International Portland Select
Normally Spotlight is a Monday column, but some of the material in this article would be outdated if we waited till next week.
A Cornerstone of Portland Amateur Soccer Gears Up for the 2019 USOC
From their foundation in the Greater Portland Soccer District (GPSD) in 1989 to their most recent back-to-back Kennedy Cup wins (2014/15)—International Portland Select has been involved and representing Portland well in all things soccer for nearly 30 years. Players from the last few years of their rosters can now be found in the squads of both NPSL soccer clubs in Portland (PDXFC and recent NPSL Semi-Finalists FCMP)—there is a long history of providing opportunity to get on the pitch to players from all over the world and then helping them push themselves into the next level.
In 2016, IPSFC entered the US Open Cup and hosted UPSL side Colorado Rush in the first round of qualify matches—unfortunately, they suffered a lopsided defeat, losing 0-4 to the visitors from Littleton Colorado. Head Coach Harvey Hurst, a familiar face in the Portland soccer scene, and the IPSFC board, decided to give it another go in 2017’s competition. Behind goals from Joao Cunha, Cody Guthrie and Nathaniel Pogue, the boys-in-red were able to top the visiting Boise Cutthroats, 3-2. This earned them a trip to Englewood Colorado to take on another UPSL club, Indios Denver FC.
IPSFC went down early and though they scratched back into the match with goals by Pablo Salinas-Correa and Stalwart Nathaniel Pogue, the club was knocked out of the USOC again, and sent back to Portland. A year later, the team is once again in the qualifying rounds of the highly-regarded national soccer competition, and will be looking to advance even further than the last couple attempts. The match is on October 21st, at Rob Strasser Memorial Field at Delta Park and first kick is at 7:00 PM. IPSFC will go into the match with a little momentum too, having just beat fellow Oregon Premier Soccer League (OPSL) team, Logrones behind a hat-trick from Golden Boot leader Nathaniel Pogue.
To get a little more information about the history and mission of “one of the most prestigious amateur soccer clubs in the Portland metro area,” I shot off a few questions to the team. Mr. Perry Hammond, Director of Marketing and Business Development and Head Coach Harvey Hurst were kind enough to provide some answers and tell us about an upcoming event, important to the organization.
Tell us about IPSFC; Why and how long ago was the club founded?
Upon arriving in Portland, Oregon, in 1989 from England, Jerry Fay joined Southport United in the GPSD, winning the championship in his first season. Pat Kirk soon took over as team manager and changed the club’s name to International Portland Select in 1996, when they joined the newly formed Oregon Premier Soccer League. Jerry had met current head coach Harvey Hurst in the early ‘90s and, together with Pat, they co-founded the OPSL and entered their team in the competition. The founding of the league was aimed at competing at a higher level than the “Sunday leagues” of that time, such as the GPSD. Jerry continued to play and eventually assisted Harvey with the coaching, winning many titles along the way, before moving into his current role as Director of Soccer.
Are your badge and colors inspired from any clubs from around the world; what inspired the name and the logo?
There wasn’t really any affiliation for the badge/colors.
The name was inspired by the fact that we were always open to international, as well as domestic, players. We continue to focus on remaining international; in recent seasons we've had players from 15 different countries.
You compete in the OPSL; what level of soccer is that--how competitive is it and is there a sense of parity from club to club or do one or two clubs stand out above the others?
It’s high-level amateur, comparable to the 4th division in US Soccer. A lot of players have played in the Premier Development League at some point. We have former and current pro players competing. For example, one of our former players, Dustin Corea, currently plays professionally for FAS in El Salvador as well as the Salvadoran National Team.
Historically, IPSFC and Kells FC Swoosh have won the most league titles, although over the past four years, three new clubs have won championships.
How are you funded? How do you pay for league fees, kits, training equipment and the training ground fees?
Marathon Taverna has been an IPSFC sponsor for the past 12 years. We’ve held various fundraising events as well and also have out-of-pocket expenses from the coaches and board members. We’re always looking for new partners and donors (we’re a registered 501c3 non-profit organization)!
Can you tell us about the upcoming event? What is it for and what the money will go to?
The upcoming fundraising event is a concert/show being held at Slim’s PDX in the St. John’s neighborhood of North Portland on October 13th at 8:30pm. Several friends of ours who are DJs or in bands have volunteered to play (DJ PIZ and DJ Dullah and bands The Lesser Known and Bitches of the Sun). We will receive a portion of all revenues for the evening and will also be holding a live raffle with lots of cool prizes (both soccer-related and other). The money raised will go directly towards our participation fees in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the longest running national competition in the country. We’re hosting a 2nd-round match on Sunday, Oct. 21 against Nevada Coyotes FC at Strasser Field (Delta Park) at 7pm.
Lastly tell us about how you qualified for the USOC? How big of a deal is this for the club and after you win the first match, how far do you hope this will take you!?
This is the fourth time we’ve entered this tournament in Open Round Qualifying. We’re the only team from Oregon or Washington that has entered via the open track qualifying. Any team that fits within the tournament’s requirements can submit an entry.
This is a huge deal for our club. It helps us promote ourselves as a club and its big reward for our players who have put in so much hard work over the course of the year. This is something that all of them as players, and we as coaches/board members, look forward to. We hope to get through at least the next round and would like to still be in the tournament when March rolls around for the fourth or fifth round, where we would potentially get the opportunity to play a USL or MLS side.