Steelheads Men take note of ‘small things’ halfway through first WISL season

SNOHOMISH, WA— The Snohomish County FC Steelheads Men are halfway through their first-ever Western Indoor Soccer League (WISL) season and are focusing on little things that can make a big difference in winning matches in the hyper-competitive league.

SATURDAY Jan. 8: Bellingham United at Steelheads, 7 PM, Snohomish Soccer Dome

Head Coach Jim Kessler (right) believes the Steelheads can stay in the race if they pay attention to the small things particular to indoor soccer. (Daniel Chang photo)

“Talent alone will not win games. Indoor soccer is the same sport but a different game,” says Head Coach Jim Kessler, whose team finds itself with a 2-3 record after 5 matches. “This game requires that we execute the small things in a cohesive way to create results. From training time to game time, we have to be on the same page to get the results we want.”

“5 games together, and a couple months of training, the guys are starting to see how simple we can make the game and become successful,” Kessler continues. “They are also starting to see how not executing the simple things allows the other team to succeed. We are learning what we do well and what we will improve on.”

Cristiano Whitaker (center) has 4 goals and 6 assists so far for SnoCo FC in the WISL. (Daniel Chang photo)

The Steelheads opened with a win over Oly Town at the Snohomish Sports Dome. They fought level with table toppers unbeaten Tacoma Stars Reserves before falling late on. A trip to Portland resulted in a loss to the Blacktails. The Fish rebounded with a win over the Force at home. Then the team lost a rematch with the Artesians. Altogether it’s a 2-3 record that is good enough for 4th place and a playoff spot right now. But the second half will provide a stiff challenge.

2021-22 Steelheads Men WISL Schedule and Results

DateTimeHomev.AwayVenue
Sat. Oct. 307 PMBreast Cancer$800 RaisedBenefit MatchSnohomish Dome
Sat. Nov. 67:30 PMSTEELHEADS7-4Oly TownSnohomish Dome
Sun. Nov. 284 PMSTEELHEADS3-7TacomaSnohomish Dome
Sat. Dec. 4TBAPortland8-4STEELHEADSMittleman
Sat. Dec. 117 PMSTEELHEADS6-4Oly-PenSnohomish Dome
Sat. Dec. 18TBAOly Town7-5STEELHEADSPavilion
Sat. Jan. 87 PMSTEELHEADSv.BellinghamSnohomish Dome
Sat. Jan. 15TBATacomav.STEELHEADSTSC
Fri. Jan. 217:30Bellinghamv.STEELHEADSSportsplex
Sat. Jan. 227 PMSTEELHEADSv.PortlandSnohomish Dome
Sat. Jan. 29TBAOly-Penv.STEELHEADSOPS
Sat. Feb. 5TBAWISL Playoffs SemifinalsTBA
Sat. Feb. 12TBAWISL Playoffs FINALTBA

*=Match time / date not yet finalized.

Tickets $10 at the door.

All Home Matches Played At Snohomish Sports Dome

Dorian Lair (yellow shirt) and Trevor Davoren have split time in goal for the Fish. (Daniel Chang photo)

SnoCo FC General Manager Dorian Lair looks at the schedule and sees both danger and opportunity. The Steelheads play powerhouse Bellingham United twice and unbeaten Tacoma down at their place. “These will be the big tests,” Lair admits. “We have shown we can hang with these guys in early quarters but just have to finish. We have to make sure our last few games at home are BIG. We need the whole community involved and making some noise.”

From left to right, Andrew Escalante, Bryce Coffin and Dorian Lair defend for Snohomish County in the club’s match against the Tacoma Stars Reserves. (Daniel Chang photo)

Lair is not only watching the progress on the pitch — and often in front of the net as a goalkeeper— but also the staging of matches at the Dome. “We have learned that it takes a team effort to put together a complete showing Home and Away, both on and off the field,” Dorian says. “We have seen that when all the pieces are put together and everyone pulls their weight, not only do we come away with wins, but all of our supporters, fans and partners all benefit from the collaborative effort! While we are still the new kids on the block and learning things as we go, we can see that we can hang with the big dogs.”

Now comes the challenge of playing the contenders and trying to keep hold of a playoff spot. Coach Kessler says early lessons have been learned. “From here forward, we know that if we play as a unit, we will make a run through the end of the season and into the playoffs and establish ourselves in the league.”

For Kessler, keeping things simple will be key. “Executing simple things are the keys to putting together 4 quarters of fine soccer. As a team, we have seen what we can do when we play as one and what we must improve on to ensure success.”

Glenn Paden leads the Steelheads in WISL goals with 7. (Daniel Chang photos.)

Goalkeeper and scoring numbers after 5 matches…

GoalkeeperRecordGoals Against Average
Trevor Davoren1-26.3
Dorian Lair1-15.5
PlayerGoalsAssists
Glenn Paden73
Jeremy Maldonado52
Cristiano Whitaker46
Andrew Escalante33
Devin Shull13
Cesar Zavalza11
Bryce Coffin1
Jordan Correa11
Cesar Avila1
Jacen Stein1
Tyler Sharp2
Drew Ferris1