David Falk has followed soccer in the Puget Sound region since 1974. This blog covers Sounders FC, local college soccer, Seattle Wolves FC, Tacoma Tide FC and Kitsap Pumas. Send tips or comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Seattle Soccer Examiner
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Agu: 'I feel like I have more to give the Tide this year'
We recently broke the news that Tacoma Tide FC's all-time leading scorer Rory Agu would be returning to play for TFC in 2009. Now we've caught up with Rory Agu in Fresno and chatted with the speedy forward about his decision and the upcoming Tide campaign.
"After my college season ended," says Agu, "I came back to Tacoma for winter break for about a week and a half. I cut my break short, so I could try and find a job and to start training to the PDL season. I have been running three times a week, playing indoor and training with our rivals Fresno Fuego three times a week. I also have been keeping in touch with players from last year, seeing what they are doing and keeping track of who is coming back and what new players are coming in."
Going to college in Fresno right now it would only make sense for Agu to jump ship and play for the Fresno Fuego. Why hasn't he? "Loyalty," responds Agu. "I was given a chance to represent the city of Tacoma and State of Washington (playing with the Tide.) I have spent the last three years trying to help Tacoma Tide F.C. become a respected club in the Puget Sound area. I still feel like I have more to give to the Tide this year."
"I have been training with the Fresno Fuego for about a month now. The Fuego have been talking to me about playing for them this season since the summer. The GM for the Fuego came out to a few of my college games this year as well (Fresno City CC). After my season ended I called the GM to see if I could train with them for the pre-season. He told me that I had to talk to the coach about that. So I called the coach and we talked about my future. I told him that I will be returning to Tacoma for the 2009 season. He understands my loyalty to Tacoma."
The hook-up with Fresno has another benefit for Rory. The Fuego will play the Major League Soccer San Jose Earthquakes Friday February 20th. "I will be in Fresno for the game. I had talked to the coach last week about the chance of me playing in the game and he has told me that I will play. So I'm very excited to get a chance to play against an MLS side. I have never played against an MLS club before. For me this game is a good way for me to get seen, so I'm going to take every chance like its my only one."
Rory looks forward to the potential rivalries the Tide will face in 2009 with the entry of the Kitsap Pumas and Seattle Wolves into the league. "I love having local rivals. It makes playing for Tacoma just that much more important for me, and shows how many good players we have in
the Puget Sound area."
Agu still has clear memories of the Tide winning their first Northwest Division crown in 2008 and then beating Fresno 3-0 in a playoff match before almost 4,000 fans in California. "It is the best feeling to be here training with a rival team and wearing your teams color high. I know how it made them feel that we (Tacoma Tide) ended their season."
Topping 2008 won't be easy for Tacoma. Every year they have shown marked improvement over the year before. In 2007 it was making the playoffs. In 2008 it was winning the division and advancing to the regional final. In 2009 Agu has a goal that has eluded the club so far: qualifying for a US Open Cup match.
"I feel that this being our fourth year, we (the players) owe it to the club to give our best yet. So that means we are looking to play in the US Open Cup for the first time. We are also looking to move closer to a PDL crown. I have been hearing some good news about the soccer community in Tacoma, and about some players that we might get. So fans, get ready for a great 2009! I feel like we are going to have the best team this club has ever had."
University of Washington winger Raphael Cox played for the Tide last year. Read about what he's doing now as a player in the Real Salt Lake training camp.