PORT ORCHARD, WA—Port Orchard Football Club (GoPOFC.com) was announced on January 8, 2023 as the latest new club joining the men’s alignment of the Cascadia Premier League.
(This article was originally featured on GoalWA.)
“It’s been a whirlwind few weeks for us,” says POFC Coordinator David Falk. “We’ve been talking with CPL officials while at the same time measuring local player interest. Our original goal was to start playing in 2024. It would have been a slow, measured approach. However, the feedback we were getting was that there might be a special window of opportunity in 2023.”
The Year Is Now
That ‘window of opportunity’ was a combination of player availability, league expansion and the overall elite adult soccer scene in Kitsap County. “At the heart of this new club is the desire to give elite local players a place to compete closer to home,” says Falk. “Our online player interest survey feedback is showing a solid base of talent that might miss out on an entire year of playing in a premier league if we didn’t start up now.” Further, there are signs that guys are up for coming from around the region. “We’ve had interest from across the bridge in Tacoma all the way up to Silverdale, Bremerton and around Kitsap County.”
The Cascadia Premier League is expanding both its men’s and women’s leagues. Kitsap Alliance FC is joining with a women’s team out of Silverdale in 2023. Bainbridge Island FC featured a men’s team last year in the CPL but their status for 2023 is unsure. Harbor Force (Harbor Soccer Club, Gig Harbor) played in the CPL for several seasons but no longer fields a team.
“While it would be nice to have a year to plan a roll-out, there is something for just getting started and learning as you go. Especially when you have players looking for a place to play,” Falk says.
Kitsap County FC Morphs Into POFC
There was a time when Silverdale or Bremerton were Falk’s main target to start a CPL team. Kitsap County FC (The “Cormorants”) were planned out but launched without much community feedback back in 2020-21. Covid-19 hit and everything stalled. The CPL played no matches in 2020.
“It was a time of evaluation and reflection for all of us,” Falk says, “both personally, as communities, and soccer-wise. I thought I was done trying to launch clubs (he helped launch and operate the Snohomish County FC Steelheads from 2017 through 2021.) I’m a “PO” guy. Over 40 years here. Port Orchard Football Club is benefitting from a lot of the planning done with KCFC. This time though people in the community are getting involved early and giving it life.”
Soccer Community Comes First
Putting their adult soccer community first, POFC is jumping in with both feet in 2023. Recently revealed Head Coach Patrick Leonard has already been featured in the Kitsap Sun. Sam Ironside is on board as General Manager.
“We will be announcing more coaches and staff in the coming weeks and we hope players will see that we offer a fresh approach to playing and a chance to build something special,” Falk says. “It’s a ‘soccer decision’ to start playing this year.”
The club does already have a logo, an official website, social media platforms, even a initial online store. “We will be working hard to establish the operations and community partnership side of POFC,” says Falk. “It’s just that now this will happen while also getting ready to hit the pitch at the same time.”