OLYMPIA, WA – The Oly Town Artesians announced the hiring of new head coach Liviu Bird to helm the USL League Two Franchise on Friday, December 16. The announcement comes a little under a year from the day Kasey Keller helped Oly Town FC announce their invitation and signing with USL Soccer. Coach Liviu Bird has considerable coaching experience to go with his USSF and UEFA A Licenses, with clubs such as the Columbus Crew, Seattle Sounders under-23, Kitsap Pumas and collegiately with Pacific Lutheran University among others.
“I believe a lot in this level of play and in this league, as still being the premier development league for professional players in our country,” Bird said. “I’ve seen firsthand what playing in USL League Two means for players, and also what it means for coaches to be in this league, and I’m excited to be back in it.”
The Artesians went 3-7-2 their inaugural year in 2022 placing fourth out of six teams when most analysts had Oly sitting in last preseason. Oly Town looks to change the atmosphere and technical soccer aspects of their local USL offering.
“I am extremely excited to work with Coach Liviu this upcoming season,” said Jason Smith who moves into a club wide General Manager role for USL Operations. “We will be working very hard this season on both recruiting great soccer players but also really helping them grow while playing for Oly Town FC.”
Bird comes to Oly Town with a 2020 MLS Cup Championship as a video analysis coach for then-Columbus Crew Head Coach Caleb Porter. Bird also coached the Kitsap Pumas through league and US Open Cup competitions in 2016-17 and helped coach the Sounders U23s to a second place divisional finish in USL League Two in 2019.
Bird having extensive experience at the USL2 level has thoughts on the level of play.
“The Northwest Division is traditionally one of the strongest in the league, and it’s still the top place to play and coach at the pre-professional level in our region,” he said. “Back closer to my playing days (Seattle Pacific University, Pumas and North Sound SeaWolves in USL2) we had seven years in a row where a Northwest team made the final four of the league playoffs, along with two runners-up and two national champions in that time.”
Oly Town FC is set to have USL Open Trials January 8 at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey and Bird will be on hand evaluating along with several other area local soccer names including John Purtteman, Ozer Kocdemier, Rachel Ross, Jason Dunn, Jason Smith and more.
“I’m hoping we’ll be able to bring in some talented young players, both from the area and also from outside, that will allow us to accomplish our goals this season,” Bird said. “We’ll aim to implement a game model based on a positional play philosophy that emphasizes forward-thinking ball possession and intelligent pressure.”
Players that are interested in the open tryout can head to olytownfc.com to register and complete tryout forms. Each player gets a cleat bag and USL Trial Top. The tryout is open to the media and public and Dancing Goats Coffee will be on hand serving up hot coffee and cocoa as well as Oly Town’s Heater Tents with new USL Apparel, Beanies, Hoodies and Scarves.
Oly Town FC is a local professional-amateur soccer club based in Thurston County that was formed in 2014 by original founder Brandon Sparks. The Artesians (are-TEE-shuns) have evolved since their 2014 arena soccer days into a men’s and women’s premier outdoor program, which now are both franchises with the United Soccer League pathway to professional leagues. Oly Town believes in strengthening community ties with athletics and youth outreach.
“The Artesians signing Liviu Bird is symbolic of the programs goals to drive soccer upward here in Olympia,” said Principal Owner Ryan Perkins. “We look forward to inspiring local kids with the talent that come here next summer and soccer camps to connect kids with the nations top collegiate soccer players. Pleased to see the excitement and professional nature from Coach Bird in just the weeks leading up to this announcement.”
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