OLYMPIA, WA— Elite men’s soccer comes to Washington’s state capital beginning this weekend as the Oly Town Football Club Artesians begin life in Washington’s statewide Evergreen Premier League.
goalWA.net has followed the path of soccer in Olympia over recent years. There was the attempt to get things going that was called Capital City FC. There was a history of competing regionally that was called Olympia FC Flyers back in the mid 1980’s. The Sounders U23’s have played the Timbers U23’s in an annual PDL match in Tumwater.
Now along come the Oly Town Artesians, who after 3 seasons of indoor play in the Western Indoor Soccer League are bringing outdoor football to their city. They’ve got local talent, a media-savvy general manager in Brandon Sparks, a dedicated owner in Tim Smith, and strong connections with The Evergreen State College.
On Saturday in West Seattle the Artesians played their final preseason scrimmage / friendly against OSA FC (Seattle) of the NPSL. The 2-2 draw sends the club into match week outdoor-style for the very first time.
Sunday April 30th’s home opener against Yakima United has been moved from The Evergreen State College to South Sound Stadium. Kick off is at 2 PM.
Just taking the pitch in the EPLWA means a certain kind of success for the Artesians, but they look and feel like a club that wants to be around for the long haul and establish themselves in the community. They have an all-important local main sponsor in Lucky Dog Casino. They have local ties and a working relationship with The Evergreen State College and its soccer program. They have continuity at the top as WISL Head Coach Ray Finn will also be gaffer for the EPLWA side. They have created avenues for fans to get involved with the team.
On the pitch the Artesians should be interesting to follow. Already this preseason they’ve seen promising offensive prowess from local guy Jordan Zimmerman (Capital HS, The Evergreen State College) who had a goal in preseason play, as did his older brother Jake Zimmerman. They’ve got veterans like defender Brett Stallworth, midfielder Kyle Wiese and goalkeeper JJ Olson, to name a few. They’ve got new outdoor recruits to go with a group that carries over from indoor play.
The Olympia soccer community grew closer and had a defining moment when together they rallied after the tragic death of Olympia High School graduate (Saint Martin’s University) and Artesians player Austin Kelley. The story of the Artesians is now forever linked to Austin’s story. His presence would have been felt on the pitch this coming Sunday, likely as a team captain. He was just the kind of local talent and special leader that the Evergreen Premier League was created for. Instead, the Artesians are pushing forward in his memory.
Sunday at South Sound Stadium Oly Town Football Club will take the pitch for their first-ever league match. There is only one “first time,” and for Olympia there will be echoes of previous seasons, former clubs, different eras, lost friends…even as the sport of soccer is brought home anew by the Artesians.