One of our new favorite things at Protagonist Soccer is digging into WOSO all across this country. Tulsa Fortuna is a second year club, but one that is already making waves, playing in the WPSL National Playoffs this weekend. We spoke with Wayne Farmer, General Manager for the club, to find out more about this team from Oklahoma.
So tell us about Fortuna Tulsa. Your league, your club origins, etc.
Fortuna Tulsa finished its inaugural season last year in the 2018 WPSL. Overall, we saw the first season as a success in setting the WPSL league attendance record of 1,720 people on May 25th 2018 vs Oklahoma City FC. We also won Franchise of the Year, as well as other WPSL recognitions for social media, marketing, and game day broadcasting.
Your crest looks like it borrowed its look from Fortuna Dusseldorf, any particular connection to that club? Just like the look?
Some similarities, but we take pride in the uniqueness of our logo. The meaning of Fortuna spoke to team owners Barry Williams and Dave Hibbard. The specialty of reading ‘Good luck Tulsa’ also had a great ring to it. After entering the league and announcing our brand, the following and support continued to grow.
We follow Tulsa Athletic (of the NPSL), how's the overall soccer scene like in Tulsa? Is the enthusiasm equal for the women's game?
The soccer scene in Tulsa is great! I just came from the park watching the A’s play against Ozarks FC. We have 2 great amateur teams with the Athletics and Fortuna Tulsa that both won conference championships this season, and a USL Championship team in the Roughnecks that is pushing for a playoff spot in the Western Conference. The enthusiasm around the women’s game is fantastic, this can be seen in the anticipation around our games and the attendances.
Where do you draw your talent from?
Yolanda Thomas, our Head Coach, has done a great job selecting players that reside in Tulsa but now attend some of the best schools around the nation. It is important to note that our team is not just made up of college players. Yolanda selected the best elite players that live in Tulsa that have graduated college as well as the 3 high school players to complete the roster.
Which player(s) should we be focusing on from your squad?
Taylor Malham is a US youth national team player who is currently at the University of Arkansas. Taylor, has played both seasons with us and continues to be a huge attacking threat. We could also highlight our captain, Rachel Hummingbird-Garcia, a player who has graduated from playing division 1 soccer at the University of Tulsa. Rachel is a mother, works full time, and still makes time to prepare and play at the elite WPSL level. The coaching staff have done a great job forming a team with true depth, where most positions are 2 or 3 deep with little drop off from the last player.
How does your club create connections to your local community?
We have a very strong connection through our media platforms where we provide a true insight into training and games, but also keep that connection while the players are out of season with us. We are very active in the community attending local festivals and events, as well as hosting youth soccer clinics.
If someone just found your club, what's the first thing they should know about your club?
Great question! Barry Williams (Fortuna Tulsa owner), has instilled into the club the saying ‘treat people how you want to be treated’. We hope that is something individuals experience when coming to a game as a fan, an opposing team, or in everything we do.
Your club is making a strong run in the WPSL Playoffs currently, how's that run been and who's your next opponent?
So far our games both home and away have been a lot of fun, with Yolanda and her staff giving a lot of players playing experience. We play Salvo SC in St Paul, MN. Salvo are a first year team that need to be congratulated for their season so far. The team travels up Friday morning and play the regional semifinal Saturday at 1:00pm. I would invite all Tulsa fans and readers to tune in and support Fortuna Tulsa this weekend.