January 12, 2018
Two-year Spokane Shadow First Team player Eric Espinoza is headed to the National Premier Soccer League Player Showcase this weekend, January 13-15, in Florida with hopes of landing further opportunities with professional clubs.
Espinoza, also a standout at Whitworth University, was among the 17 players named to the West Region team for the upcoming NPSL Showcase following recommendations from the league’s clubs. The midfielder has been a leader for the Shadow First Team the past two summers, guiding the team to a third place finish – four points back of the champion – in the regional Evergreen Premier League in 2016 and was a standout performer this past summer as the team debuted in the NPSL with a 3-4-3 record in an extremely competitive Northwest Division race in which the top five teams were separated by eight points.
Espinoza was one of only five players chosen from the six teams in the division to play on the West Region team.
The fourth annual NPSL Showcase is being held at Austin-Tindall Park in Kissimee, Florida in advance of the United Soccer Coaches Convention. The MLS Player Combine is also being held in nearby Orlando January 11-17 with the draft on January 19 at the United Soccer Coaches Convention in Philadelphia.
In addition to coaches scouting for the MLS Draft, Espinoza has the opportunity to impress coaches and scouts from among the nearly 40 lower division professional sides from United Soccer League (DII) and North American Soccer League (sanctioning TBD). Following the debut season of the Shadow First Team, standout Mike Ramos would go on to be drafted by MLS and eventually sign with Puerto Rico of the NASL, where he has played several seasons and earned opportunities with the Puerto Rico National Team (via American citizenship eligibility rules).