If you don’t succeed, try, try and try again. After more than a decade without a professional soccer team, Calgary is now home to the new Foothills FC U-23. Its season opener is slated for Sunday, May 17th.
You may vaguely remember the ghosts of teams past: the Boomers, the Storm and the Mustangs. Or you may not. With low attendance, two of them only lasted one season, while the other managed to chalk up four.
The club behind Calgary’s fourth professional soccer team is betting that – this time – Calgary will be receptive to the world’s most popular sport. But with the NHL playoffs in full swing and the Stampeders’ first game in June, will there be enough spectators to go around?
Head Coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. has been building a fan base since he played for the Storm. When that team folded, he strategically built the Foothills Club with a focus on grassroots programs first. With almost 3,000 players in its youth club, the new team has built-in supporters.
Also, it’s cheap. Tickets are only $15 a game, or $75 for the entire season of six home games.
Game one is May 17 starting at 1:30 p.m. against Puget Sound, at Shouldice Athletic Park’s Hellard Field.
A Starter Kit For First-time Soccer Fans
Good to know
You’ll be watching 11 players on the field, with a break at halftime. There are no quarters in soccer.
What do you wear?
Take your cue from the green and white team jerseys. Call the Foothills’ horizontal stripes “hoops” for that authentic British football fan lingo. The “FC” in its official team name stands for Football Club, btw.
Who will be there?
The grandstands at Hellard Field can fit 2,000 of your closest friends. Former “Dragon” Brett Wilson may make a cameo, after lighting up Twitter with a stripes-versus-solids debate about the Foothills jersey.
Is there beer?
Yes! Head to the beer garden in the end zone. You can watch the entire game from there, if you don’t want to be too far from the bar.
How about tailgating before the game?
Unofficially, there may be groups doing this, but keep an eye out for Calgary’s finest. The parking lot is city-owned.
Is it dangerous? What about those people being trampled at games in Europe?
Not a chance. Unless the bouncy castle in the Kids Zone gets rowdy.
What’s the ref saying?
Since the referee’s comments aren’t broadcast to the public, you’ll never know for sure. But if he blows his whistle and points at a player, pay attention. An infraction has occurred and he’s about to make a call. Meanwhile, just in case you’re tying your shoe during other pivotal moments, goals will be announced over the sound system.
Is there half-time entertainment?
Yes. In fact, if you’re in a band, there may still be spots available.
Hey! Pro soccer isn’t just for boys.
Inspired by the Canadian women’s team, which ranks in the top ten worldwide, Foothills WFC have already started their exhibition season, with plans to join the USL Pro-Am League next year.
Thirsting for more fan knowledge?
There’s a website for that. The Foot Soldiers Supporters Group have a robust Twitter account and a website that offers inspiration for game day chants and post-game pubbing. They also have a supporters scarf for sale, in green and white. Natch.
For more information on Foothills FC or to buy tickets, visit foothillsfc.ca