Monthly Archives: January 2014
On the same day that Lane United FC released its schedule for the 2014 PDL season, the club’s directors also announced that five Division I NCAA soccer players had committed to play for the Springfield-based club in the upcoming season, pending league approval.
Coco Navarro of Marquette, goalkeeper Chris Lowrimore of Gonzaga, Julio Alarcon from San Diego State, and two Saint Louis Billikens, Francisco Vizcaino and Dirk van der Velde, will all play for the Reds in 2014, said head coach and sporting director John Galas.
Galas has coached both Navarro and Alarcon at the Real Salt Lake Academy. “Coco is a top recruit from the US Soccer Development Academy system, a hard-working, technical scorer who just had a great freshman campaign,” said Galas, referring to Navarro’s 2013 season at Marquette in which he started every match and was third on the team in points and second in assists.
At the other end of the field, Galas called Alarcon “a dominant one-on-one defender and a great organizer who really leads by example.” Alarcon was a member of the U.S. U-17 national team and a USSDA “Starting XI” player in 2011 and 12. Both he and Navarro were named by Top Drawer Soccer in the Top 10 Freshmen to Watch for the 2013 season, and neither disappointed, said Galas.
Galas said that though he has not coached the other three players personally, he has talked extensively on the phone with all of them and noted that they all come with glowing recommendations from their college coaches. Chris Lowrimore, the goalkeeper, is “expected to be the starter for (Gonzaga’s) 2014 season. He’s a big goalie (6’2”) who commands his box really well,” said Galas, himself a former college goalkeeper.
Regarding van der Velde, Galas mentioned that “He’s a little bit of a local kid, from Bend. He came highly recommended by Kyle Steinbaugh,” referring to the highly experienced Bend-based youth coach who has assisted Coach Galas with the Reds’ open tryouts. “He’s a technical right-back, with tremendous pace … He’s fit enough to get up and down the flank for 90 minutes, which fits our style of play in terms of what we’ll want from our fullbacks,” Galas said.
The final player on the list, Vizcaino, will arrive at Lane United on the heels of a strong season at Saint Louis, one of the top men’s college programs, where he started 14 games as a sophomore, tallying three goals and two assists. Galas is ecstatic at the possibility of Vizcaino and Navarro partnering up front for the Reds, saying that they both possess “a blue collar mentality with a lot of skill behind them. Pancho is crafty, creative, explosive and quick. He’s very similar to Coco—-they both can create something out of nothing based purely on work rate and both have a great level of technical sophistication and will work well with each other.”
All of these players should be able to move to the Eugene/Springfield area by the week before the season opener on May 16, said Galas, who said he is banking on the strength of his previous relationships with some of the players and the trust he has in the recommendations of his coaching network. “It’s easy to bring in guys that I know well already and trust already. Because of the time crunch, it’ll be quicker to instill the team philosophy on them if we’ve already got that level of trust with each other.”
Galas said that more commitments are likely on the horizon, both from college players and some international talent that he has been in contact with. “We have a ton of people on the radar,” he said. “We’re just getting started with the player announcements.”
Managing director Dave Galas also hinted at a major corporate partnership deal that is near closing and will be announced next week.
Lane United FC is very pleased to announce that the Willamalane Center for Sports and Recreation will be its home venue for the 2014-2016 seasons. Lane United managing director Dave Galas and Willamalane deputy superintendent Seve Ghose signed a contract in mid-December that keeps the Reds at Willamalane for at least the next three years.
The Willamalane Center currently boasts two outdoor soccer-specific artifical turf fields, although a November 2012 bond measure has allowed for the construction of two more fields south of the current ones. The Reds will play on the current west field in 2014. That field is also slated to undergo a turf renovation in 2015 using funds from the bond measure.
A grandstand will be erected on the western touchline of the field, said Galas, but final details on the scope of that construction are not available yet.
The ease and supportiveness of the negotiations with Willamalane were a deciding factor in the venue decision, according to Galas. “They’ve offered great support and helped us focus on providing the best possible gameday experience, including concessions and the beer garden,” he said, adding that plans are in the works to establish a beer garden and a concession and fan zone in the parking lot immediately adjacent to the field.
The proximity to public transportation is another “awesome bonus,” Galas mentioned. The #11 LTD bus runs every 10-15 minutes down Springfield’s Main Street, and the fields are about a 300-yard walk from the 32nd St. stop. “We’d love it if as many fans as possible took public transportation to and from our games,” Galas said. “It obviously cuts down on the environmental impact, but also allows people to drink more responsibly.”
Other perks that Galas mentioned were the nearby locker room and restroom facilities at the fields, and the quality of the pitch itself. The fields at Willamalane are 120×70 yards, which is at the upper end of suggested dimensions for pro soccer pitches. He also complimented their soccer-specific design, with anchored goalframes and no field lines from other sports.
For evening kickoffs, the sun setting at the back of the east-facing fans, instead of in their eyes, is “another small detail that adds to the really positive vision we have for Willamalane,” said Galas.
Galas was careful to note that the club had “by no means given up on the search for a long-term, USL Pro-ready home.” The issue of Civic Stadium’s future remains unresolved at the government level heading into 2014.
The Lane United FC Reds begin their inaugural season in the United Soccer Leagues’ PDL Northwest Division in May of 2014. Seven home league matches, plus an undetermined number of friendlies and playoff or cup games, will be hosted at Willamalane.