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Kitsap Pumas sign all-league defender Daniel Scott
Kitsap Pumas goalkeeper Dustyn Brim strode to the front of the room and shook hands with his new teammate, letting out a stadium-sized grin.
Brim may have been the happiest man in the building when the Pumas introduced all-league defender Daniel Scott at a press conference Tuesday at Old Town Bistro in Silverdale.
"Getting a guy like him, obviously, it really helps me," Brim said. "He's going to mesh really well with us, and make us that much better in the back."
Scott was named a first team all-leaguer last year and is now the centerpiece of the Pumas' defense, which yielded just 13 goals in 16 matches last season.
That total was the fourth fewest in the 68-club league, and Brim posted six shutouts in 14 starts.
By acquiring Scott, 24, the Pumas have a replacement for central defender Taylor Hyde, whom the club has been without since loaning him to a Bolivian team in December.
The 6-foot-1-inch, 185-pound Scott figures to start alongside returning defenders Max Lipset and Mark Lee.
"I'm fortunate and blessed to be given this opportunity, to be part of the Pumas' organization," Scott said. "We share many common goals, and I realize through hard work and determination these goals can be achieved."
Winning a league championship is atop the to-do list, and it's reflected in the club's offseason activity.
The Scott signing — he is on a one year deal with a club option for a second — is the Pumas third major move since losing in the Premier semifinals last season, falling one game shy of the championship match in their inaugural season.
Less than a week after that loss, the club announced it would not bring back coach John Wedge. In November, it found Wedge's replacement in Seattle Sounders FC broadcaster and former Seattle University men's soccer coach Peter Fewing.
And now, with the 2010 home-opener less than four months away, the Pumas have Scott, considered by many the best defender in the league.
The front office went after him because during exit interviews following the 2009 campaign, Pumas players repeatedly called Scott the best defender they faced during the season.
“The name that kept coming back consistently, almost to a man, was Daniel Scott,” said Ben Pecora, club executive director. “We think he’s the best defender in the league. This is the kind of guy you build franchises around.”
The Hawaii native was captain of the Seattle Wolves last season and played for the Tacoma Tide in 2008. During his run with the Tide, Scott was teammates with current Pumas Lee, Spencer Schomaker and Steve Mohn.
Reuniting with that trio, coupled with the fact he's landed with a contender, is all the motivation Scott needs entering the 2010 season.
"We have big things ahead of us," he said. "I'm just really happy to be a part of this."