Two local youth soccer clubs to merge

Vancouver Timbers to join forces with Camas-Washougal

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

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Two of Clark County’s largest youth soccer clubs are looking to merge this year.

The boards of directors for the Vancouver Timbers and the Camas-Washougal Soccer Club have voted to merge. For the merger to go through, current VUSA teams will need to approve the proposal during votes scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.

If a majority of Vancouver Timbers teams approve the merger, the clubs will immediately merge. But the two clubs will form their own advanced competition teams for one more year, giving the combined club 12 months to complete the merger. Advanced competition teams are formed by tryouts usually held in the spring.

Even if the clubs merge, recreation teams would continue to be formed in their local communities.

At least initially, the merged club would be called Vancouver Timbers, the name the Vancouver United Soccer Alliance (VUSA) took on upon aligning with the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer. A similar merger proposal was rejected by a 27-25 vote of VUSA teams on Jan. 31, 2011.

VUSA president David Hughes said he is optimistic the merger will be approved this time. He said that by delaying combined tryouts until 2013, the directors addressed concerns that existing teams will be broken apart by a merger.

The directors of each club have unanimously approved the merger. Camas-Washougal Soccer Club bylaws do not require a membership vote, so the merger will happen if the VUSA teams vote in favor of it.

VUSA has about 1,700 players and Camas-Washougal, which includes the Washington Soccer Academy advanced competition club, has about 1,900.

At more than 3,500 players on recreation, select and premier teams, the new club would be among the largest in Washington.

The VUSA has scheduled two meetings to discuss the proposal and to vote on the merger. The meeting for recreation teams is at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Pied Piper Pizza, 12300 Northeast Fourth Plain Road. The meeting for VUSA advanced-competition teams is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Clark Public Utilities office at 1200 Fort Vancouver Way.

Teams also are able to vote online through the VUSA website, www.vusatimbers.com.

Vancouver USA is one of four youth soccer clubs in the metro area recently selected by the Portland Timbers for the MLS club’s Adidas Timbers Alliance.

As part of the alliance, the Major League Soccer club will share coaching resources and curriculum with alliance clubs for both boys and girls teams. The Portland Timbers would need to approve of any new name for the merged club, according to Hughes.