Steelheads get younger ahead of league debut

cropped-snohomish-county-fc-steelheads-primary-800.pngSMOKEY POINT, WA—The Snohomish County FC Steelheads will open their 2019 Western Washington Premier League (WWPL) season this Saturday April 27 against Tacoma Narrows FC at 4:15 at Wilson High School. The traveling 18 for Snohomish will include some promising new and younger players ready to show they belong in elite adult soccer. (Top photo: Cade Cooke by Glen Moffitt.)

MORE: 2019 Steelheads Schedule

MORE: 2019 Steelheads Player Pool

Cade Cooke (18 years old, defender), Marcus Swanson (18, defender), Gabe Acosta (18, goalkeeper) Conner McWilliams (19, defender) Kyle Aure (20, forward) and Efren Martinez (20, midfielder) are almost all new to the Steelheads this season. Only McWilliams was with the squad in 2018. They are among a group of guys under the age of 21 who will wear SnoCo FC Orange in 2019.

Head Coach Daghan “Dagi” Kesim is excited to see the fresh talent. “These are hard working, great-hearted kids,” Kesim says. “They have so much hunger for more success.  It will definitely make tomorrow look better than yesterday.”

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Cade Cooke helped the Steelheads defense allow just one goal in three preseason matches. (Glen Moffitt photo)

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Cade Cooke is a 2018 graduate of Kamiak High School in Mukilteo, WA. He was honored with Everett Herald All-Area Team notice in 2018 when he also scored 8 goals and added 8 assists for the Knights. He moved directly on to Everett CC Trojans in the NWAC last fall where he started 17 of 20 matches as a defender and still chipped  in with 3 goals and an assist. Cooke was named Man of the Match in his very first game with Snohomish County FC. His standout long throw-ins and clinical defensive marking helped the Steelheads earn a 1-1 draw away at Wenatchee FC in that match.

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Marcus Swanson goes to ground for the ball against TriCities. (Glen  Moffitt photo)

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Marcus Swanson is a dual-sport athlete at Kamiak. He impressed Steelheads coaches at the March 2019 open tryouts. Since then he has only improved his stature with the team playing valuable minutes as a defender in Wenatchee and at home against TriCities Alliance. Swanson’s other sport  is football. He’s able to bring some muscle and power to the roster.

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Gabe Acosta kicks it away against Skagit Valley on April 20. (Glen Moffitt photo)

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Goalkeeper Gabe Acosta came north from Las Vegas to play for Everett CC Trojans last fall. Now he’s making positive impressions in goal for the Steelheads. He was recently named “Man of the Match” for his 1-0 shutout win at the Skagit Valley CC Cardinals. Acosta combines positioning, bravery and organizational skills to go along with the physical talent needed to excel in goal.

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Conner McWilliams in action against Skagit Valley Cardinals. (Glen Moffitt photo)

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Conner McWilliams came through the Gala FC program and saw action for the Steelheads in 2018. He’s spent a season at Edmonds CC Tritons (NWAC) where he played in 17 matches, starting 14 of those.

He knows the Kesim defensive schemes well and provides smarts, energy and poise on the pitch.

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Kyle Aure scored the winner at Skagit April 20. (Glen Moffitt photo)

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Kyle Aure has impressed in early 2019 matches, leading up to scoring the winning goal on April 20 at Skagit Valley College. The Steelheads are looking for goals and Aure is being sent forward to find them. Kyle finished two award-winning seasons with Edmonds CC Tritons in the NWAC last fall. Aure started all 34 matches he played for the Tritons, scoring 11 goals and dishing out 3 assists over two seasons. He got a feel for elite adult soccer over the winter playing with the Snohomish Skyhawks in the Western Indoor Soccer League (WISL). Kyle was a leader in high school soccer for the Edmonds-Woodway Warriors.

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Efren Martinez (center) in action at Skagit. (Glen Moffitt)

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Efren Martinez was named a “Player to Watch” by the Herald back in 2017. He advanced this season through open tryouts and continues to earn more playing time for the Steelheads. Efren was a standout at Mariner High School. He is a product of Washington Rush.  Martinez provides energy and flexibility in the midfield where he can play wide or center. In fall 2018 Efren joined the Whatcom Orcas in the NWAC. He played in 18  matches in his freshman year and contributed 3 assists.

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