08/19/2013 8:32 AM
Bellingham United FC is pleased to announce that Head Coach, Lance Calloway has signed on for a third season at the helm. I sat down with him recently to talk about the decision; as well as the challenges that he will be facing in the 2014 season.
Brandon: I know Hammers fans will be excited to hear that you’ve signed on for a third year. Everyone knows you’re a busy guy though and would have understood if you decided not to. What ultimately made you decide to sign on for a third season?
Lance: I love coaching and I really enjoy working with this level of players and the team. There are some things I still want us to accomplish. I’d like to see us bring home a championship of some form to Bellingham and with some of the latest developments; I am really excited to see what’s going to transpire with Bellingham United. Since I sort of started some of these initiatives in a way, I want to follow through with them.
B: The 2013 season didn’t end quite the way you wanted it to, but the team had a fantastic regular season finishing 2nd in the PCSL, as well as having a phenomenal road record (5-1-1). How do you keep that winning mentality on the road next season and how do you improve your record at home?
L: I don’t think it’s necessarily about home or road wins, it’s just about playing good soccer. If we’re playing good ball all around and we have some consistency and depth on our team, I expect that we’ll do well. Next year is going to be a challenge; we are going to be somewhat of a revamped squad, because there are players who won’t be here next year. It will again be an opportunity to solve some pieces to the puzzle.
B: Speaking of players that won’t be returning next season. Are you already thinking about how you are going to fill Brendan Quilici, Kellan Brown and Justin Diener’s shoes next season?
L: Right now I am just into the mindset that those players won’t be there next season. There is also a good chance that Oscar Jimenez will be in a different state getting on with his life and career. Then of course the three guys you mentioned, they will also be moving on to different aspects of their life which is important and they will all three be very successful at what they are going to be doing. We do still have some great players and we’ve had interest from some great players throughout the season who contacted me about joining the team, but right now I am not going to worry about it until we get to the winter months. At that point I will start contacting players and asking who will be available and who will be in the area come next spring. I do feel though that we have a great core of guys that will be coming back next year.
B: It was recently announced that Bellingham United FC has left the PCSL (Pacific Coast Soccer League) and has joined the EPLWA (Evergreen Premier League). How does that chance next season for you, since you will have a whole new group of teams to worry about? Is it a challenge you look forward to?
L: Yeah, it will be a challenge. There will be new problems to solve you know? We may not have as many guys coming up from Seattle like we have in past seasons, because there will now be squads in those areas that they will play for, but I still think it will be a great opportunity, because it’s still representing Bellingham and that’s the foundation of this league is trying to have, community teams for the community players and community fans, so I am excited to see what the new league is going to be about. I am actually excited to be helping and organizing it for something that hopefully will go on for years and decades to come; to be a part of the Washington soccer scene.
B: You won’t have the border issue to deal with either which has caused some problems in the past. That must be a relief right?
L: Yeah absolutely. We did have a few players last year who were here on student visas, a couple of them had some legal issues, a few players simply just didn’t have their passports ready in time, so they weren’t eligible to go across. At times I would try to give some of these guys opportunities at the away games and they weren’t available, because of these issues, so it will be nice to take the whole team on the road.
B: What are you most looking forward to for this upcoming season?
L: I’m just looking forward to our opening day. Nothing is better than what we’ve had the past two years; our opening day match attendance has been phenomenal. We have a great support base and I think next year we will be able to have better control over our schedule and we will have some better timing of some of our games, since we are looking into varying for our past schedules a bit. I hope that we will be able to reach a greater fan base. Number one, I am just looking forward to getting out and working with the guys, it’s been a couple weeks since I have been with them and I really enjoying working with this group of players.