Washington Timbers Women’s First Team prepares for season opener

Club team on the road this weekend; home opener is May 18

VANCOUVER — Soccer is Samantha Rosenkranz. Samantha Rosenkranz is soccer.

Been like that for years.

Will be like that for years.

Samantha Rosenkranz, a former Union Titan, prepares for the 2019 season with the Washington Timbers Women’s First Team. Rosenkranz will be playing for the University of Mary next school year. Photo by Mike Schultz
Samantha Rosenkranz, a former Union Titan, prepares for the 2019 season with the Washington Timbers Women’s First Team. Rosenkranz will be playing for the University of Mary next school year. Photo by Mike Schultz

For now, she is in the middle of her college career. A 2017 graduate of Union High School, she played for the Clark Penguins and is preparing to move on to the University of Mary in North Dakota.

First, though, she is in training to play for her local club team, the Washington Timbers.

Actually, she is thrilled that this is even possible.

In 2014, Vancouver Victory FC was formed, giving men’s soccer players a chance to shine with a Clark County team during the spring and summers of their college years.

“When the Vancouver Victory started, I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we had a women’s team?’” Rosenkranz recalled thinking.

That became a reality in 2017 when the Washington Timbers Women’s First Team formed.

“It’s one of the coolest things to play at a much higher level when we get done with club,” she said.

Samantha Rosenkranz said it is a wish-come-true for Clark County to have a women’s club team for college-age players to improve their skills. Photo by Mike Schultz
Samantha Rosenkranz said it is a wish-come-true for Clark County to have a women’s club team for college-age players to improve their skills. Photo by Mike Schultz

The Timbers begin their 2019 season Sunday on the road in Wenatchee. Their home opener is May 18, with all home matches to be played at Harmony Sports Complex at NE 18th Street and NE 192nd Avenue.

Much has been made of the new baseball team in Clark County. The Ridgefield Raptors will begin play in June, featuring college-age athletes in a summer wood bat league.

The Timbers and the Victory are pretty much the same thing, allowing for college-age (and in some cases, post-college athletes) the chance to hone their skills and continue with their careers.

“It’s great to have the opportunity to display these kids, especially the ones who are at community college and want to move on,” first-year Timbers coach Evan Gaul said. “It’s a platform for them to be seen and play for the community.”

Evan Gaul is taking over as the head coach for the Washington Timbers Women’s First Team this season. The Timbers finished second in the league a year ago. Photo by Mike Schultz
Evan Gaul is taking over as the head coach for the Washington Timbers Women’s First Team this season. The Timbers finished second in the league a year ago. Photo by Mike Schultz

Many of the players have Clark County connections, too. Such as Rosenkranz.

Rosenkranz said she gets high-tier training and a chance to grow her game prior to transferring to the University of Mary.

Plus, Harmony is almost like a second home for Rosenkranz. She played juniors right here.

“I played for the Timbers as a little girl — a huge part of my life,” she said. “The reason I’m still playing soccer is the unbelievable experiences I’ve had here. It’s been fantastic.”

Now she gets to continue with the club, but as an adult.

“I don’t know what it doesn’t mean to me. It’s every part of me,” Rosenkranz said of the game. “I’m a soccer referee. I coach for the club. My personality has been formed by soccer. The drive I’ve developed is from playing for this program. Soccer is me, and I don’t even know how to separate it from myself.”

The Timbers Women’s First Team won the Northwest Premier League in its first season and finished second last year.

Rosenkranz said the goal is to always go for the gold and rely on team play to excel.

Gaul said the focus is on preparing for the first week, then the second, and eventually get to the end-of-season goals.

“You can’t look at the end until you take the first step,” he said. “Each week is a grind.”

Washington Timbers Women’s First Team

Home schedule

Matches are at Harmony Sports Complex

May 18: 5 p.m. vs. Capital FC

June 1: 3 p.m. vs.  Seattle Stars FC

June 15: 5 p.m. vs. Twin City Union

June 30: 3 p.m. vs. Wa Premier FC

For full schedule and ticket information, visit: http://www.washingtontimbers.com/nwpl

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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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