There is a new energy and vigor coursing through the veins of Tulsa soccer fans and a new atmosphere at ONEOK Field downtown.
In December 2019, the Tulsa Roughnecks, a United Soccer League Championship team, transformed into what is now affectionately known as FC Tulsa. Owners and brothers J.W., Ryan and Kyle Craft, renovated the team’s name, logo, colors, branding and identity within six months of purchasing the club.
“What we really want is to build a platform to allow all of Tulsans to enjoy that camaraderie and emotion when this club brings it and wins it,” J.W. Craft explained at a press conference.
FC Tulsa’s first match is fast approaching and set for Saturday, March 7 at Sacramento Republic FC. The first home match is scheduled for the following Saturday, March 14 at 7 p.m., where the team will be hosting New Mexico United.
“I feel like there’s so much more anticipation and good pressure. People are excited; people will have expectations. That boosts the profile of the team,” stated Head Coach Michael Nsien. “So we feel like we have to perform because a lot has been invested into the team. We’re excited about the pressure that’s put on us and we want to perform to that level.”
After finishing in 16th out of the 18 teams in the USL Championship Western Conference last year with a record of eight wins, 10 draws and 16 losses, fans hope for more successes this season. FC Tulsa staff are not only focused on improving the support and morale for the team, but also the team’s performance on the pitch.
“For me, it’s getting everyone early into preseason, getting everyone on the same page and providing clarity for the players, so they have an understanding of what we want to do and achieve. That’s my role — to keep everyone level-headed and get them to understand the objective is to win soccer games,” Coach Nsien emphasized.
This season looks promising for FC Tulsa, but those involved in the club, especially the players, seem to understand the strides and commitment required to make those hopes a reality for the 2020 season.
“We need to start getting the pieces together and start to know each other better. And I’m sure once we start to know each other, things are going to start to happen and then the season’s going to go really well,” commented midfielder Rodrigo Da Costa.
With one week remaining before the season opener, it’s crunch time to assemble the starting lineup and to put the final touches in place before March 7 in Sacramento.
After much training and hard work in preparation for this season, the players have a positive outlook.
“We know it’s going to be a long process. This isn’t just an overnight thing or an overnight success, but throughout the season we have our highs and lows. If we just stick together and have that same drive I think that we’ll be fine,” explained defender Bradley Bourgeois.
Tulsa soccer fans can take pride and excitement in their newly redeveloped club, FC Tulsa, and on March 14 at 7 p.m., can witness the team’s home debut at ONEOK Field.
Welcome home, FC Tulsa.