In only its third year of existence and going up against six elite clubs from the Seattle metro area, the Storm King U15 Crusaders came within one win of taking the North Puget Sound League North division championship.
The North Olympic Peninsula-based team can be proud of not only being the runner-up of the fall league, but also actually winning the most games. The Crusaders went 8-3-1 on the season and finished in second place with 25 points. The Redmond-based team that came in first, Crossfire Select B7 Red, actually won fewer games, going 7-0-5. That record translated into 26 points (three points for a win, one for a draw).
Coach Michael Miller said this was a rebuilt team with new players after Olympic Peninsula youth soccer split into separate programs. The Crusaders are made up of nine Port Angeles kids, three Sequim boys and one boy from Port Townsend.
“The kids really came together this season,” said coach Michael Miller.
The Crusaders had a chance to win the league championship, but came up one goal short when a physical Seattle United team (6-3-3) scored in the final 20 seconds of its match with the Crusaders on Sunday to win 2-1.
James Mason scored the Crusaders’ goal on a deflection after a cross from Matthew Miller. Coach Miller said it was a game either team could have won.
“There were lots of opportunities both ways,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Storm King U13, the Storm King Thunder, won its division 3 championship, going 11-1-0, again coming out on top against some of the top elite teams in the Puget Sound area.
“We had a wonderful season, with a full roster of 17 great kids and their families,” said Thunder assistant coach Amanda Anderson.
Other Storm King teams also did well this fall. The girls U12 team, the Storm King Avalanche, went 6-2-4 and finished third in its division.
The Storm King Surge, the boys U12 team went 4-5-3, coming in sixth out of 10 teams.
The Storm King Gale Force, the girls U13 team, went 2-8-2 and finished sixth. The Storm King boys 16U team struggled with an 0-11-1 season.
The Storm King teams return to action in the spring, with practices beginning for a summer league. Many of the U15 players will be on Olympic Peninsula high school JV and varsity teams in spring 2023.