SO Samba FC puts Hood River on NPSL stage

Local semi-pro soccer team accepted to National Primere Soccer League, helps form Northwest Conference

SO SAMBA team member Felipe Heredia challenges a player from the Seattle Sounders U18 team in a recent game at the Sounders’ training facility. SO Samba FC is a recently formed semi-pro team based out of Hood River.

Photo by Adam Lapierre.
SO SAMBA team member Felipe Heredia challenges a player from the Seattle Sounders U18 team in a recent game at the Sounders’ training facility. SO Samba FC is a recently formed semi-pro team based out of Hood River.

The National Premier Soccer League announced last week that the Hood River-based semi-pro soccer club, SO Samba FC, will join the league as an expansion team for the 2014 season. The recently formed team consists of adult players from throughout the Gorge, coached by Brazilian native Thiago Samba.

In addition to accepting SO Samba FC into the nationwide league, NPSL announced the formation of a new Northwest Conference to join the West Region. The conference, formed in large part because of SO Samba FC’s efforts, will consist of five teams representing Oregon, Washington and Idaho for a 10-game regular season running March through June. The top team in the conference will move on to play against Northern and Southern California conferences; the winner of that will move on to national competition.

“The launch of the Northwest Conference is an important milestone for the NPSL which would not have been possible without the vision and leadership of SO Samba FC,” said Michael Hitchcock, NPSL commissioner. “Samba is not only bringing NPSL soccer to Hood River, but the club led the way to help bring the NPSL to the soccer hotbed of the Pacific Northwest.”

Samba, who carries more than two decades of high-level playing and coaching experience, formed the club over the summer and has been recruiting a lineup of Gorge area all-stars to fill the roster in time for the start of the 2014 season. Although he now calls Hood River home, Samba is taking advantage of his Brazilian roots to impart a distinctive style of play unique to the area.

“We have a unique format for training, player development and game strategy,” Samba said. “The Brazilian style is very new here in the Northwest. Teams will underestimate us because we’re rural, but we fully embrace our Brazilian and Latino influences, which have created a very unique playing style that can win games.”

The club played several games this fall against teams of varying levels from around the Northwest, including Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers development teams. Last weekend the team played to a 1-1 tie against the Timbers’ U18 team, with Hood River Valley High School alumni Diego Diaz scoring SO Samba’s goal early in the first half.

The same day, SO Samba brought its budding U18 team to challenge the Timbers U16 development team, which resulted in at least one player on the team (Giovani Magana) being courted to join the Timbers’ club.

Although several players have been locked in for the NPSL season, the club is holding tryouts Jan. 25-26 to give others an opportunity to make the lineup. See for tryout details. As of this week, Brandao said the following players have signed contracts for the 2014 season, with more to follow in the coming weeks: Felipe Heredia, Lazaro Ramos, Immanuel Aguilera and Rafael Mondragon.

“SO Samba is so pleased to be a founding member of the new Northwest Conference,” said team manager Melissa Brandao. “We are exceptionally proud of our region and our new team. The Northwest is fertile ground for soccer.”


See for more on the team.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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