(Video courtesy of iFiberone Newsradio/Sean Wells)
OLYMPIA, Wash. – The 2016-2017 Oly Town Artesians season kicks off on Saturday night when they play host to the Olympic Force at 6:00 PM at The Pavilion at The Evergreen State College. The Artesians will pay tribute to teammate Austin Kelley, who passed away tragically in September, with a pregame ceremony. Fans in attendance will receive an AK memorial patch sticker (while supplies last) and are asked to wear their AK patch t-shirts. Fans with AK t-shirts will have a portion of their ticket price donated to the Kelley family. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for kids 5-12 years old and are available at the door.
The Artesians will feature a strong mix of veterans and newcomers to their roster this season. All-time Artesians goal leader Willie Spurr returns for his third season with the team. The Evergreen alum scored six goals in just four games last season and has 16 career goals with Oly Town FC. Jake Sanford also returns after posting a team high in points last year with five goals and five assists, and Artesians Defensive Player of the Year Brett Stallworth is back to patrol the backline. Andy Hyres leads the way for the newcomers after scoring three goals in the Western Indoor Soccer League Preseason Tournament.
A tough opponent comes calling for the season opener. Last season the Olympic Force advanced to the WISL Championship game before falling to Bellingham United. They posted a 9-1 record in the regular season and were led by the 21 goals of Gustavo Bermudez, who returns to the Force this season. Another returner is Enrique Hidalgo, who finished fifth in the WISL with 13 goals for the high powered squad from Bremerton.
The WISL will feature six teams for their third season. The Vancouver Victory elected to sit out the season leaving the Artesians, the Olympic Force, Bellingham United, Sporting Everett, Snohomish Skyhawks and the Tacoma Stars Reserves to battle it out in this highly competitive circuit.
First kick on Saturday at The Pavilion is scheduled for 6:00 PM. Doors open at 5:15 and pregame ceremonies will start at 5:50, so please plan on arriving early.