PORT ANGELES – The Peninsula College soccer program has become a “Pirate Pipeline” to high level national university soccer.
A crowd of soccer players, coaches and parents filled the College’s Cornaby Center annex Wednesday, National Letter of Intent Day, officially signing letters committing to colleges and universities from Alaska to Alabama and from Texas to Connecticut.
“It’s a credit to our coaching staff, to the hard work of our student athletes, and to all those who support them here at Peninsula and in our community,” Director of Athletics Rick Ross said. “Director of Soccer and Head Men’s Soccer Coach Andrew Chapman, Head Women’s Soccer Coach Kanyon Anderson, and their staffs do a terrific job preparing their players to play at the university level. That’s one of the reasons they are so successful recruiting talented players. It’s no secret that our graduates are having tremendous success at the next level.”
It’s also no surprise that two teams that each won back-to-back championships in Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges soccer play, and two teams that are nationally ranked, would produce players physically and academically capable of playing on.
Headlining the list of signees for the women’s team are Bri Afoa, Annie Armstrong, Shelbi Vienna-Hallam and Deidra Woodward.
Afoa, of Kapolei, HI, will play her next season at Division I Eastern Washington University in Cheney. She was the NWAACC Baden Player of the Year in 2012, the West Region Player of the Year in 2012 and 2013, the NWAACC Tournament MVP in 2012 and an NWAACC All-Star in 2012 and 2013.
“Bri leaves here with her name everywhere in our record books,” Anderson said. “I suspect she will have that same kind of legacy at Eastern Washington.”
Armstrong, of Olympia, landed a scholarship at Division I Louisiana Tech University, located just east of Shreveport. The midfielder and team captain was an NWAACC All-Academic winner and an NWAACC All-Star in 2013.
“Annie is the best defensive midfielder in the league in my opinion,” Anderson said. “Her toughness and ball winning ability make her a special player.“
TUKWILA – The storied Peninsula College soccer program continues to write history.
Dating back to the first soccer title match in 1974, no college had ever won back-to-back championships with both its women’s and men’s teams until the Pirates completed their second straight dream season Sunday night with thrilling victories over Edmonds and Clark in the 2013 Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges Soccer Championships, held at the Starfire Sports Complex.
Peninsula’s soccer program is a family. They share coaches, they train together, they travel together and they are each other’s biggest supporters. On Sunday night, they celebrated and cried tears of joy together, hoisting their trophies, posing for photos and enjoying the fruit of labor that began on a practice field back in mid-August.
“It was definitely one for the history books,” Director of Athletics Rick Ross said. “We have something going on here that is pretty special. Great coaches, great student athletes and great fans.”
“I know we were the favorites, but the NWAACC is loaded with great athletes and great coaches and our kids had to work hard to repeat – and it didn’t come easily. We had some adversity. We had a call that didn’t go our way in the women’s match on Saturday and we had a starter who was injured in our men’s match on Saturday, and both teams rose to the occasion and brought back the trophies. I couldn’t be more proud.”
The largest crowds of the tournament where there in black and gold, many sporting Pirate scarves, to see it unfold and to cheer on the Pirates through two windy and rainy semifinals on Saturday – and then more stormy weather on Sunday.
For the men, currently ranked seventh in the nation, it was their third NWAACC Championship in four years. The road to the championship was also historic, as the Pirates, who held the No. 1 ranking in the NWAACC from post to post, finished with a 21-0-2 record, the best ever by an NWAACC men’s soccer team.
The women also did something no NWAACC team has ever done. In just the fourth season of soccer at Peninsula, the women made three championship match appearances and posted two titles. They went 20-2-0 and were unbeaten against community college opponents. They finished the season ranked No. 13 among the nation’s junior colleges and also as the No. 1 team in the NWAACC.
Alex Martinez repeated as the men’s Most Valuable Player of the Tournament and Dominique Niedziela won the Tournament MVP award for the women.
TUKWILA - Peninsula College soccer fans who can't make the trip can check out the 2013 NWAACC Finals Live on UStream.
The Pirate women play Walla Walla in one semifinal at 1:00 on Saturday and the PC men also play Walla Walla in their semi at 6:00. The winners play in the NWAACC Championship matches Sunday at 3:00 and 5:30.