by David Falk
My Evergreen Premier League Road Trip to Wenatchee was actually two road trips. One came in January of 2014 at the EPLWA Annual General Meeting (the first one ever), the other for Wenatchee FC’s historic home opener on Apple Blossom Weekend May 4th. Wenatchee is a city I am very familiar with. I have a bunch of relatives there. However this year I got to view the Apple Capital of the World through a soccer lens. You should put a trip here on your calendar for the 2015 season!
The day before the big match Wenatchee FC players rode on pick-up trucks in the Apple Blossom Grand Parade. They waved flags and said hello behind a club banner that was being walked down the streets by kids connected to the club. It was right outside my hotel so getting a few photos was easy.
There’s always plenty to do in Wenatchee, and plenty to eat. If time allows many people like to cruise on up to Leavenworth. I did it on this trip and had a great bratwurst in a local beer garden.
The weekend included a front page of sports section story on Wenatchee FC (then called “United.”) It was a great way to get hyped for Sunday May 4 and the visit by the Hammers of Bellingham United.
Match day arrived and the weather was spotty at best. All over town people were wrapping up Apple Blossom celebrations. A park nearby the stadium was full of vendors and walkers. I wondered how many fans Wenatchee would get to the Apple Bowl.
About half an hour before game time the skies opened up and huge buckets of rain spotted the valley. The Apple Bowl was not spared. I ducked under a tent put up by Wenatchee Fire Youth Club.
The setting of the Apple Bowl is gorgeous. The hills that jump up around Wenatchee loom over the older stand. It’s quite a sight. So is the grass pitch and the cozy confines. The touch line is just a few feet from the seats.
Never mind that Bellingham jumped all over the home club in an eventual 5-2 scoreline. Watching Wenatchee at the Apple Bowl is something every Washington soccer fan should put on their list. The club had to move away from the venue later in the year so the grass to recover for school functions, but here’s hoping they get to come back.
It was the first match for the Bridge Mafia, the WFC supporters group. They brought color and atmosphere. The newer stand is noisy with aluminum bleachers to stomp on. Wenatchee plays an up-tempo style of game and they clearly want to entertain. Just two minutes into the match they scored their first-ever goal and the place erupted. Eventually they announced a season-high crowd of 621 had come to the opener. It was sweet to be among that number.