OLYMPIA, WA – On the eve of New Years Oly Town signs women’s soccer coach Chris Wells to lead the Artesians in their inaugural USL W League season in the United Soccer League. The head coaching announcement comes three months after USL soccer based in Florida made their own signal to the nation that expansion westward would occur in 2023 which included Olympia, WA. A five team W League expansion division comprising of existing USL League Two Northwest Division clubs; Lane United (Eugene, Oregon), OVF Alliance (Albany, OR), Capital FC (Salem, OR), United PDX (Portland, OR) and Oly Town FC (Olympia, WA). USL (United Soccer League) has a major footprint in the national soccer world with professional soccer leagues, path to professional franchises and youth academy soccer.
“It’s a big deal for the USL W League to be coming to the Northwest” said Head W League Coach Chris Wells. “USL is a well-known soccer entity in the US and will provide further opportunities for women who are looking to play at the highest level or professionally in the future. The more opportunities for this, the better and it’s been too long since we last saw USL women’s soccer in this region.”
Chris Wells coaching background includes a stint with Reign FC in the NWSL (National Women’s Soccer League) during the 2014-2016 seasons at the professional level. Coach Wells also had a coaching record of 30-2-0 with the Seattle Stars and two Championship wins in the NWPL (Northwest Premier League). Wells is the current recruiting coordinator at division one Seattle University for the women’s soccer program and was also the associate head coach for Highline Community College women’s soccer program 2012 to 2017 which included a NWAC Championship win in 2017. Wells has extensive background coaching girls youth soccer at the club level and high school varsity where he coached at Kent-Meridian High School from 2013-2017.
Oly Town FC is relatively new to women’s soccer having fielded its first ever team in 2021 which showcased an undefeated 4-0-1 record led by Division One West Virginia University alum Kailey Utley and local captain and Evergreen State College alum Delaney Smith. The Artesians were formally accepted into the Northwest Premier League in 2022 which featured top semi-professional teams from both Oregon and Washington. In summer 2022 the Artesians finished the table with a 4-2 record losing to Salem, Oregon’s Capital FC twice. The Artesians would battle their way to the Championship as a #2 seed and upset Capital FC in a Championship penalty shootout which featured a game winning save from goalkeeper Olivia Brock. This marked Oly Town’s first ever league cup trophy since its inception in 2014.
“With the transition to USL and the women’s team having a strong showing in their inaugural NWPL year, I am excited to join the club and hopefully help continue building on the foundation the previous team and staff built last year” said Chris Wells.
Oly Town is holding USL W League tryouts for the women’s side Sunday, January 8, 2023 at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey. Most W League teams consist of current college soccer players, professional, former elite competitive players and elite academy level soccer players. The registration for trialing for Oly Town FC and their women’s soccer program can be found at olytownfc.com.
“I’m excited for Chris Wells to bring his extensive knowledge of the women’s game to Oly Town” said W League Team Director Vanessa Crisp. “His experience leading championship teams, as well as his work in college and pro soccer is invaluable. Having him on staff makes me very confident that he will be an excellent leader for our women’s team.”
Oly Town continues to build out their USL franchise technical staff and has signed Rachel Ross and Ozer Kocdemir for assistant coaching positions for the W League and League Two. Rachel Ross who is a decorated all conference and all region Pacific Lutheran University soccer player turned coach committed to Oly Town to assist Chris Wells and help with player development in its first year. Ross is no stranger to the Artesians as she coached the inaugural women’s season in their undefeated exhibition series in 2021. She currently coaches at Washington Premier Football Club teams for both girls and boys in Pierce County and also coaches at the high school varsity level.
“Rachel returning to work with Oly Town is a win” said General Manager and Part Owner Jason Smith. “Players and coaches alike are super excited to work with her this upcoming season.”
Ozer Kocdemir who holds a USSF “C” License was voted 3A Soccer Coach of the Year for Boys Varsity Soccer in the South Sound Conference after going 13-4-0 and a league title. Kocdemir currently coaches multiple Washington Premier Football Club teams and has international playing and coaching experience with Real Madrid Youth Camps, Nigerian Olympic Team Youth and playing path to pro equivalent soccer in Sweden.
“What I like about Ozer is his commitment to being a student of the game” said Principal Owner Ryan Perkins. “His forte is video analysis, breaking down games and practices and providing players methods to get better.”
The January 8 tryout for both USL W League and USL League Two will feature both coaches and an array of local soccer evaluators with names such as Liviu Bird (Pumas, Sounders U23 and Columbus Crew), John Purtteman (former pro, Evergreen State College Coaching Hall of Fame), Jason Dunn (former United States Men’s National Team and Seattle Sounder), Kate Green (Former Associate Head Coach at PLU and current Technical Director at Black Hills Football Club), Steven Sharp (Varsity Soccer Coach and former Pro-Am player) and more. Tryouts are open to the media and public and will have hot coffee and cocoa provided by Dancing Goats Coffee.
Follow Oly Town on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter (@olytownfc) for weekly updates including future announcements regarding the 2023 schedule release, season tickets and the new Oly Town Supporters group meeting. Oly Town is a local soccer club created in 2014 first as a men’s arena semi-pro team but evolved into both men’s and women’s premier outdoor and holds annual youth soccer camps for both outdoor and indoor with its players and coaching staffs. Visit olytownfc.com for more information on youth soccer camps and history of the club.
The club does not exist without the community buying tickets and coming to games and local business sponsors. Visit the Oly Soccer Foundation page and our partners page to find out how you can contribute to the growth of local soccer and volunteering for Oly Town game days and events.