Bellingham United’s third season kicks off Sunday April 27 against Vancouver

Here we are once again. It’s April and the start of a brand new Bellingham United FC season. Although it is a familiar feeling to most of us by now, this season does somehow have that inaugural season buzz to it all over again due to many new faces and most definitely because of the inception of the EPLWA (Evergreen Premier League). It’s a time to start new rivalries, new memories and more importantly, new legacies.

bufc-clearby Hammers Insider Brandon Enyeart

Of course it would end up that Bellingham United’s first match on April 27th in this brand new league is against Vancouver Victory FC….the Hammers just can’t get away from Vancouver teams! However, as you all know, this Vancouver team is from the American city North of Portland, OR, not the Canadian city North of our own Bellingham.

This first match is full of questions. Unlike other EPLWA teams, such as South Sound Shock, West Sound FC and Spokane Shadow FC, we don’t know a whole lot about “The Victory”. What we do know is that their coaching staff comprised of Head Coach, Biniam Afenegus, and Assistant’s Sean Johnson and Filomon Afenegus does include over a decade of coaching experience at the college and premier men’s level. Filomon Afenegus also brings some PDL playing experience to the table, as well as a four year college career with none other than Bellingham’s own, Western Washington University.

v2fc-full-color-crest-croppedAlthough there are many things we don’t know going into this season opener, there are a few things we do know. The Hammers have been here before, not only do they have the experience of starting in a new league, they also have two seasons of experience playing against some of the best Premier Level teams in Canada. While the skill level may be even higher in Washington State, teams like Vancouver Victory FC will likely be figuring themselves out early on and the few veteran players who are left on Bellingham United FC’s roster should help to capitalize on that.
Speaking of those veterans…

Some familiar faces should be returning, it is likely we will see Leo Cohen back between the pipes and names like Sean Connor and Andrew Weishaar have been buzzing around, so one might expect to see them on opening day as well. If Weishaar does indeed dawn black and white on April 27th, he will be an integral piece to the puzzle. His recent college season with Western Washington University was a brilliant one, as he led the team in goals…..several goals. With fan favorite, Kellan Brown off the roster, the Hammers will be looking for their next “Golden Boot” to step up to the plate and make things happen. Weishaar may just be the guy to do it.

EPLWA Logo-06-500As for the new kids on the block, BUFC’s coaching staff seemed very happy with this year’s tryouts, even noting that they saw a “…significant rise in the standard of those who came out….”. Some players who we saw glimpses of on the first team last year, such as Carlos Betencourt could prove to be very important to the midfield and forwards like Muhammed Marenal may help provide multiple targets up top.

When it all comes down to it, even with the new league, new teams, new schedule and new faces, there is one thing that has been constant from day one and that’s the hunger Bellingham has for a championship. Every single one of these facts should be reason enough to be there for the season opener. Washington is a soccer state and with an all new, all Washington league, pride is on the line like never before. This is Bellingham’s year to shine and become the “Pride of Washington”……don’t be the one who misses it.
Kickoff is at 3pm at Civic Stadium on April 27th.

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