Image provided by: University of Oregon Libraries; Eugene, OR
About The Dalles chronicle. (The Dalles, OR) 1998-2020 | View Entire Issue (March 14, 2020)
A6 Weekend of March 14-15, 2020
S P E C I A L
S E C T I O N
in the company of excellence
Matthew Dallman, far left, discusses strategy with his
youth team during playoff soccer action earlier this year.
Dallman begins his fourth year running the Gorge Soccer
League and Academy. Over a three-year span, the Indoor
Winter League has grown from 120 athletes to 500.
Ray Rodriguez photo
Program has grown considerably
in its first three years
The Dalles Chronicle
the high school program, which is great for the future
of The Dalles sports.”
One part of the league registration explosion is the
influx of female players.
Matthew Dallman started with a plan — to popular-
In the program’s infancy, there were three teams
ize soccer in the gorge.
comprised of six or seven girls, spanning from first-
In three years, the former professional soccer player through-seventh grade
and current varsity boys head coach at The Dalles
Now, there are four leagues with four teams that have
High School has seen the fruits of that labor pay off
nine girls, boosting the total to 134 girls of all ages
substantially with the Gorge Soccer Futsal Indoor
League, expanding from 12 teams and 120 athletes up
“That’s what you want to see in the gorge,” said West-
to 48 teams and 500 players.
side Timbers, The Gorge, youth soccer coach Oscar
In all, there are boys and girls teams coming from
Nuñez. “It has just been great. I can’t say it enough.
Goldendale, White Salmon, Hood River, Maupin, and I love watching games like this. You see girls playing
The Dalles, and that is a way of bringing communities soccer. You see girls trapping the ball, you see girls
passing the ball, you see girls communicating, moving
“I did not think that this program would grow as
off the ball, give-and-go’s, just things you didn’t see
much as it has this soon,” Dallman said. “It is a little
in The Dalles five years ago, especially at this age. It is
overwhelming, but it is definitely a good problem to
have. To consistently double our league enrollment
Devinn Ward, assistant coach of the Tornados youth
numbers each year is definitely something I did not
squad, uses her platform to not only teach kids the
think would be possible.”
game, but as a tool to help guide these athletes through
Dallman, the program’s CEP, said that the goal of the life outside of practices and competition.
Gorge Soccer League/Academy is to provide a fun and
“There’s teamwork going into everything,” Ward said.
organized learning experience for all young athletes in “It is not only skills on the court, but it is life skills. It’s
The Dalles area.
sportsmanship, working together to make that pass,
While GSL is a recreational league, it also serves as
to make that goal, and whether you make it or not,
an activity for kids to gain more interest in playing
having that affection and kindness for better does this
more competitive soccer.
program well. It’s all about the youth programs and
There are several options available to boys and
teaching them on and off the field or court.”
girls from kindergarten-through high school, ranging
The bigger question regarding the future involves
from outdoor spring and fall leagues to an indoor
facilities and giving the athletes a stable environment
to hone their skills.
Year-round soccer skills programs and camps are
There have been discussions on Gorge Soccer
provided through the academy, so the point of the
finding its own place for use that will serve as the
program is to further develop their overall skill sets
main soccer hub.
if they want to.
In the past, games were played at The Dalles
“There are a lot of people coming up and telling me
Fitness and Court Club, and this past winter season,
how improved the kids are at such a young age,” Dall-
league contests and tournaments were played in the
man said. “The quality is that much better because they gymnasiums at Chenowith Elementary School and
are playing year-round. You can see the quality getting Wahtonka High School.
better every season at the younger ages, which just
“That’s definitely the goal, especially right around
means that you will have better players coming up in
wintertime, where it is very hard to come by gym
space,” Dallman said. “We were lucky enough to have
the school district throw us a bone and let us have
these games on Sundays, so it has been great. Ideally,
having our own place would be fantastic. It is some-
thing that we are looking into. It’s a big undertaking,
but as you can see, the numbers are there. It’s just about
getting the right people together to be able to put it
Over the three years, Dallman has received tremen-
dous support from families and community members
that have allowed him to start a fourth year in the
More importantly, sponsors such as Copper West
Real Estate, McClaskey Orchards, A Kidz Dental Zone,
Orchard View Cherries, Mike’s Ice Cream and Doppio
Coffee, are a major component of helping Dallman
realize his long-term vision of promoting soccer in
Gorge Soccer has announced an open registration
for the fourth year of GSL 4-on-4 (ages 4-7) and 5-on-5
(ages 8-18) outdoor action starting April 19.
This eight-week league allows boys and girls to
transition from indoor to outdoor soccer.
League fees vary between $200-$300 per team,
compared to roughly $700 it would cost to join a
Portland-based association, so the GSL is a cost-
effective way to play competitive soccer locally.
Nuñez, who coached three teams to indoor
championships this past winter, already has those
groups eyeing more hardware for spring action.
He talks about how grateful he is for all the hard
work that Dallman puts in to help the athletes.
“It shows his level of dedication to these kids and
their parents,” Nuñez said. “You look back even five
years ago and there was three months of soccer and the
kids were done. To have somebody put in all that time,
energy and money and everything else is phenomenal.
I don’t think Matt gets enough praise. Every time I get
the chance, I tell him how we appreciate him and what
he has done for the community.”
Sign up or find out more information about
available Gorge Soccer programs by logging on to
Ve hicl e ca re don e righ t a t m odera t e pric es .
Automotive & Diesel Services
senior citizens, and
service personnel with
L to R: Tyler Luna, Steve Kelsey, Jon Jr. Keyser,
Jason Smith, Holly Keyser, Jon Keyser
720 East 2nd Street, The Dalles | 541-296-3876
2937 East 2nd Street . The Dalles
across from Big Jim’s . 541-980-0518