, adding that, as a relatively new head coach who won NWAC titles in 2012 and 2013, he was less able to relax and enjoy the moment.
Anderson was at the helm when Peninsula College launched the sport of women’s soccer in 2010. He took a team of 17 women, soccer players, basketball players and softball players, and managed a 6-7-6 season – and a second-place finish in the West Division.
Since that year, his Pirates have won 117 matches, lost 11 and tied seven, winning every league title (four in the West and two in the North where they moved in 2015), qualifying for the Final Four every year, and emerging as the strongest women’s community college soccer program in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. They are ranked No. 12 in the nation and almost guaranteed to move into the top 10 this week.
Peninsula’s three championships ties Columbia Basin, Tacoma, Clackamas and Walla Walla for the most in NWAC history.
“This team did everything we asked of them this year,” Anderson said. “They met every goal they set for themselves, so even when the game was tense, there was a sense that we would win.”
To say Sunday’s championship was tense might be an understatement – at least to the big crowd of Pirate fans who came from all over the West Coast, and Hawaii, to watch the icing applied to Peninsula’s championship cake.
Peninsula fans, who included a very vocal and supportive men’s soccer team, as well as members of the basketball program, outnumbered Highline fans who play their home matches at Starfire Stadium.
Those fans watched, on the edge of their seats, for two scoreless 45-minue halves, one scoreless overtime period, and five minutes into a second OT before the goal of the season ended the match and sent the Pirates into a celebration in front of the Highline goal.
That goal came when Ellie Small intercepted a Highline goal kick near midfield, heading the ball into the middle, where Bri Vallente sent a through ball to teammate Maddy Parton, creating a foot race between the freshman speedster and Highline's Tea Lopes. Parton won that race to the baseline, passed the ball back into the box through Lopes’s legs where Vallente was on a dead run toward the goal. The sophomore striker from Waikoloa, Hawaii slotted her shot between the near post and a diving Thunderbird keeper Rachel Thompson for the Pirates’ 93 goal of the season, setting off a celebration that lasted long into the damp Tukwila night.