With one CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals appearance, an MLS Supporters’ Shield and two USL titles Joey Gjertsen now wants an MASL title with his hometown Tacoma Stars. Gjertsen’s been around North American soccer, including stops in Canada with Vancouver Whitecaps and Montreal Impact and a couple years with the San Jose Earthquakes. Now, he’s a Tacoma Star, the club he grew up backing.
At 34, Joey is a veteran on the tail end of his 12-year-career. Part of his role, besides scoring eight goals and assisting eight more, is educating the younger guys about the history of the Tacoma Stars and soccer throughout Puget Sound. “That’s a part of what I do,” Gjertsen told Sounder at Heart. “Many of them don’t believe the stories of the Stars in the day, but we’re getting there.”
The Stars are different. It’s not just indoor soccer. There’s a bit of a classic rock vibe. There are also mascots. Yes, Gjertsen notices the mascots.
“When I look around when we’re in a time out huddle or end of quarter and see the mascots it’s ... different, but then I see the kids after the game with the mascots. It’s special.”
Postgame, the Stars players, coaches and mascots gather on the field signing memorabilia, posing for selfies or just talking about the game with the fans.
Tacoma has a chance at the MASL Playoffs. They can clinch with a win and an Ontario Fury loss in their final three games. If the Fury lose two of those three games then the Stars make the postseason.
That’s where Gjertsen’s focus is right now. He has a solid history, but “winning a championship with the Tacoma Stars in our 2nd year would go to the top of my list.” The odds may be long, but this is a player who saw more than 55,000 fans show up to support a D-2 club take on Liga MX powerhouse Santos Laguna, and win the first leg 2-0. Could another Puget Sound club sneak into the playoffs and make a run? Why not.