Steelheads reflect on one year anniversary of first league championship

2019-wwpl-champions-starSMOKEY POINT, WA—Snohomish County Football Club does a lot of looking forward, but once in a while it is also appropriate to look back. Especially when you can recall the times and memories of a league championship.

Yes, it has been one year since the Steelheads won the 2019 Western Washington Premier League title in July of 2019 in the team’s first year in an organized competition.


“Americans love underdog stories and Hollywood Cinderella stories. We definitely gave our fans that last year. Proud of my boys and I want to thank every one of them for going through the intense training regimens.” — Dagi Kesim, Steelheads Head Coach and SnoCo FC Director of Soccer

2019 was an amazing year for SnoCo FC. A great time. A year ago they came back from 6th place to win the league by winning four matches spanning 3 weeks of play in July. Then the Fish celebrated it all in August.

The Steelheads started July 2019 on 12 points with 3 wins, 3 draws and no losses. They exploded for 13 goals over the July 6-7 weekend with a 4-0 win at Harbor Force and a 9-0 win at BeSea FC. The Fish took care of business at home on July 13 with a 4-1 win over Grays Harbor. Other results were going SnoCo FC’s way and it set up a huge match on Thursday July 18 at Crossfire Redmond. Crossfire stocked their roster with players from their NPSL side, many of them NCAA Division One talents. Snohomish County rose to the occasion and blanked the home side 1-0. The Fish had finished 7-3-0 on 24 points and the win put them on top of the league. But would they stay there?

“2019 Steelheads is something that I will cherish as a player for the rest of my career. It took us less than 3 years to build something special and honestly it’s going to be very hard to top that same feeling again.” — Andrew Escalante, club co-founder and player

The goal that won a trophy: Steelheads celebrate a 1-0 lead that held up July 18, 2019 at Crossfire Redmond. From left to right: Carlos Rodriguez, Fabian Panduro, Rio Alcorta (goal scorer) – behind Rio, Devin Shull -, John Troka, Ridley Eastland-Fruit, Hector Palomera. Glen Moffitt photo.

On Sunday July 21 Nido Aguila Seattle traveled to play Federal Way FC in a crucial WWPL match to end the league’s season. Nido needed a win to take back the top spot and claim the 2019 WWPL title. Federal Way jumped out to an early 2-0 lead and things looked good for Snohomish. Then Nido crawled back into it and eventually drew level 2-2. That set up a crazy tense finish. Federal Way held for the draw and the Fish were Champions.

Then came 2020

In a plot twist that absolutely no one saw coming, the Steelheads have not taken the pitch again since. It was all moving along swimmingly with successful 2020 Open Tryouts, and then the elite adult soccer world came to a screeching halt as Covid-19 tossed out an invisible barricade around pitch after pitch.


So looking forward, planning for the future — these things have become Snohomish County Football Club’s consolation. New partnerships both local and national. A new 2021 women’s team called the SnoCo FC Silvers. Efforts to establish a standing supporters section (stay tuned.) A shirt sponsor and Head Coach all for the brand new WISL indoor men’s team.

All future-focused. All with an ever-growing itch to return to the pitch.

All infused with the positive momentum built in 2019, a year to remember.


“It’s hard to believe a whole year has gone by not only since we won a championship, but also since we’ve played a match. We love playing soccer, and of course we love winning. It’s great to know we will be defending WWPL Champions heading into 2021, but we much rather would have that distinction based on winning two titles. Covid-19 had other ideas.” —David Falk, SnoCo FC General Manager


Top Photo: Left to right, Rio Alcorta, John Troka, Gunnar Stohl.

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