Foothills FC’s Final Home Weekend can Clinch Another Northwest Title, Playoff Berth
For the second straight weekend, a Foothills team has the chance to clinch a playoff spot and get another trophy. After Foothills WFC successfully defended their UWS Western Conference title and will be heading to nationals in 10 days, now it’s the men’s chance to move onto the USL2’s post-season and begin the defense of their 2018 National championship.
In the way is the Victoria Highlanders, who come to Mount Royal University’s stadium field on Friday at 7pm and Sunday at 2pm, with a chance to also win the Northwest division. The teams split their matches in the B.C. capital on June 21 and 23.
Foothills FC return home for the first time since June 9 and captain Tofa Fakunle is happy to be back
“I love playing at home. It’s great that we get to play in front of our fans when there is something significant on the line. That was our goal at the start of the year to win the division
Head Coach Leon Hapgood and the team return to Calgary after a very successful sweep of Lane United, a team based in Eugene, Oregon. The two wins vaulted Foothills FC from fourth place back to first on Sunday in the extremely close and competitive Northwest division.
“After falling off of first place, to win both games in Lane is remarkable,” Hapgood said. “In theory we kept two clean sheets because their only goal was on a penalty kick. I’m delighted right now.”
The club concluded their away portion of the 2019 season with a record at 5-2-1. For a team with 17 new players and this young and new, Hapgood is proud of his ‘Road Warriors’.
“That’s been the highlight of the season for me. This is why we planned our pre-season like this. Our trips to Spokane and Saskatoon before the season prepared us to for the road game process during the season.”
Another situation the team seems to have conquered is what they call ‘Sunday fatigue’. Foothills FC is 5-1 on Friday nights, but only 2-2-2 in the return matches. Thanks to (head trainer Alex Potts?) and his staff’s adjustments, Hapgood said their last match was the best Sunday performance of the season, especially the last 30 minutes.
“We modified the training schedule to be better prepared for the Sunday game. In those second games we have had gone through lack of rotation and depth, so we looked at it a different way,” he said.
The star of the match in the 1-0 win in Oregon was midfielder Blake Fenton. He was on the 2017 roster for Foothills FC then returned this spring.
“He came in this year and has learned his trade,” his coach praised. “He is full of enthusiasm and on Sunday he was man of the match. He defended 1v1, recovered well and helped out the forwards break their lines going forward.”
In looking back to the progress the team has made since training camp, Hapgood said all the players have the enthusiasm to get better and that’s what the team needs.
“What hasn’t changed has been the boys’ mentality about wanting to be better players and to learn every day. I have been so impressed from a training perspective. We have been able to get consistency every weekend.”
Four players from Foothills FC were on the 2018 Highlanders roster: Cory Bent, Marcus Campanile, Francesco Bartolillo, and Gordon Hall. The current head coach of the Highlanders, Thomas Ninedorf, was the head man of the old Calgary Storm in 2001 when Tommy Wheeldon Jr., Nik Ledgerwood and their team were the USL2/PDL national finalists. Highlander Goteh Ntignee is an Albertan, and has attended Canada Soccer youth identification camps. He was Victoria’s goal scorer on June 21 against Foothills FC.
PLAYOFF RACE UPDATE:
After the sweep by Foothills FC, Lane United can no longer win the Northwest Division title. Also, based on the incredible competitiveness of the division this year, only the winners will advance to the USL 2 playoff round starting next weekend. The Western conference wild card spot has already been claimed.
The Seattle Sounders FC U23 defeated the TSS Rovers Wednesday night in Vancouver 1-0 which puts them in first place at this moment in the division. They will host the Portland Timbers U23 Sunday at 3pm MT. Since Foothills FC hold the head to head tiebreaker, if they secure a magic number of four earned points and Seattle dropped points, they will win the division.
Who: Foothills FC
What: Hosting the Victoria Highlanders in the regular season finale weekend
Where: Mount Royal University’s stadium field
When: Friday at 7pm MT and Sunday at 2pm MT
Why: To see Foothills FC attempt to clinch another Division title and head back to the playoffs
Additional Media Opportunity: Foothills WFC will be training at the Foothills Fieldhouse at 111 Exploration Avenue on Thursday afternoon from 12pm to 2pm. All media are invited to film or photograph the session and get interviews with players and coaches.
ABOUT FOOTHILLS FC
Foothills FC operates in Calgary and competing in the USL League Two Northwest Conference since 2015. In 2018, Foothills captured the National Championship title of the U23 league. Foothills FC’s mandate is to be a bridge for the future stars of the game to develop and succeed in Canada, while providing our fans with a premier sporting experience.
Foothills FC would like to thank all its sponsors including our jersey and game day sponsors: Telus, PetroTranz, Rogers Insurance, Secure Energy, FieldSafe Solutions and Strikers Soccer
ABOUT USL LEAGUE TWO
The proven developmental leader in North American soccer's evolving tiered structure, USL League Two (formerly the PDL) features 74 franchises in four conferences throughout the United States and Canada, including 18 clubs that are owned and operated by a professional club, or that hold a partnership with a professional club. League Two has proven to be an important stepping-stone for top professionals now playing throughout the world, with more than 70 percent of all selections in the MLS SuperDraft since 2010 having PDL experience, including 66 selections in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft.
For additional information go to www.foothillsfc.ca or
Contact 2019 media coordinator: David Standish at 403-860-1235 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Calgary Foothills Soccer Club, 111 Exploration Avenue SE, Calgary, AB T3S 0B6 (403) 225-9388