Washington Premier FC’s General Manager and Women’s Head Coach, Adam Becker took time away from his busy schedule to answer questions about, not only his squad, but the Men’s side as well. WPFC had formerly gone by South Sound Shock and is a founding member of their regional men’s league in Washington, the EPLWA – additionally, they helped to found the Northwest Premier League, a women’s regional league with sides in Washington as well as Oregon. Becker’s women’s team finished 2nd in 2016, before the playoff era of NWPL began and the men’s side, now led by club Technical Director Roy Lassiter of USMNT fame, had never finished outside the playoffs and has now won their league back-to-back-to-back.
Tell us about WPFC - when was the organization founded and what is the overall mission? When did you add a men's premier team to EPLWA and a women's team to NWPL?
The U23 program was founded in 2016/2017. Previously the men’s side competed in the EPLWA and the USASA U23 national tournament as South Sound FC. Our first year with Premier we were named the Washington Premier South Sound Shock, I know it’s a lot hence the simplification of the name to just Wpu23. In previous years it was only a men’s side but Premier was open and willing to add a women’s program into the newly formed NWPL.
Some clubs work with youth programs, and some work without; for Washington Premier FC, how do you incorporate players who have come up through the ranks to the EPLWA and NWPL level? Do you have to augment your elite rosters with collegiate players or local talent who might not have come through your academy?
At premier we use athletes from all aspects. We use current WP youth aging from 16yrs - 18yrs, collegiate athletes from all over and Wp alumni. You do not have to come through premier to play for this team. We’ve had athletes from all over the United States, Brazil, Australia and China.
Working with college-level student athletes comes with obstacles, do any of your players get compensated for their play for your men's and women's sides? Do they have to pay for their own player cards and training equipment to avoid NCAA eligibility complications?
Whenever working with college athletes there are certain obstacles. As our preseason and season begins most D3-D1 schools are in their spring league. During that time players aren’t available to play for anyone other than school. As the season winds down depending where their college is located some athletes have to return early. So, you can imagine the complications that might arise with scheduling and team chemistry.
Have any of your women or men players moved into the pro ranks? Have any coaches, who might have started off as assistants or positional coaches, moved on to larger clubs?
The men’s side has been able to move guys onto the next level. The women’s side is still new to myself (only coaching for two seasons). But for the men:
Vince McClusky - Tacoma Stars Pro
Derek Johnson - Tacoma Stars Pro
Sam Sizette - Tacoma Stars Pro
Eddie Na - Tacoma Stars Pro
Mike Arguello - Tacoma Stars Pro
Kodi Lida - Canadian Premier League
HFX Wanderers FC
Getting guys to the pro level is always a positive, I believe the work we do with the youth to prepare for college is priceless. Several guys have been able to move from community college to D1 programs as well.
It would seem that Washington Premier FC has a built-in support base, with the youth players being able to watch and support the EPLWA and NWPL squads - do you draw supporters from outside the organization? Are there fans coming through the gates; does WPFC need that revenue stream?
We have a good local community outside of the Premier “family”. The core of our men’s team plays for myself on the Tacoma Star Reserve team competing in the WISL so we draw fans from there. The core of the women’s team plays in local leagues and draws a great crowd. It’s not about revenue for home games, it’s about creating a fun, safe family environment where we play an exciting style.