It’s an end of an era for the Tacoma Stars Reserves, who kick off their 2018-2019 Western Indoor Soccer League season on Friday night at home without the best goalkeeper in WISL history, Aaron Anderson. But after a trip to the WISL championship last season and a Preseason Tournament title with a split squad in hand, the Stars Reserves appear ready to compete for the title once again.
“He is a phenomenal athlete, friend, teammate and father,” gushed Stars Reserves Head Coach Adam Becker about Anderson. “He has been our rock for so many years.”
Anderson was in goal for the first WISL Championship, won by the then Tacoma Stars in 2015, and has played the majority of games between the pipes after the team became the Stars Reserves during the 2015-2016 season. Anderson was named Defensive Player of the Week four times over three seasons (the award was not handed out during the 2016-2017 season) and presided over the only shutout in league history, a 5-0 win over the Wenatchee Fire in 2015.
Without Anderson, it appears that Mike Arguello – who has played the majority of minutes when Anderson was not available – will man the goal for the Stars Reserves. He pitched a shutout in a half game in the preseason championship game, but the PLU alum is signed to the Major Arena Soccer League’s Tacoma Stars as the backup to Danny Waltman, so he may not always be available.
But even without the experience of Anderson, the Stars Reserves feel like they have grown.
“I’d say we’re now an experienced team,” said Becker. “We’ve grown in talent from last year to now.”
With veteran field players like Micah Wenzel, Danny Minniti and Nate Ford and younger guys that grew up a lot last season like Eddie Na and Adrian Correa, the Stars Reserves expect to start fast.
“We want to set the tempo right away,” continued Becker. “Get out to a fast start and get the other teams chasing us.”
And despite a new team – Tacoma Narrows FC – sharing their facility and the two teams working together during tryouts, the Stars have added even more talent to a deep roster. Former University of Washington player Beau Macaluso, Seattle U defender Tyler John, midfielder Alex Sotelo, and forward Amos Freiheit all will see major minutes for the Stars Reserves.
But with high expectations comes the opportunity for a letdown.
“The biggest challenge this season as a squad will be playing to our own potential,” warned Becker. “Especially on the road, the facilities are all different and bring their own challenges.”
The Stars Reserves kick off their season on their home field at the Tacoma Soccer Center against the Oly-Pen Force on Friday, November 9th at 8:00 PM. They then take a week off before playing a Thanksgiving weekend friendly against the MASL Stars on November 24th at 7:05 and because of a scheduling conflict, they don’t play another league game until December 8th when they host the Snohomish Skyhawks at 6:00 PM.