by David Falk, General Manager of Snohomish County FC Steelheads
The recent announcement that the Western Washington Premier League is partnering with the Cascadia Association Football Federation (CAFF) might have taken a few soccer watchers by surprise. But when you think about it, the two are a great fit.
The WWPL is here to provide opportunities for local players to compete in a regional table of clubs. CAFF fields Team Cascadia to take those opportunities to the international level. For both organizations the focus is on soccer in Cascadia. For both the dream is helping our players compete as far as they can go.
In recent days Team Cascadia received news that Hawai’i had been admitted to CONIFA. They also learned that the host country for the 2020 CONIFA (Confederation of Independent Football Associations) World Cup would be North Macedonia. Exciting moments for CAFF but also now for the WWPL. Talks are already going on behind the scenes to see how WWPL players can help round out the Team Cascadia roster for the 2020 CONIFA World Cup. And you certainly couldn’t blame WWPL players if they dreamed about representing Cascadia in an away match in Hawai’i some day.
CAFF is an independent organization, poised to make decisions without some of the red tape and politics that can hamper adult soccer. They operate in a new soccer world where borders are less important than culture, spirit and people. The WWPL is also forging its own path, recently creating First and Second Divisions and implementing a promotion and relegation process where good play is rewarded and struggling play doesn’t mean the end of a club but rather a trip down to get things sorted.
These two independent, open-minded organizations are now actively talking with each other. Soccer players are taking notice. Just after the announcement, one social media post from a player said “I guess I will have to play in the WWPL now,” referring to the chance to connect with Team Cascadia. It’s a great sign for the league. It also suggests a promising future for CAFF.