We reached out to Bellingham United- one of six clubs participating in the Western Indoor Soccer League -to get a little history lesson and a vision of its future. The questions were answered by Marc Ronney, the general manager of Bellingham United; Richard Henderson, the indoor coach; and Jason Conway, the outdoor coach. Marc is an administrator and trainer for their Junior Hammers programs, and was previously the administrator of the Whatcom Development League, now called the Rangers Development Program.
We love a good origin story; tell us about how your club was founded--what's your story?
He (Jeff McIntyre – the previous owner and co-founder of Ruffneck Scarves) always wanted to be an owner of a soccer team and picked Bellingham as his city of choice. We played in the PCLS- a Canadian league -the first couple of seasons before moving to the EPLWA. Jeff and Lance Calloway, the first BU coach, were involved with the creation of the EPLWA.
What's the mission of your organization? Are you directly affiliated with a youth program? Do you have a women's side?
Our mission is to provide the community with a high-level soccer team to follow and watch. We aren’t associated with a youth club but work closely with the WFC Rangers, the local Premier club. We have fielded a women’s team for a tournament or two but at this time don’t have a team for the summer leagues.
You have men's sides in both the EPLWA as well as the WISL--do players often play for both teams? How serious do they take indoor season; is it more recreational, more meant to maintain fitness for the outdoor season? Or are both indoor and outdoor seasons taken with an equal amount of competitive spirit?
There is a core group of players who do play in both teams and are the heartbeat of the teams as they bring in experience, club historical knowledge, and common shared values. Both teams are highly competitive with both being semi-professional. The groups of payers are made up of local players who have played professionally or collegiate level and those who are wanting to play summer ball during their collegiate careers. The teams also have separate identities, which is a good thing but both want to play and compete at the highest level possible.
What's your trophy cabinet like? Any regional or cup competitions we might not have heard about?
The indoor team has won three WISL championships and is on a 23-home game win streak as well as finishing runners up at the national tournament this past year. The outdoor team has been runner up two of the last three years in outdoor.
Tell us about your crest and colors! Not every club at your level has a legit Supporters Group--tell us about them as well!
Jeff created the crest and picked the colors. The supporters group was formed in the first year and has grown over the years. Check out their facebook page for more info.
It seems that the Bellingham United badge was, at least in part, derived from the Seal of the City of Bellingham.
Did I miss anything central to your club? What's the most important aspect of Bellingham United?
Bellingham United is here to give the local players a place to play at a higher level. We have several ex-WFC Ranger and WWU players that play for the team as well as local coaches who play as well. During the EPLWA season, several WCC and WWU players will play with us.
Check them out: http://bellinghamunited.com/
See the WISL: https://wislnews.wordpress.com/
- Josh Duder