The inaugural season of Hillcrest FC kicks-off tonight. Established this year, Hillcrest FC will be playing in the top division of the Bellingham Sportsplex Soccer Association, Mens 1. They come into this season with a great amount of hype surrounding them. Led by Coach Tim Knipp, this team is poised to make a deep run in the playoffs and has a real shot at winning the league cup this year. When asked about his confidence in his team Coach Knipp said, “There are four teams in the league and four spots in the playoffs. You know, I like our chances to make the postseason.” That high level of confidence will serve the team well early in the season, but do they have the resolve and the depth to maintain that confidence through the season?
The team roster is full of seasoned veterans, young guns, and international flavor. Coach Knipp has built a team that is versatile and experienced which will allow him to juggle his starting six as the season progresses. He also wanted to gather players who won’t be seeking the spotlight, unselfish team-first players. We will see if the lack of any star players will help him or haunt him. Carlo Furlan, starting attacking midfielder commented on the locker room atmosphere, “I’m pumped to kick the ball around with some bros, be a kid on the field, and make it through a season without an injury.”
A number of the players expressed concern over mid-season injuries. The team has already lost one of its key players, Calyx Hoag, to a season-ending knee injury. The amount of experience in the locker room has to be encouraging to the younger players on the team but can this team rely on veterans who could be lost for the season with one bad tackle? Starting centerback, Geoff Mumley had this to say about the season, “I’m just really excited to see Hillcrest FC silence their critics, you know? ‘Has beens’, ‘Glory days gone by’ — I’ve been reading all of those terms in the papers, and I’m just ready to show them what we’ve got. Also, I hope I don’t break.” These sentiments are shared by almost every veteran player on the team.
Lets take a look at the starting six and the depth on this team.
The backline for Hillcrest FC is anchored by Kenyan international, Geoff Mumley and rising star, Lucas Ward. They’ll play in front of veteran keeper, Aaron Dutton. The youth and speed of Ward will hopefully complement Mumley’s experience and savvy. Anchoring the midfield are Travis Connell and Carlo Furlan, both veteran players with years of playing and coaching experience. Furlan brings a winning presence to the team, he captained his club team to a number of state championships. On top, Jake Mailhot will be counted on to return to his goal scoring dominance, he was the top scorer on his club team two years running in 2002 and 2003. Off the bench, Coach Tim Knipp has a number of versatile pieces to utilize including himself, Colton Debruine, Greg Otterholt, Grady Dillon, and Matt Meyer.
The Hillcrest FC season kicks off tonight at 10:30pm with a game against Jesus Maneuver at home on Puma Field. Game recaps will be posted following each game of the season. Stay tuned for more on Hillcrest FC and their campaign for the cup!