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Kitsap Pumas welcome new coach, Peter Fewing
His playing days included nine broken bones and a fractured neck.
But over the course of a rough-and-tumble soccer career that began at 6 years old, Peter Fewing fell in love with the world's game.
"There was never a time when I couldn't wait to get back on the field," he said. "There's something about this game that pulls you back to it."
The 47-year-old Fewing was introduced Monday as the new head coach of the Kitsap Pumas during a press conference at club headquarters in Bremerton.
Currently a member of the Sounders FC broadcast team, Fewing replaces John Wedge, whose contract wasn't renewed following the Pumas' inaugural 2009 season.
He assumes a young team that went 13-2-3 en route to a United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League Northwest Division regular-season championship. The Pumas qualified for the PDL playoffs, advancing to the semifinals only to lose on a last-minute goal to eventual champion Ventura County (Calif.).
"There's a little pressure when the team has only lost two games, right?" Fewing quipped, speaking to an energized room of about 30 people. "I fully recognize that. We've got to win, and we've got to be a good part of the community."
The father of three currently lives in Ballard, splitting time between the broadcast booth and pitch.
He coached the Seattle University men's soccer team for 18 seasons (1988-2006), winning national championships in 1997 and 2004 as well as four regional titles. He was the National Coach of the Year twice.
Preaching hard work and a positive attitude, the Pumas' new man directs Peter Fewing Soccer Camps throughout western Washington. The camps, established in 1981, span from Snohomish to Burien.
While neither his camp nor broadcast duties will end, the Washington native is ready to get started with the Pumas.
"We need to find the right talent, pick up the players that are returning that are going to help, and then we've got to work hard," said Fewing, who played at the University of Washington before a six-year stint with the former F.C. Seattle Storm. "We really have to be disciplined and work hard; it's easy to rest on your laurels after a successful season."
Flanked by owner Robin Waite, executive director Ben Pecora and assistant coaches James Ritchie and Andrew Chapman, both of whom return from the 2009 staff, Fewing expressed excitement and gratitude for the opportunity to coach at the professional level.
He called himself a "4-4-2 guy," referring to what in all likelihood will be the club's base formation, and emphasized pride, organization and high standards.
"I think the expectations are to win the league. Why not? They've got a trophy," he said. "I've said to Robin (Waite), I'd love to see us win in an Open Cup game or two."
The coaching search boiled down to Fewing, former Des Moines Menace coach Casey Mann — the 2009 PDL Coach of the Year — and Al Alderson, who coached at Trinity Western College in Langley, British Columbia.
Fewing earned a two-year deal with a club option for a third.
"What it came down to ultimately was qualifications and character," Waite said. "Pete scored at the very top level in both."
The club, which has re-signed about half its roster from last season, will host open tryouts Feb. 13 and 14 at Gordon Field in Tracyton.
Between then and now, Fewing is eager to meet the returners — goalkeeper Dustyn Brim and forward Matt Friesen were on hand Monday — and recruit top-level talent.
Brim, 26, said the coaching change, coupled with the team's desire to one-up its semifinals berth of last season, will give the Pumas plenty of motivation going into the 2010 season.
"We'll train harder, we'll train even more and I think we'll raise the level of intensity with all our (practice) sessions," he said. "We're going to push that much more."