NK Soccer team explodes onto the national scene

The North Kitsap Soccer Club’s Explosion 93 team is shooting for a national title this weekend. - Brian J. Olson/Staff photo
The North Kitsap Soccer Club’s Explosion 93 team is shooting for a national title this weekend.
— image credit: Brian J. Olson/Staff photo

POULSBO — The North Kitsap Soccer Club’s boys Explosion 93 team has already made history once this summer. Now it’s four games away from doing it again.

Today through Monday, the team will compete in the U.S. Club Soccer 2010 National Cup in Virginia Beach, Va. It’s the first time a team from the club has qualified for a national tournament.

“I think we have a chance of winning,” said Nick Tedford, a midfielder on the team.

The first three games of the tournament are pool play, and will determine whether the team qualifies for the final match. With an 18-4 record in tournament finals since they started playing together seven years ago, the team likes their odds.

“If we get in the final, we have a pretty good shot,” head coach Darryl Wilder said.

The Explosion qualified for the national tournament a month ago, after winning a regional qualifying round June 29 in Redmond. It wasn’t an easy task. The team won its first three games, but fell behind in the final. Down 3-1, things looked bleak, but the Explosion refused to fizzle.

“It felt like we should have won it,” Tedford said. “We expected to win.”

The Explosion fought back in the second half and earned a 4-3 victory and a berth to the national tournament.

“The boys just played well,” Wilder said. “Knowing they had the chance to compete at the national level, that was motivating for them.”

Now the team’s biggest concern is something beyond their control: the weather. The forecast calls for temperatures approaching the triple digits, with humidity to match.

“The competition is going to be good, but the heat is going to suck,” Tedford said.

Most of the team’s opponents at the tournament come from the East Coast, and are accustomed to the heat and humidity. The Explosion wouldn’t mind a little help from above.

“We want to play in the rain,” Wilder said. “It’s definitely a disadvantage for us, being from Washington and playing over there in the humidity.”

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