Sports

Kitsap Pumas expand operations, join pro indoor league

Umbrellas will be left at home. Beer will be sold. The games will be played at breakneck speed.

The Kitsap Pumas have launched a professional indoor soccer team in addition to the outdoor squad, joining the Professional Arena Soccer League for the 2010-11 season, the club announced Monday.

Kitsap will begin the season Nov. 13 on the road against the Tacoma Stars before its home opener against the Wenatchee Fire Nov. 20 at the Olympic Soccer and Sports Center at Pendergast Regional Park in Bremerton.

“It’s an experiment, so we’re going to have fun with it,” said Ben Pecora, club executive director.

Indoor soccer is much different than the outdoor game, from the number of players per side to the size of the field to the speed of the game.

Traditional outdoor competition features 11 players per side, but the indoor game is played six-on-six — five position players plus a goalkeeper. Arena fields are smaller, artificially surfaced and enclosed by walls, like hockey rinks.

The indoor game is fast-paced, players say, requiring foot speed and quick decision-making. Many athletes join indoor leagues during the outdoor offseason, which for the Pumas is August to April.

“It’s about getting more touches and staying in shape,” said Mark Lee, who won an arena league championship with the Tacoma Stars in 2009 and is an all-league defender for the Pumas’ outdoor squad.

Lee has played the past two indoor seasons with Tacoma, but it would be a natural transition if he moved to the Pumas given his ties to the organization. Lee has been a member of Kitsap’s outdoor club since the inaugural 2009 season, emerging as one of the league’s top outside backs.

But neither the roster nor coaching staff had been finalized as of Wednesday, Pecora said, though the club had narrowed its list of coaching candidates to seven.

Pecora said the position will be filled “soon.”

“We want somebody who has charisma, believes in competition and can carry the torch,” Pecora said.

Meanwhile, the roster will feature 14 players.

Those athletes have yet to be selected, but in all likelihood some of them will come from the Pumas’ outdoor team. Outdoor players Steve Mohn and Robbie Christner play in the Professional Arena Soccer League and could leave their current teams for the Pumas.

“We hope they are a part of what we are doing,” Pecora said.

Inside the arena

• Pecora said Wednesday that beer will be sold during home matches, something that hasn’t been offered to fans at the outdoor games played at Bremerton Memorial Stadium.

• Seating arrangements have yet to be finalized, but Olympic Soccer and Sports Center Director Dennis Michael said there’s enough space to bring in portable grandstands in addition to the mezzanine seating currently available. There also is seating behind each goal.

• Michael said the center’s capacity is about 800 people. The Pumas hope to draw 500 fans per game, Pecora said.

• Individual match tickets: Children 4 to 15, $5; adults, $7; and children under 4, free. Additional information: (360) 377-6008 or www.kitsapsoccerclub.com.

• The Olympic Soccer and Sports Center is located at Pendergast Regional Park in Bremerton, 1199 Union Ave. W.

Give it a kick

There will be open tryouts for the Pumas’ indoor team from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 9 at the Olympic Soccer and Sports Center. Pre-registration will begin at 10:30 a.m. and the fee is $50.

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