Sports

Pumas introduce first head coach

Bainbridge Island resident John Wedge was named the Kitsap Soccer Club
Bainbridge Island resident John Wedge was named the Kitsap Soccer Club's first head coach Tuesday.
— image credit: Jesse Beals/staff photo

England-born John Wedge is the Kitsap Soccer Club's first head coach, the franchise announced Tuesday.

Wedge, who currently lives on Bainbridge Island, brings about 30 years of coaching experience to the Kitsap Pumas, the county's first and only professional soccer franchise.

"It's a special day for me," Wedge said at club headquarters in Bremerton Tuesday. "I feel like I'm in the right place."

Wedge's coaching record includes stints at Federal Way High School, Shoreline Community College, where he was named Northwest Colleges Coach of the Year in 1982, and Evergreen State College in Olympia. He currently is the director of the Bainbridge Island Soccer Academy as well as a staff instructor with the Washington State Youth Soccer Association, a position he's held since 1985.

"This is one of the most important days in the history of this franchise," executive director Ben Pecora said of the hiring, coming four days prior the club's first scheduled tryout.

The Pumas, who are contracted to play home games at Bremerton's Memorial Stadium, kick off their inaugural season on the road May 2, giving Wedge and his staff less than four months to build the roster. Bremerton native Andrew Chapman, who graduated from Olympic High School in 1997, is Wedge's assistant.

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