Monday, May 6, 2019
We are within two weeks of the Season Opener and WPSL debut for the Spokane Shadow. We caught up with coach Kevin Moon about how things are shaping up on and off the field.
As is usual with the trickle of college players reporting, a handful have been training for a week or two with your Spokane Sounders sides - how is that going?
It's going well, we have our WPSL players training with our 2001 Girls as they are preparing for the state cup finals next weekend. We will see 6-8 more players joining us this week with another 5-7 joining us the following week. Chloe Williams is going to be joining us for our home opener and it has been a lot of fun to be reunited with her in the training environment. She is someone our club players look up to and aspire to be like, so to actually get to train with her is special for them.
Given the player arrival dynamic - how do you attack the challenge of creating the team and preparing them for the start of the season?
This is the most difficult challenge for us this year. Understanding how we want to play takes a little time and we will not have our full strength roster until June. Thankfully we still have a good amount of experience with Chloe, Megan Lindsay, Grace Hancock, Allison Raniere, Larkin Russell and Morgan Crosby with other new players joining us for the home opener. This also may allow for some of our graduating seniors to find their way onto the game day roster and possibly the field.
Success sometimes can be a double-edged sword. You have a lot of elite high school players that will likely be in the WPSL pool, but they are [and you as coach] advancing in State Cup and Far West Regionals - how does that factor into how you approach the season?
Its a situation where we just have to make it work but with Daman Hagerott, Vito Higgins and Robyn O'Connor on our coaching staff it will not be a problem. The players on the roster headed to Far West Regionals will leave the morning of June 16 for Boise and I will fly out to join them later that evening after our WPSL game. If we find ourselves in the semifinals of the FWR tournament then our coaching staff will take over. Daman is one of my mentors so they might actually be in better hands!
Related: More About Women's First Team [+]
The ladies were a top team in the regional NWPL. What are your expectations and goals for the debut campaign in the the WPSL, a prominent national league?
We know that we have a lot to learn about this league, it's teams and what competition looks like at this level. The NWPL was a good starting point for us but we know that the WPSL is a massive jump up when it comes to teams we will face. Just looking at other teams' rosters and where players on other teams are from you know from the start that every game will be challenging. We also have a great opportunity to travel to the Seattle Sounders Women to face the defending national champions in our first road game. I am looking forward to seeing what the top team in the country looks and plays like!
There is a lot of stuff going on the behind the scenes courtesy of new and fantastic sponsor Northern Capital Management - what kind of details or sneak previews can you share?
I can't say enough about Northern Capital Management and their President Jim Wilson. Their sponsorship is what allowed us to get the team off the ground and to enter the Women's Premier Soccer League. Jim and Northern Capital Management understand the importance of providing our community's female athletes with a platform to continue playing in the offseason or once they have finished playing college soccer. The WPSL is just one step below National Women's Soccer League, the professional level of soccer in our country. Northern Capital Management has done more than back us financially, they have taken the lead on many of our game day promotions and entertainment. They are providing us with fun things for kids to enjoy before the game and at halftime. There are some really cool surprises for kids attending our games. It is going to be a fun party like atmosphere!
Community Support: Courtesy of Northern Capital Management, the leading sponsor for the Women's First Team, all of the regular season WPSL Spokane Shadow matches will be free for attending fans. NCM is the first of many new area businesses and organizations supporting the women's team this year. They are joined by: MultiCare Rockwood Integrated Sports Medicine, Clearwater Summit Group, Lyte Balance, BECU and Spokane Sports Commission.
About WPSL: The WPSL is in its 22nd season and is the largest women’s soccer league in the world with more than 100 clubs from coast-to-coast. WPSL rosters feature elite collegiate, post-collegiate, international and standout prep student-athletes. Many of the United States’ most accomplished women’s players have played in the WPSL, including household names such as Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach, Megan Rapinoe, Julie Foudy and Brandi Chastain.