by Jack Kintner
coach hopes players
and coaching will lead to a winning combination
Blaine head soccer coach Kai Edwards likes to say that Blaine has the best soccer facility in Whatcom County. “That’s why Oregon State played Simon Fraser here last year, and why the season opening all-county jamboree is also held here,” he said at a practice earlier in the week.
This season he’s also brought along a coaching staff that he says gives Blaine, “the best soccer knowledge in the county.” Cody Hagler and Sean McCormick are both seasoned college varsity players from Western Washington University’s NCAA Division II squad that finished 13-7-0 last season, and their presence means that Blaine gets three times the coaching attention during practice as it did last year. Hagler was a member of the U-18 (under 18 years of age) national team, and played at the University of Portland as well as at WWU.
Edwards will need both the coaching and the facility. At least, that what it seems like at first glance. Blaine lost four All-Conference players from last year’s team and at least one other player decided not to go out for soccer this year. But Edwards is optimistic, even if the team goes through a series of opening reverses like last year’s squad did, going 1-7 before peeling off eight wins to finish with nine.
“We might drop a game or two in return for experience,” said Edwards, who is also assistant varsity coach at Western, “However, the 27 players who have come out to practice, in a year when you lose that much, is a good sign. We have a solid core of 10 freshmen, enough to field a JV team although a couple may make the varsity.”
Blaine returns the talented leg and toughness of Luke Baldwin, playing his senior season, as well as senior Mike Allen (outside midfielder) and sophomore Greg Fetsch, who played with the county-wide Rangers program during the high school off season. One large hole to fill early on will be in goal, where regular Eli Dugger is sitting out for three to four weeks nursing a hand broken playing an indoor soccer game earlier this week.
Blaine’s first outing will be at the Jamboree, to be held at the Pipe a week from Saturday on March 19, followed by their first league game also at home on March 22 with Nooksack.
This year's Semiahmoo Regatta on April 23 and 24 promises to be significantly bigger than it has been in years past, drawing as many as 100 boats to race headquarters at Blaine Harbor and 400 or more sailors to Blaine for the weekend.
An energetic race committee from the sponsoring International Yacht Club has managed to get the regatta included in the Vancouver Area Racing Council series of races, something that will draw racing sailors from as far away as Seattle for the early season competition, plus involving quite a few more of the better sailboat racers from Vancouver and Victoria.
To accommodate that many boats, race headquarters has been shifted to Blaine where harbormaster Pam Taft has agreed to somehow find ways of shoehorning them all into the harbor at night. Last year’s yacht club commodore Dave Cooke said that Saturday night’s traditional party has also been moved from the bar on White Rock’s waterfront strip to the Centennial Hockey Arena on 16th Street. The club has hired blues rocker Colin James, the next thing to a re-incarnation of Stevie Ray Vaughn, to entertain.
Cooke said he’s looking for volunteers to help in various ways. The club’s website will have more information at www.internationalyachtclub.ca, or you can call Cooke directly at 604/538-2711.