Sports

Done deal: Pumas, BSD finalize stadium agreement.

A lease agreement that will allow the Kitsap Pumas to play home soccer games at Bremerton High School’s Memorial Stadium is finalized.

Approved Jan. 22 by the Bremerton School District (BSD) Board of Directors, the three-year agreement calls for the Pumas to finance stadium upgrades in exchange for field usage.

The deal figures to benefit both parties. The Pumas now have a centrally located, grass stadium and BSD, with the economy in flux and its budget suffering, will receive financial help in improving the stadium.

“We’re looking to improve Memorial Stadium in any way we can,” said Wayne Linberg, the district’s director of finance and operations. “Right now we don’t have the funds to do that.”

Linberg said the lease grants the Pumas field access from May to August, months when high school sports are at a minimum. The new scoreboard, however, will be available for the district’s use year-round.

The deal hinges in part upon the Pumas becoming a profitable venture, something neither the club nor school district can predict.

“They feel that if they are successful, they can improve Memorial Stadium,” Linberg said.

The planned improvements include an 11-foot-by-15-foot video scoreboard and 1,200 to 1,300 additional bleacher seats to bolster the stadium’s capacity, which currently is about 3,000.

“It was just one of those things that had to be taken care of,” club owner Robin Waite said of the agreement. “It provides us with a good facility.”

The club also will move at least four drains from where they are now — on the playing field — to locations off the playing field.

“It’s just a liability to have them on the field because a player could step there and get injured,” Waite explained.

The Pumas will play eight homes games — the official schedule was released Wednesday — and also have expressed interest in hosting a four-team invitational tournament sometime during the summer.

The season-opener is May 2 against the Spokane Spiders at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane. The home-opener is 7:30 p.m. May 15 against the Tacoma Tide.

Waite said the club will host two tryouts — one open to the general public and another closed to players who were either invited or made the cut after the open tryout.

The open tryout is Feb. 14 and the second tryout is Feb. 21.

The preseason begins in late April. To learn more about the Kitsap Pumas or to view the complete 2009 schedule, visit http://kitsapsoccerclub.com.

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