EVERETT — Some local high school athletes are taking the opportunity this summer to play semi-pro soccer in an attempt to take their game to the “next level.”
Fureza FC’s women’s semi-pro team is an avenue some Marysville and Arlington girl soccer players are taking.
“Our goal was to give them that next level of competition, which is mainly college,” coach and club president Tony Carrillo said.
Fureza FC, a premier soccer club, has a women’s semi-pro team that competes in the Northwest Premier League. The team consists of former professionals, college age and highly skilled prep players.
Within the club, Fureza looks for players who can compete at the league’s level, Carrillo said. But they also must display commitment to playing, such as not missing any of the rigorous practices.
“They’re progressing. They’re not just there to play soccer for fun. They’re really serious about their game,” he said.
Though other clubs typically reach out to college players, Fureza FC’s team emphasizes development of high school players.
“What the league gets is mainly college players,” Carrillo said. “But we’re using it as a development for our club. Yes, we’ll take a few college players but our goal is to prepare the juniors and seniors for college-level ball. We may not be the best team in the league but we sure are going to try.”
Many of the high school players agree that playing against older and more-experienced women is more difficult than their preparatory leagues.
It is Lindsey Weikel of Marysville Getchell’s first year playing at the semi-pro level, and she has noticed the increase in difficulty from high school. Weikel and teammate Oshinaye Taylor are the only girls from MG on the team.
“It’s a lot harder,” Weikel said. “You have to step up a lot.”
Despite the use of so many high school players, the team is holding up well against the older competition. For example, McKenzie Buell of Arlington leads the league so far with three goals.
“Here it’s harder to compose a goal because the competition is tougher, and the defense is harder to get past,” Buell said.
Buell, like the other pre-collegiate players on the team, is sharpening her skills for when she returns to playing high school soccer in the fall as a senior.
“It’s making me a better player because these college girls here, are making me go faster and faster, with quicker touches and being more aggressive,” she added.
Her Arlington teammate, Tahlia Miears, is playing to stay sharp during the summer.
“This keeps me up on my skills,” Tahlia said. “There are so many people we’re going to be playing against that are top-notch.”
Fureza FC’s semi-pro team hosts games at Goddard Stadium at Mariner High School in Everett. Its league record stands at 1-3-1.
“Their vision is: ‘I want to play college ball and this is what it takes to be there,'” Carrillo said.