New EPLWA team begins player selection process in earnest at Dwight Merkel Sports Complex this weekend
Though the Spokane Shadow have had a number of verbal commitments from area players, the club will begin the official process of building the team Saturday evening at the Dwight Merkel Sports Complex. Players from throughout the region and beyond will gather in the hopes of making the first edition of the re-launched men’s team in the newly created Evergreen Premier League. The tryouts begin at 6:00 pm and are open to the public to watch.
At least 60 players from schools in the northwest ranging from Western Washington to the University of Great Falls will be gathering Saturday night along with a strong contingent from Spokane-area programs and local high school standouts looking for an elite development opportunity.
“We are excited about the players who have signed up for the tryouts and who have reached out to us about playing for the Shadow this summer,” said Shadow General Manager Gerald Barnhart. “Based on who will be coming out, I would expect about a dozen players, at least, to be selected for the EPLWA team and more to be asked to join our reserve side.”
A large percentage of the attendees are current or recent players from Whitworth or the Community Colleges of Spokane. The Pirates won the Northwest Conference in 2012 and narrowly finished as runners-up in the NCAA Division III conference this past season. The Bigfoot have improved each of the past two seasons in the NWAACC East Division, finishing third in 2012 and second this past fall.
Other schools with representation at the tryout include Whitworth’s rival Whitman and CCS rivals Columbia Basin, Peninsula, Tacoma, Olympic, Whatcom and Idaho counterpart North Idaho College as well as Corban, Great Falls and Western Washington.
Most players among the list hail from the Washington or Idaho, particularly the greater-Spokane area. Several players will be returning home from schools outside of the region to play for the Shadow such as University of the Redlands and Northern Illinois University.
“A large percentage of players for the first team and reserve side will likely come from this group of players along with a contingent from Division I programs like Gonzaga who were unable to attend the tryout due to school or other commitments,” said Barnhart. “We are thrilled that longtime Bulldogs’ coach Einar Thorarinsson – the original Shadow coach in 1996 – and other coaches around the region are embracing the return of the Shadow and are recommending the team as a prime opportunity for players to continue developing and maintain game fitness, which in turn benefits their own programs in the long-term.”