SNOHOMISH, WA— The Snohomish Skyhawks made the WISL playoffs a year ago. Their 4th place finish gave them a trip up to Bellingham to play the 1st seed Hammers of Bellingham United. It was a season of late comebacks for Snohomish. They couldn’t rally in that playoff match though as their season ended in a 12-5 semifinals loss to BUFC.
The Skyhawks have a staff that knows the indoor game well. Head Coach Tao Shen will look for advice from his assistants Aaron Burns, John Troka and Tony Clarke. All three also will play prominent roles on the pitch for Snohomish in 2017-18.
HOME MATCHES: Snohomish Soccer Dome
“We have a mix of players of all ages,” says Skyhawks Head Coach Tao Shen. “It’s difficult to keep the same group each year because the older players sometimes start a family and the younger players usually graduate from college and move away or transfer to a university . I’m excited to have our core group from last year with Seth Hespe in goal and John Troka and Tony Clarke as solid defenders.”
Indoor watchers will be familiar with Aaron Burns, who played several years with the former Arlington Aviators. “We have asked Aaron Burns to join the coaching staff because of his experience with the indoor game,” Shen says. “Adrian Espinoza is back and will lead the attacking unit. He’s fun to watch with his fast footwork and unselfish play. In addition, we will have Ty Hastings up top creating some magic and hopefully some game winners like last year. We also are strengthened by the additions of Devin Shull, Corey Hendrikson, Alex Molchan and Paul Burgess, among others.”
It was a hit or miss preseason for the Skyhawks. The final scores don’t matter as much as the consistency of play. Snohomish played well in a win over the Tacoma Stars Reserves. They also had their moments in the WISL Tournament. Then they met Bellingham on November 4 and (without a couple of key players) lost 10-2 to close out training.
The Skyhawks open up their WISL regular season on Saturday November 11 in Olympia against the Oly Town Artesians in a match that kicks off at 6:30 PM in the unique confines over The Evergreen State College Pavilion. “We always aim to have a great start,” Shen says, “but we know that our opponents are quality and are tough to get a result anywhere—especially away at Olympia with their fabulous fan base and unique style of arena or “ring.”
Last year the Skyhawks beat the Artesians 7-5 in an emotional match at the Snohomish Soccer Dome. Then Snohomish continued their run to the playoffs with a 9-7 win at Olympia.
People around the WISL like watching and playing against the Skyhawks because they know they are going to get a fair, honest, working-man’s performance. “I believe in the process and the grind to build a program pushed on by our players’ characters and commitment,” Shen says.
“I respect players who come out for the right reasons with the right attitude. We are all making a commitment to this game and our league and we want to earn our opponents’ utmost respect in terms of hard work and constant obsession to try to get better every single day.”
Skyhawks working roster as of 11/7/2017: (In no particular order) Devin Shull, Chris Kirkpatrick, Trevor Davoren (GK),Vlad Kitsyy, Carlos Betancourt, Seth Hespe (GK), Andrew Chavez, Tony Clarke, Aaron Burns, Tye Hastings, Alan Montes, Alex Molchan, Drew Ferris, Andrew Escalante, Gunner Stohl, Masahiro Fukushima, Paul Burgess, Danny Graham, Jeff Hidalgo, Brent Lundgren, Mike Sitzman, Chris Kirkpatrick, Corey Hendrickson, John Troka, Adrian Espinoza, Owusu Fordjour, Gabriel Freeman.