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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane Shadow host season finale with EPLWA title locked up

While it won’t have the drama of the final win last season, the Spokane Shadow will play tonight and later receive the trophy for its second straight Evergreen Premier League soccer championship.

The Shadow (10-1-2) locked up the championship last week with the 2-0 win at Bellingham. For the final game, Spokane hosts the Olympic Force (6-7-0) tonight at 7 at Spokane Falls Community College.

“It’s been another tough, scrappy season,” general manager Gerald Barnhart said. “The guys battled through. Last year, it came down to the final day. But this year, we were able to take care of business on the road.”

The team still has plenty to play for, said Barnhart, who noted that Olympic is 5-2 in its last seven matches.

“I think they are ready to go have some fun,” he said. “I know a lot of them want to finish the season strong. The team is still in a position to have a better season than last year.”

Last year, the Shadow downed South Sound FC in the final game to win the league.

Despite the team’s success, the summer heat and scheduling conflicts with the Spokane Shock have hurt attendance, Barnhart said. But he’s hoping that a good crowd comes out tonight to celebrate the team’s achievements.

“One thing we are proud of this season and last season is that we are undefeated on the road,” Barnhart said. “That’s a pretty good accomplishment.

“Sometimes guys aren’t available for road trips because of summer jobs,” he said. “To go back-to-back seasons without a loss on the road shows how much depth we have on our squad.”

The team includes several local stars, including Adam Talley and Dustin Ferger, who both played at East Valley, and several others who either played at Whitworth or Gonzaga.

Talley and defender Brad Ulen (Post Falls) will play for Western Washington this fall.

“Part of the reason we brought the team back to Spokane is to provide players and college guys a chance to enhance their careers,” he said.

Former player Mike Ramos, who led the Shadow in goals last season, was selected by Toronto FC in the 2015 Major League Soccer SuperDraft. While he didn’t catch on with Toronto, he’s now with the Sounders FC 2, which is the United Soccer League affiliate of the Seattle Sounders.

Last year’s No. 2 scorer, Nick Hamer, who played at Mead, is also currently with Sounders FC 2 and striker Chance Bukoski, who leads the Shadow with five goals this season, spent a couple days this week trying out for the same team.

“This gives them an opportunity to play beyond college,” Barnhart said.

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