David Falk has followed soccer in the Puget Sound region since 1974. This blog covers Sounders FC, local college soccer, Seattle Wolves FC, Tacoma Tide FC and Kitsap Pumas. Send tips or comments to: goalseattle@gmail.com
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Seattle Soccer Examiner

Seattle Soccer Examiner

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Kitsap Pumas hire John Wedge as first head coach

The Kitsap Pumas have hired local youth soccer icon John Wedge as their first head coach the club announced today.

Wedge has a long resume of coaching experience as high as the collegiate and semi-pro level. He is also the Washington State Youth Soccer Association District Four Regional Coaching Director.

Wedge then named his coaching staff, Peninsula College head coach Andrew Chapman as assistant and the club’s director of youth development, James Ritchie as his goalkeeping coach.

The assembly of this staff completes an extensive search by the club’s front office. The full coaching staff will be on-hand the next two weekends for the club’s first open tryouts for prospective professional players.

“We’re excited to have John on board. He may have one of the most extensive coaching resumes on the West Coast,” said owner Robin Waite. “When you add the energy, enthusiasm and pedigrees of James and Andrew, we may end up with one of the best staffs in the league.”

The announcement also allows the club to begin signing players. Ritchie has been in Europe on an extensive scouting junket that could yield immediate results.

“I’ve seen some very good players that have studied us and like what they see,” said Ritchie. “Contrary to some thought in this country about our sport, players very much want to come here.”

“This is a life-long dream for me – to coach at the professional level, in a great organization, in a great community,” said Wedge. “I cannot tell you how excited I am. Let’s get to work!”

Wedge, nicknamed “The Professor,” by fellow coaches across the country, has an extensive background coaching at all levels of the sport, has founded a club and an academy, has led teams to national championships and has run soccer facilities.

From Wedge's WSYSA bio:

Wedge has been involved with and supportive of Youth Soccer in the United States since 1979 in a variety of roles.

John is a native of West Yorkshire, England where he grew up playing, and then coaching, soccer. In 1978, John graduated from Trinity and All Saints College, Leeds University with a B.Ed. degree in Human Movement.

In 1979 John immigrated to New York City where he taught Physical Education and coached soccer at Tilden H.S. in Brooklyn . He moved to Seattle , where he coached at Shoreline Community College from 1980 to 1984, winning the Northwest Colleges Coach of the Year Award in 1982. He was Coaching Director for the Washington State Soccer League in 1984 and 1985 before becoming Head Coach of both the men's and women's teams of the Valley Cities S.C., a semi-pro club based in Kent.

While he was general manager of the Tacoma Indoor Soccer Center , John also coached the Tacoma Wings to a National Amateur Men's Open Indoor title in 1987. He was the Washington State Men's Open Coach between 1987 and 1989 and won the Washington State “Player of the Year” award in 1988.

Wedge returned to high school coaching with Federal Way between 1991 and 1996 and was named the SPSL's Coach of the Year in 1992. He was the head coach of The Evergreen State College Men's team in 1996 and 1997. He helped create the Highline Heat Soccer Club in 1997 and was its first Coaching Director. He was concurrently Coaching Director of the Shorelake Soccer Club in 1998 and 1999, and President of Coerver Coaching of Washington from 1997 to 1999.

Wedge is currently Program Director with the Bainbridge Island Youth Soccer Club. He is responsible for camps, clinics and developing curricula.

Wedge is a staff instructor with Washington Youth Soccer for whom he has conducted numerous coach licensing clinics since 1985. He holds a USSF “A” coaching license, a National Youth License, and the Premier Award of the NSCAA.

Photo credit: John Wedge coaching with the Bainbridge Island Youth Soccer Club

More Pumas: Sounders SuperSearch finalist Oliver Wellman to try out with Kitsap

Full Press Release posted on the USL website

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