Vancouver Victory ready for another campaign

Club soccer squad hosts opener on Sunday

VANCOUVER — His college career is over, but his career is far from over.

“Anyone who has played college ball, it’s hard to give up that competitive edge,” Tyler Luebbert said. “This team gives an outlet for a college player or an ex-college player who still wants to compete.”

Tyler Luebbert, a goalkeeper for the Vancouver Victory, is a former college athlete who wants to keep playing competitive soccer. Photo by Mike Schultz
Tyler Luebbert, a goalkeeper for the Vancouver Victory, is a former college athlete who wants to keep playing competitive soccer. Photo by Mike Schultz

The team would be Vancouver Victory FC, a men’s club team that begins the 2019 season Sunday with a home match at Harmony Sports Complex.

Luebbert, who played for Clark College before advancing to a four-year program at Southern Oregon University, wants to see how far his skills can take him. He is using the spring and summer club season to showcase his talents in hopes of finding a professional team.

Luebbert previously played for a club team in Portland but heard good things about the Victory.

“I know they’ve had success,” Luebbert said. “I wanted to give it a shot, see what it’s all about.”

Tyler Luebbert played at Clark College and then Southern Oregon University. Today, he plays for Vancouver Victory FC, in a league for college-age and post-college players to hone their skills in the spring and summer. Photo by Mike Schultz
Tyler Luebbert played at Clark College and then Southern Oregon University. Today, he plays for Vancouver Victory FC, in a league for college-age and post-college players to hone their skills in the spring and summer. Photo by Mike Schultz

Plus, Luebbert played for co-coach Biniam Afenegus when he was at Clark.

“I know his coaching style. He likes to make the boys compete inner squad. Use that competitive edge, bring it out in training, which will translate into games,” Luebbert said.

The Victory, composed of past, current, and future college athletes, began in 2014 and plays in the Evergreen Premier League Washington. The team has several athletes with Clark County connections.

The club played in the championship match in 2016 but struggled last season. Afenegus and Stan Rodriguez were named co-coaches in March.

“Our goal is to bring back the Victory to being one of the best clubs in the league,” Afenegus said.

He also likes being part of an adult program based in Southwest Washington.

“Anyway to give back to the community and the game of soccer. That’s why I do it,” he said.  “I’m excited for it to be back.”

Biniam Afenegus is a co-coach (along with Stan Rodriguez) with the Vancouver Victory. Afenegus said he likes giving back to the soccer community, and he appreciates having an club for college-age (and beyond) athletes to play this game at a high level. Photo by Mike Schultz
Biniam Afenegus is a co-coach (along with Stan Rodriguez) with the Vancouver Victory. Afenegus said he likes giving back to the soccer community, and he appreciates having an club for college-age (and beyond) athletes to play this game at a high level. Photo by Mike Schultz

Luebbert, a goalkeeper, grew up in Corvallis, Ore., before moving to the region for college ball at Clark. Now 27, he wants to keep growing in the game.

The Vancouver Victory give him that opportunity.

“This game is a very emotional one, too. It helps young adults and kids deal with their emotions,” Luebbert said. “You build skills and work as a team. I want to share another experience like this and build lifelong relationships.”

Luebbert added that it is special when a group of guys bond together and accomplish their goals.

That is the mission. The Victory start that journey Sunday.

Vancouver Victory

Home Schedule

Matches are at Harmony Sports Complex

NE 18th Street and NE 192nd Avenue, Vancouver

May 5: 1 p.m. vs. Spokane Shadow

May 19: 5 p.m. vs. Oly-Pen Force

June 1: 5 p.m. vs. Seattle Stars

June 8: 5 p.m. vs Pacific NW

June 30: 5 p.m. vs. Washington Premier FC

For full schedule and ticket information, go to: http://vancouvervictoryfc.com/

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About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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