As tryouts for the upcoming season concluded this last weekend, there is no question that the Bellingham United F.C. is ready for some football. Like many of those who took the field for tryouts, to Sean Conner and Chris Jepson, soccer is more than just a game when they step out on the turf. Conner and Jepson, who have both been with the United since it’s inaugural season in 2012, take pride in being able to play in front of such a community.
“I remember watching the Bellingham Marlins’ matches in 1999, they were a classy group of guys who most definitely helped us get to where we are now with the strongest supporters in any league I’ve played in,” Jepson said. “I love playing soccer in Bellingham.”
The love for the game and it’s fans, especially here in Bellingham, seems to be what drives Conner to play year after year here. Like Jepson, he has played for Western Washington Univeristy and he also coaches for the Whatcom Rangers.
“Soccer in Bellingham has been good to me,” Conner said. “It’s nice to be able to give back through coaching and playing for a wonderful group of supporters.”
United’s head coach, Lance Calloway, is ecstatic to have these two back with the squad as they add a terrific veteran presence with their leadership and soccer ability.
“Having Sean and Chris back with the United gives us a lot of veteran experience,” Calloway said. “They have played key roles for our squad in the previous years.”
It was a hard season for Conner last year after he was forced to watch the majority of it from the sidelines, suffering from a bad sprain on a knee that had previously been operated on. The year was not wasted as he helped coach some of the players and rehabilitated his knee to be primed for this season.
“It was hard sitting out last year, but I spent a lot of time resting my injury,” Conner said. “I started strengthening my legs to get some muscle mass back a few months ago, now it’s just a matter of getting my fitness level back to where it needs to be.”
Jepson is likely to be selected as a team captain for his second year in a row, a role he humbly accepts and hopes to lead his team to league supremacy.
“It’s a great compliment and I’m grateful the coaching staff still thinks I have the experience and physical ability needed to strengthen our team,” Jepson said. “I expect us to improve on last years record and win the league by playing entertaining quality football.”
Conner, who was elected co-captain aside of Jepson last year before his injury, also anticipates nothing short of leading the United to a championship.
“We have such a talented team, a team capable of winning the league,” Conner said. “I expect us to win it all this year.”
On Sunday, April 26, Conner and Jepson will lead the United onto Civic Field where they will officially start the 2015 campaign and begin their journey towards the first championship in team history.