Valdovinos (Yakima), Niermann (Vancouver) named June 21 EPLWA Rock’em Socks Players of Week

square logo all blackSometimes a draw feels like a “win” of sorts. Thanks to dramatic contributions from the June 21 EPLWA Rock’em Socks Players of the Week, both Yakima United FC and Vancouver Victory FC rescued big home points out of what could have been losses.

One scored a brace, including the tieing goal in added time.

The other stopped a penalty kick and its rebound attempt. Both are honored this week as league POTW’s.

potwgraphic6-21-15valdo-2Offense – Hector Valdovinos (Yakima United FC) has been near the top of the EPLWA goal scorers list for two seasons now. Last year he finished third with nine. In 2015 Hector has seven already, with four matches left to break his 2014 total. None of his goals was bigger than the one he scored on Sunday in stoppage time to give the Hoppers a dramatic 3-3 draw with Central Washington rivals Wenatchee FC. It was YUFC’s first-ever point against the Capitals.

Yakima General Manager Josh Vega shares Hector’s big day. “His first goal was off a through ball from Andres Ruiz. Hector loves to get on the outside shoulder of defenders and use his strength and speed to get in positions to score and that’s what he did on the first goal,” Vega recalls. “He muscled his way in and finished low under the keeper.”

Valdovinos’ first goal got the Hoppers going, closing the gap to 2-1. Then came his added time score that earned Yakima a thrilling point and dampened Wenatchee’s title hopes.

“Hector’s second goal came off a free kick the goalkeeper jumped up and as he was coming down with the ball collided with his own player,” says Vega. “The ball came loose, Hector pounced on it, beat a man and tucked it into the back post.”

Read a 2014 feature on Valdovinos at

arne-2Defense – Arne Niermann (Vancouver Victory FC) braced for the shot, hoping for the best but also knowing that penalty kick saves are rare. No time to think about that — only time to react— and hope.

The league-leading Victory were being given quite a test from the visiting Stars of Seattle. In the 39th minute Seattle was awarded a penalty kick. Victory owner Barrett Goddard describes the moment.  “In the 39th minute of the first half Arne made two back to back critical saves when he dove to his right and saved a penalty kick then got up and stuffed the put-back shot from a streaking Seattle forward, laying out on his back to his left, before the ball was cleared up by the defense.”

The big moment meant the match remained scoreless. Eventually both sides got a goal and shared the points.

“Arne started and played the whole match for us. He had nine saves but the critical three saves were in the 10th minute he dove to his left and made a one-handed save on a hard shot from 13 yards out in front of the goal by Seattle. Then the penalty kick sequence of two saves. The back to back saves ignited the crowd and energize the team to take us into halftime even with Seattle.”

Niermann has been sharing time in goal with the Victory. “Arne has been an outstanding goalie for us all season and he is a great teammate,” Goddard says. “He is well-liked by the guys and the coaches. He works incredibly hard and is willing to do what’s best for the team.  He splits time with our other goalie Jordan Farr and that’s not ideal for any competitor but he and Jordan have a great working relationship and push and support each other in training and in games.”

Arne Niermann is a German goalkeeper who came to the States to play for Concordia Portland.

(Photos by Tracie Fowler)

EPLWA Logo-06-CROP-500The Evergreen Premier League  will be selecting an offensive and defensive Player of the Week each week during the 2015 season. The Players of the Week will be acknowledged with a pair of custom, unique socks featuring the EPLWA logo. The socks are from Rock’Em Apparel, the Official Provider of the weekly reward. The league worked with Rock’Em Apparel to finalize the look of the socks. The league logo is complemented by a rendering of George Washington in the State seal.

The phrase “Rock ‘Em” represents the willingness to achieve greatness; to go above and beyond limits,” says

Evergreen Premier League players will work to do just that for their clubs this season. The best of the best will have cool custom socks to show off around town for their efforts.

See previous 2015 Players of the Week listed here.



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