Kitsap Press Release - www.kitsapsoccerclub.com
Tuesday, February 10
BREMERTON, WA – The Kitsap Pumas of United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League announced today that John Wedge will be the team’s first-ever Head Coach. Wedge then named his coaching staff, Peninsula College Head Coach Andrew Chapman and the club’s Director of Youth Development, James Ritchie as his Goalkeeping Coach.
The assembly of this staff completes an extensive search by the club’s front office. The full coaching staff will be on-hand the next two weekends for the club’s first open tryouts for prospective professional players.
“We’re excited to have John on board,” said Pumas Owner Robin Waite. “He may have one of the most extensive coaching resumes on the West Coast. When you add the energy, enthusiasm and pedigrees of James [Ritchie] and Andrew [Chapman], we may end up with one of the best staffs in the league.”
The announcement also allows the club to begin signing players. Ritchie has been in Europe on an extensive scouting junket that could yield immediate results.
“I’ve seen some very good players that have studied us and like what they see,” said Ritchie. “Contrary to some thought in this country about our sport, players very much want to come here.”
Kitsap’s head man being a native of West Yorkshire, England, Wedge can easily relate to the European players Ritchie has been scouting. Wedge grew up playing, and then coaching soccer. In 1978 he graduated from Trinity and All Saints College and Leeds University with a B.Ed. degree in Human Movement. He immigrated to New York City in 1979 where he taught Physical Education and coached soccer at Tilden H.S. in Brooklyn.
“This is a life-long dream for me,” said Wedge. “To coach at the professional level, in a great organization, in a great community – I cannot tell you how excited I am.”
Wedge, nicknamed “The Professor,” by fellow coaches across the country, has an extensive background coaching at all levels of the sport, has founded a club and an academy, has led teams to national championships and has run soccer facilities.
Wedge is a Director of the Bainbridge Island Soccer Academy and is the WSYSA Regional Director of Coaching for the Kitsap Peninsula. He has been a staff instructor with the Washington State Youth Soccer Association since 1985. He holds a USSF “A” coaching license – the only coach in the region with this distinction – plus a National Youth License and the Premier Award of the NSCAA.
Chapman has more than twelve years of coaching experience at the youth, high school and collegiate levels – the past six at Peninsula College. Additionally, he spent two years as an assistant coach under George Hageage at the Division I Eastern Washington University. Since coming to Port Angeles, Chapman had received his National B license from the United States Soccer Federation. He also has his Advanced National Diploma and Director of Coaching Diploma from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. Chapman was named West Division and NWAACC soccer Coach of the Year in 2007 after his team won the West Division title and finished fourth in the NWAACC. Chapman was also named 2008 West Division coach of the year. In the past four years, Chapman has posted a 45-28-14 record and has been in the playoffs all four years with back-to-back Final Four appearances (2007 and 2008). Chapman has a Master’s of Science in Physical Education with emphasis in Pedagogy/Coaching and Sports Management/Administration from Eastern Washington University (2003). Chapman is also the physical education coordinator for Peninsula College.
“I was born in Bremerton and attended Olympic High School where I played soccer for four years and graduated in 1997,” said Chapman. “I also played for Tracyton Soccer Club for 14 years. I graduated from Olympic Community College in 1999.”
Ritchie was named the club’s youth development director this past November and brings an incredibly deep coaching resume to his position. He has coached at the youth, high school and collegiate level across Scotland and the United States and brings a veritable steerage trunk of accomplishments and licenses.
Ritchie has lived on Bainbridge Island the past several months. His duties, in addition to coaching the professional goalkeepers, will also include oversight and coordination of the club’s outreach programs to youth and adult players in the region along with the coaches.
“To be involved with the Kitsap Pumas is a great honor,” said Ritchie. “It gives me the opportunity to work with, and shape some of the country’s most talented players. The knowledge that I can help a player get to a level that they could not achieve on their own is very rewarding. It will be a privilege to work alongside great coaches such as, John Wedge and Andrew Chapman.”
“By bringing professional soccer to Kitsap Mr. Waite can make the aspirations of many young players a reality,” continued Ritchie. “The peninsula has a vast number of young players who want to compete at the top level. We can help them reach that aspiration. Over the next several years I hope to see a large proportion of players coming through our youth development program and reaching the first team.”
Season tickets for the club’s inaugural season are now on sale at price points of $45, $75 and $90, per person, for the full season. To purchase, please visit the club’s website at www.kitsapsoccerclub.com or call the club’s headquarters. The club also announced its first-ever “Pyramid and Pumas Viewing Party at the Clearwater Casino,” highlighting the 2010 World Cup qualifying match between the United States and Mexico.
Festivities begin at 3 PM (PT) sharp in the Casino’s Sports Bar and last until the conclusion of the match. As mentioned above, the club is also holding its first open tryouts this Saturday in Poulsbo, Washington at the North Kitsap High School Stadium. Invitational tryouts will follow. For further information, please visit the club’s website or call 360-377-6008.