The Spokane Shine soccer players will hold a get-acquainted session with the public tonight, followed by an informal match.
That’s just how their season began last Friday – getting acquainted with each other during a nine-hour bus ride to Eugene, Ore., followed immediately by their first game against a team that already had two matches under its belt.
“We were put under some rough conditions,” defender Shannon Lindsay said of the Shine’s 2-0 loss to Eugene. “But we turned it around.”
The next day in Bend, Ore., the Shine beat the Oregon Rush 5-2 to even their record at 1-1 entering Friday’s home opener against the Issaquah Soccer Club.
Kickoff is at 7:05 p.m. at Albi Stadium.
“We’re a growing team, and we have the potential to be a very good team,” defender-midfielder Alyshia Madison said.
“Last Saturday, a lot of things came together, and that shows in the score,” added Madison, who played high school soccer in Cheney and plays for Jacksonville State in Alabama.
The Shine compete in the six-team Northwest Division, which is part of the sprawling 70-team Women’s Premier Soccer League, the largest women’s league in the world.
The league is sanctioned by the United States Adult Soccer Association as an affiliate of the United States Soccer Federation.
The Shine, who last year replaced the Spokane-based Black Widows, are in their second year in the WPSL. Last year, the Shine finished second, just missing out on the playoffs.
Most of the players are locals who play collegiately.
“We’re hoping for many more wins to come,” said Lindsay, a Gonzaga Prep product who plays for Montana. “We all have fun on the field together, and we’re learning more about each other every practice.”
The roster includes a pair of internationals, including midfielder- forward Tseng Shu-O of Taiwan.
“(She) is very quick on the ball with fantastic vision. She loves finding runners through and can put the ball on a dime,” Shine head coach Jason Quintero said.
Midfielder Lisa Robertson has more than two dozen appearances for the Scottish U19 team.
“She is an explosive player with a deadly left foot that can serve world-class crosses,” Quintero said.
Quintero has been coaching soccer at various levels and ages since 1998 and is a former assistant coach at Eastern Washington University.
“We want to carry forward what we did on Saturday,” said Quintero, who said the team got better almost by the minute during last week’s road trip.
“We can be really scary going forward,” Quintero said. “And if we’re clicking going forward, and fans want to see goals, then they’ll be rewarded.”
Quintero is employing a 4-3-2-1 formation that he said will take advantage of the team’s strenghts at defensive midfield, with a goal of “funneling everything to them, winning the 50-50 balls, then getting going and counterattacking.”
The focal point of that attack will be forward Julissa Rodriguez, a Kennewick native and two-time NCAA Division II All-American at New Mexico Highlands.