White Defeats Blue 7-3 In Final Stars Intersquad Scrimmage

by Brett Gleason

It’s game week for the Tacoma Stars. The long-awaited return of the Northwest’s premier professional indoor soccer club is nearly upon us.

With Opening Night this Friday, Nov. 6 at the ShoWare Center, the club got in one last intersquad scrimmage on Friday to hone their skills and showcase their game in front of some eager fans at the Tacoma Soccer Center.

Tacoma native and walking highlight reel Joey Gjertsen rattled off a hat trick to help lead White to a 7-3 victory over Blue. For his three goals and one assist, Gjertsen earned Man of the Match honors.

“The rhythm of the team is getting better,” Stars Head Coach and General Manager Darren Sawatzky said after the match. “Guys are starting to understand the game. We have a few guys that haven’t played much indoor soccer, but you can tell they’re starting to understand how to play. It’s starting to look more and more like a great group.”

The emphasis for the night, and for the season as well, was to avoid fouls. Sawatzky could be heard yelling from the team bench nearly every time a pair of players got too physical to avoid fouls.

“The reality is if you have to tackle, you have to tackle,” Sawatzky said. “But the younger guys need to control their emotions and make sure they tackle only when they have to – the rest of the time, just defend well.”

Striker Mark Lee added a pair of goals to White’s effort, while striker Derek Johnson and defender Adam West both checked in with singular goals of their own.

In addition to the veteran contributions, the scrimmage provided an opportunity for the younger players to shine and make their case before the season begins.

“The younger guys are really starting to figure it out,” Sawatzky said. “Guys like Mike Ramos and Joseph Cairel, they’re beginning to really understand the game, which is going to help us immensely because they’re really fast and they’re really clever.”

Even this close to the season, no position has a player locked into a starting role. Sawatzky sees his role as one that creates competition, which leads to every position up for grabs each week.

The Stars open their first full season in the Major Arena Soccer League this Friday, Nov. 6 with a home matchup against the Sacramento Surge. Tickets can be purchased for all home games by visiting www.tacomastars.com or by calling 1-844-STARS-TIME.