Tag Archives: soccer

Whatcom signs new athletes

By Felix Zavisubin

Fourteen student athletes have signed a letter of intent to join Whatcom Community College sports teams in the 2018-2019 academic year.

The signees include seven for women’s soccer, three for women’s basketball and four for men’s basketball. Twelve of the 14 commits attended Washington high schools, two athletes are coming from Alaska.

“We start internally and work outward,” said Chris Scrimsher, Whatcom Athletic Director. “[Whatcom County] is our first target area.” 

According to Scrimsher, the recruiting process relies on the work of the Whatcom coaches who attend high school games and build relationships with local coaches and athletes.

“I was recruited by the [head coach] for soccer at the end of my senior year,” said Lyla Pagnotta a women’s soccer player at Whatcom. “[She] had been my coach for club soccer during my first couple years of high school so we knew each other pretty well.”

The Northwest Athletic Conference determines a geographical area where schools in the conference are able to actively recruit student athletes and offer scholarships.

According to Scrimsher, schools are not allowed to offer scholarship dollars to athletes from high schools outside of Washington, Oregon, Alaska, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Hawaii, Utah and Wyoming.

“We can offer up to 65% of tuition,” Scrimsher said. “Each coach has a discretion of how they want to split that up.”

According to Scrimsher, each sport is given an NWAC mandated number of monetary awards to give out. Each of the awards can be split between multiple athletes or given entirely to one.

Whatcom competes with all other NWAC schools when recruiting athletes. In addition to the monetary aspect, there are a variety of other factors athletes must consider when deciding what school to attend.

“I chose Whatcom because I was really impressed by their commitment to their players,” said women’s soccer signee Peyton Schwinger in a Whatcom press release.

Whatcom’s commitment to student athletes manifests itself in a variety of ways. According to Scrimsher, Whatcom is one of the premier community colleges in the NWAC because of it “state of the art” facilities and quality educators.

“The facilities at Whatcom are definitely better than any other school in the conference that we visited to play against,” Pagnotta said.

According to Pagnotta, the gym and turf field at Whatcom are unique, as most schools in the conference had muddy grass fields and old dark weight rooms.

“Whatcom sets the bar pretty high both athletically and educationally,” Schwinger said.

Schwinger will join a women’s soccer team that went 9-5-1 in conference and advanced to postseason play in 2017.

According to Scrimsher, Whatcom judges the success of the athletic programs by looking at individual athletes graduating and moving to the next level, as well as team records.

“If we’re successful and we place them at the next level, then that was a good decision for them to come to Whatcom,” said Scrimsher.

Whatcom had a number of athletes from the past year go on to continue their careers at universities, and sent men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball teams to postseason play.

“I would definitely recommend playing sports at Whatcom to a high school athlete because it gave me opportunities to meet lots of new friends and people and continue to play at a high level and get better,” Pagnotta said.



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Orca men’s soccer builds momentum

By Simon Thomas

The Whatcom Orcas took on first-place Peninsula Pirates on Oct. 8 in a game that ended in a 1-1 draw, with key player, Alain Murhula, tying the score in the closing moments of the match, frustrating the only undefeated team in the league.

Continue reading Orca men’s soccer builds momentum

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Introducing Whatcom women’s new soccer coach


Photo by Kelly Rockey.
Photo by Kelly Rockey. Picture of Mary Schroeder

By: Kelly Rockey

College women’s soccer team will have a new leader on the sidelines for the 2014 season. Mary Schroeder, 34, will be replacing former head coach Claire Morgan for the Orcas after Morgan recently accepted an assistant coaching position at Western Washington University.

“What excites me most about taking on the team for next season is the group of returners and finding new players to mesh with the amazing chemistry of the current group,” Schroeder said.

Whatcom Athletic Director Chris Scrimsher said he is excited for Schroeder to become the new head coach, adding that she is passionate about teaching the game of soccer, and is “fully vested in the job both athletically and academically.”

Schroeder said she tries to promote herself as a “player’s coach.”

The Orcas had a lot of success on and off the field last year, as they finished the season with a 10-2-8 overall record (9-0-7 in league), and an average team GPA of 3.4. They were eventually eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Northwest Athletic Association of Community College (NWAACC) playoffs.

“The best attribute I see in Mary is her ability to balance being a coach, friend, and mentor for us,” said Whatcom student and freshman forward Taylor Alflen. “She will be able to get serious when we need it, but be a friend when needed, also as a mentor, [and] help us grow outside of soccer.”

Schroeder, who also coaches for Bellingham’s youth soccer organization Whatcom Football Club (FC) Rangers, has an extensive background in soccer both as a coach and player. After playing at Bishop Blanchet High School in Seattle, she walked-on to Western’s soccer team as a freshman, and eventually earned an athletic scholarship as a sophomore that continued throughout her college playing days. She was an award winning player in college, earning Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) honors in 2000, 2001, and 2002, according to the Whatcom FC Rangers’ website.

In 2011, she earned a United States Soccer Federation (USSF) license credential stating that she has passed an educational course on coaching soccer.

Schroeder says her involvement with the local youth soccer teams has proved advantageous for her. She has been coaching with the Rangers since 2002, and will continue to do so along with coaching at Whatcom, she said.

Through her time with the Rangers and other various coaching experiences, she said she has known of or met many of Whatcom’s players prior to becoming their head coach. She said the community aspect is one of the most intriguing parts of her new coaching position.

“I’m also excited to see players that I’ve coached throughout the years, through Rangers [and other previous coaching positions], achieve success at the next level being student athletes,” Schroeder said.

Scrimsher officially introduced Schroeder to the team April 22 at a meeting between her and the eight returning players.

At the meeting, Schroeder said she takes a “more holistic approach” to coaching, and strives to “make her players comfortable” by becoming steadily involved with their day-to-day schedules.

Scrimsher said a transition between coaches can bring a “component of complexity” to an athletic program, but he does not see that being the case in this situation.

“Mary has many similarities with Claire, and she is picking up right where Claire left off,” he said.

Schroeder and Morgan also have previous experience together, as Schroeder actually coached Morgan as a player in high school.

“We have stayed connected through the soccer community ever since, through playing against each other and together on teams, through working at the Whatcom Sports Commission together,” Schroeder said. “Most recently she is the GU15 Blue team coach for Rangers while I am the GU15 Gold team coach.”

On the field, Schroeder said she plans to bring a lot of physicality to practice. She said she also wants to be able to tailor her coaching to fit the needs of the individual team members.

“I think the team is handling this transition very well,” Alflen said. “We were a little nervous at first because we had done so well with Claire last year and some of us came to Whatcom to play for Claire, but we decided to stick together and all return. We’re all really excited to have Mary as our coach.”

The team begins practicing for next season in early August, with individual workouts and other activities.


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Kicking it off with Soccer

by Khalics Bryant

Horizon Reporter

1. Being a first year coach at Whatcom, what do you feel you can bring to the Orcas Soccer program?

I am excited to join the Orca program.  I will bring a great deal of enthusiasm to the program.  Along with the enthusiasm, I will demand discipline and accountability that will help the team be successful each season along with establishing a work ethic second to none.  I will do everything in my power to help each Orca Student-Athlete be successful in their futures, whether that is pursuing 4-year college soccer programs or academic programs.  I think with the soccer experience as well as my academic experience I can raise the bar of the Orca program to be consistently successful year in and year out both on the field and in the classroom.

2. How ready/motivated do you feel the team is at this point?

The team is extremely motivated.  They believe they can be a top team in our conference and our league.  They are motivated to go deep into our league post-season tournament.  We have great leadership and the players are pushing one another.

3. What are the expectations for this year’s team as you and the team sees it?

Our expectation is to play to our potential.  This means demanding excellence each day at practice.  If we hold ourselves to the high level we are capable of, our results will speak for themselves and we will meet our expectations.

4. What should the fans of the Orcas men’s soccer team be looking forward to this season?

Exciting play!  Fans can look forward to a dynamic offensive attack.  We are an extremely deep team, therefore fans can look forward to several players making significant contributions including players coming off the bench.

5. Is there anything you want to add about the team, the season, yourself as the new head coach, or anything else your want to share with the Whatcom Community?

Only that we are excited for what the future holds!

The Orcas men’s soccer season kicks off September 17, on the road against Highline Community College. Returning Defender Ivan Ocampo from Mount Vernon stated that the team is “nothing but ready, both physically and mentally.” The Orcas first home game is Septmeber 21, against Tacoma CC.

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