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Pumas partner with NK Soccer Club

POULSBO - Viking Cup may have been canceled this year, but the North Kitsap Soccer Club is stepping up efforts to raise much-needed funds for its teams and players in lieu of the preempted tradition.

The NKSC this week worked out a partnership with the Kitsap Pumas and the North Kitsap School District to allow the Pumas to play their first-ever preseason game at North Kitsap Stadium Saturday, April 18, versus the Tacoma Stars indoor team. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

"The Pumas are graciously partnering with North Kitsap Soccer Club in a fundraiser for the North Kitsap soccer community to raise money to offset the loss of Viking Cup," said Jim Bilbao, NKSC vice president of publicity and fundraising.

Proceeds from the sale of tickets will help the NKSC recoup some of the money that would otherwise be generated by Viking Cup, but the club will have more ground to cover if they wish to completely make up for the tournament's absence. Viking Cup chairman Aaron Vernik estimated that last year's Cup netted $16,000-18,000 for the club.

Bilbao said the NKSC has not yet worked out any plans for additional fundraisers, but added, regarding the partnership with the Pumas, "We look forward to building on this success together."

The Pumas had originally intended to play all their games at a brand new facility in Poulsbo, but when plans for a new field fell through, they chose to make Bremerton's Memorial Stadium their home turf. Pumas spokesman Ben Pecora said the team is excited for the chance to return to North Kitsap for their first preseason match.

"We thought what would be a great thing to do was to have our first match back there in Poulsbo," said Pecora. "Viking Cup went away, and we thought, 'This would be a great way to restore some of those dollars back into the community.'"

The Pumas are currently in the process of rounding out their squad, and plan to have 23-24 players, including reserves, by the time the regular season begins. The roster already includes former local high school stars like Bremerton's Kyle Johnson and University of Washington grad Stephen Mohn.

Tickets for the April 18 game are $10 for adults and $6 for children 12 and under. They can be purchased at the gate or by contacting Jim Bilbao at (877) 400-3794 or jimbilbao@windermere.com. All proceeds go to the NK Soccer Club.

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