A few weeks ago, I was part of a monumental event that rocked Bellingham’s foundation to the core. No, it wasn’t an earthquake; it was something far more substantial and beautiful than that. This unforgettable milestone was the first home game of the Bellingham United Football Club’s—also known as the “Hammers”—inaugural season.
I, along with a crowd of about 1,400 other fans, witnessed the birth of our very own semi-professional, homegrown soccer team. Bellingham United is all about local people, local pride and local passion. Those of us in the stands were proud to see the Hammers embody the spirit of the world’s most popular game. It was a historic, tectonic-plate-shifting event. If you missed that inaugural game, or the two home games that followed, don’t miss the home game Sun., June 3.
I’ve never been a big fan of sports, so I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this. The games are fast, furious, full of passion and beautiful soccer, which can be magical to watch.
This local football club is the essence of Bellingham because they celebrate the values of community, courage and athleticism through the sport of soccer. According to head coach Lance Calloway, 16 players from a pool of 36 are from Bellingham or grew up in Whatcom County.
Calloway said it took a lot of time to recruit players, create the framework of a strong team and do it the right way. He, along with Bellingham United club president and co-founder Jeff McIntyre, hoped to create a fun environment where young kids can watch very talented players and respect what they are doing on the field. It’s a great opportunity for families to come out, see the team working hard and committed to the team goal of excellence in soccer.
Bellingham has a tremendous soccer legacy and culture. Starting at a young age, with the Whatcom Development League and then the Whatcom Football Club (the Rangers program), our kids have every opportunity to excel in soccer. My daughter plays for a Rangers team and it’s an impressive organization. She’s learned a lot, not only in terms of soccer, but also how to excel by setting goals and becoming the best possible person she can be.
I went to that first game out of sheer curiosity, but I left as a converted and obsessive Hammers fan, having experienced the most fun I’ve had in a long time. We plan on going to every home game and possibly some away games as well.
The Hammers are back in town this weekend at Civic Stadium. Tickets are cheaper than a movie and inherently more exciting. Attending a home game is the ultimate in “buying local.” Come see why Bellingham United is the highest-scoring team in the Pacific Coast Soccer league. Bring a date or bring your parents; just come out, rally the team and join the homegrown fun.
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