Decorated Thurston County Soccer Players Meet in Tucson for PDL West Title
The Premier Development League’s Western Conference semifinals kick off tonight in Tucson, Arizona with a distinctly Thurston County flair.
The Kitsap Pumas and two brothers from Yelm, Daniel and Miguel Gonzalez, and Evergreen alum George Bundy kick off at 6:00 PM against the Ventura County Fusion and Capital graduate Josh Phillips leads the defense for FC Tucson when they play host to the Vancouver Whitecaps U-23s at 8:00 PM at the Kino Sports Complex.
Miguel Gonzalez and Phillips are both trying to prove that they can play professional soccer at a high level after finishing decorated Division I collegiate careers. Despite Gonzalez being named the Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year for his 15 goals with Seattle University and Phillips earning West Coast Conference Defender of the Year in his senior season at Gonzaga, neither were extended invitations to the Major League Soccer Combine.
All Gonzalez does is continue to score. In nine games, the Pumas forward has six goals and two assists in leading Kitsap to the Northwest Conference’s title.
Gonzalez set records at Peninsula College in Port Angeles with 34 goals as a sophomore and 49 career goals for the Pirates and was named NWAACC West Division MVP both seasons. He then scored four goals as a junior and 15 goals as a senior at Seattle University including both goals in a 2-1 NCAA tournament first round upset of Creighton in 2013.
Phillips started the majority of games over his first three seasons at Gonzaga but it wasn’t until an outstanding senior season that he popped up on the the radar of professional teams. The Zags, led by a handful of talented and motivated seniors, posted a 10-6-3 record and finished third in the WCC after not winning a single game the previous season.
Phillips was named WCC Defender of the Year and was expected to be a late pick in the MLS SuperDraft. That didn’t happen but Phillips did score trials with USL squad Sacramento Republic FC and a pair of Germany clubs. Without a pro offer, Phillips joined a few of his Gonzaga teammates in Arizona and has played well in 10 games for FC Tucson notching one assist out of the backfield.
Joining Miguel Gonzalez on the Kitsap squad is his younger brother and fellow Yelm standout and Peninsula College alum, Daniel and Evergreen Geoducks standout and ex-Tumwater Pioneer George Bundy. Daniel has played in four games in the midfield for the Pumas while Bundy has appeared in three games in defense.
If the Pumas can get past the Ventura County Fusion and FC Tucson can best the Whitecaps U23s tonight, the Gonzalez brothers and Bundy would face Phillips on Saturday at 7:30 PM in Tucson.
UPDATE: Both games came down to the wire and all of the Thurston County products are still alive and will meet for the Western Conference title on Saturday.
The Kitsap Pumas and Ventura County Fusion played to a 3-3 tie after regular time and 30 minutes of extra time before the Pumas won 3-1 in a penalty kick shootout.
Following that game, FC Tucson scored in the fourth and final minute of stoppage time to knock off the Whitecaps U-23s.
UPDATE #2: Miguel Gonzalez scored Kitsap’s second goal on Saturday night and the Pumas knocked off FC Tucson 3-0 to take the Western Conference title. They will travel to Pontiac, Michigan this weekend for the PDL Final Four and will face the Ocala Stampede on Friday at 2:00 PM.