BELLINGHAM, WA— (club press release) Bellingham United F.C., Whatcom County’s men’s semi pro soccer team, who for the past three years has been entertaining Whatcom County’s soccer community with exciting soccer action, is announcing a change in ownership. The team’s current owner and President Jeff McIntyre has announced the team will transition the ownership and operations to the Whatcom Sports Commission effective October 1st. The club founded by McIntyre and Erin O’Brien, the owners of Seattle based Ruffneck Scarves, in the spring of 2011 has achieved their goal of putting Bellingham on the map for elite men’s soccer in the Pacific Northwest.
Bellingham United completed their third season in operation at the end of this past July. Bellingham United’s first two seasons of play were in the prestigious BC Pacific Coast Soccer League and the 2014 season was in the inaugural year of the newly formed Evergreen Premier League of Washington (EPL WA).
As McIntyre stated in an article in May 2011 that “”Our mission with Bellingham United is to create a trusted sports brand that the people of Whatcom County will be proud of for years to come,”. McIntyre and Bellingham United did just that as they averaged nearly 700 fans per game for the first three years of operations while playing at Civic Stadium late April through late July. Bellingham United gear, with the black and white crest with the image of Mt Baker, is often seen on the training grounds for local youth and adult soccer players.
Lance Calloway, Bellingham United’s Head Coach as well as the Executive Director of the Whatcom Sports Commission (WSC), has been involved with the team since the early stages of the formation. “Jeff and everyone involved in getting Bellingham United started and moving forward have been excellent to work with. I’ve learned a tremendous amount in working with Jeff and Erin as to how to make the team a success in our community. The past year, Jeff has been tremendously busy with his other business operations and they have taken more of his attention and was not able to focus as much on BUFC as he felt it deserved. When he approached WSC with the aspect of assuming ownership and operating the club going forward I was honored that he thought our organization can continue the BUFC brand in our community and actually expand it. The obvious first question to Jeff after he presented this to me was me asking-Will you stay involved? I am happy to report that Jeff will remain as a member of the committee advising and assisting in the ongoing marketing for the team.”
“We felt that it was the right time to transition the running of Bellingham United to Whatcom Sports Commission, because we have all the confidence in the world that they can take the team to the next level. With the resources and relationships WSC has within the local community we know that Bellingham United is in good hands and will continue to grow.” commented McIntyre regarding the ownership change.
The Whatcom Sports Commission (WSC) is a local not for profit organization that operates two prominent recreational facilities in Whatcom County, the Bellingham Sportsplex and Northwest Soccer Park along with variety of leagues and recreational camp and academy programs for soccer, hockey and ice skating for the Whatcom County community. WSC has experience in operating semi-professional sports organizations as they currently operate the Tier III Bellingham Blazers Junior Hockey Club along with the Bellingham Rapids semi-pro indoor men’s soccer squad which plays in the winter months.
“With the addition of Bellingham United to our organization we will be expanding the BUFC brand as we will convert the Rapids indoor team name to Bellingham United and give the BUFC brand year round exposure. Most of our players with BUFC have also filled the roster of the Rapids. So with this transition this will make it seamless.”, stated Calloway. “We also anticipate changing the branding of our youth soccer academy, WSA Rapids to the Bellingham United Hammers Academy.”
“We anticipate on carrying on the great tradition that has been developed by Jeff and Erin to make BUFC our community’s soccer club and an opportunity and goal for our local players to pull on a BUFC jersey!” concluded Calloway.