By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Corban Soccer and Capital FC Timbers are at it again.
This time they are bringing the public an opportunity to watch the PDLs Portland Timbers U-23 team compete against the Kitsap Pumas on June 10th at Sparks Field on the campus of Willamette University in a Premier Development League match-up.
Corban University Head Men’s Soccer Coach Aaron Lewis used to work with the Timbers and was approached by the organization to set up the event this June.
“These guys are league opponents, they play in the PDL,” said Lewis. “I used to work full-time for the Portland Timbers and managing the U-23’s was really one of my main roles.
“So we have a connection still with the organization and they asked us to partner up with the Capital Timbers to host one of these matches.”
There’s aspiration and inspiration to an event like this said Capital FC Timbers Executive Director Collin Box from being able to host a local event like this in the city of Salem.
“An event like this helps give our players something to aim for,” he said. “When you watch the Timbers on TV or from the stadium, that is one thing; but when there are players who grew up at your club playing in your city, that makes the dream more real and gets kids excited not only about soccer but about their future in general.”
Lewis added that some of his athletes on his Corban squad will be playing on either the same team seen or a similar-type of Developmental team.
To aim for their goals and dreams of making it to the professional level, and getting exposure to that kind of talent while bonding with the community in Marion County.
“There’s a couple of reasons of why we like doing this,” said Lewis. “We have several of our guys who are either going to play PDL this summer or similar-type teams, so it gives our guys a visual of something to shoot for and yet, at the same time, what we’re trying to do is build a relationship with the soccer community in Salem.
“This gives us another opportunity to not just connect ourselves with the soccer community but with the Portland Timbers and quality soccer in the region.”
A connection to the community. To gather soccer enthuenist and fanatics alike in order to grow the love that Lewis and Box, two Corban Men’s Soccer and Warrior Alumn, have for the game.
This is adding to their momentum that started from bringing former MLS soccer star Jay DeMerit to Salem in February, one of many events that Capital FC Timbers and Corban Soccer have pieced together to this point.
“Aaron and I are both Corban alum, and we see the bigger picture of developing the soccer community in the Salem area as a goal that will benefit both our programs in the long run,” said Box. “It is truly a mutually beneficial relationship as we pass along players to his program, he passes former players to us as coaches, and we grow the Salem soccer community as a whole.”
Tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for children with kick-off scheduled for 7:30pm on Friday, June 10th at Sparks Field.
“We just want to have a good crowd so we are not looking to charge an abundant amount,” said Lewis. “We just want to celebrate soccer and we’re looking forward connecting with people.”
Jeremy McDonald is a professional sports journalist in the Salem/Portland area and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalist in Oregon with B.S. degrees from Southern Oregon University in Journalism (2011) and Health/PE (2013). Got a story idea? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @J_McDonald81