The World Cup is slated to begin in Brazil in June, the Major League Soccer (MLS) season is already under way, and this Friday the A’s will take to the pitch in Athletics Stadium (formerly known as Drillers Stadium) this Friday night to kick off their sophomore season in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL), against the Fort Worth Vaqueros.
The game is the first of a two game set with the Vaqueros, which is being billed at the “Red River Cup”. The cup will be awarded to the winner after the game on Saturday night
The NPSL is a league comprised of professional and amateur teams from all over the United States. In the Athletics inaugural year the team posted a 10-0-2 record and clinched the South Central Division title. The team made several improvements to the old baseball stadium including renaming it and making it less a baseball park and more of a classic soccer stadium.
“We’ve made some great improvements to the old Drillers’ Stadium in the off-season, including painting, rearranging the seating so it’s better suited for soccer and renaming the stadium to Athletics Stadium. We are ready for the fans to experience soccer in Tulsa in a whole new way,” said Sonny Dalesandro, co-owner of the Tulsa Athletics. “After a great inaugural season in 2013, we are ready to get the 2014 season underway.”
The Athletics are one of three professional soccer teams in the Tulsa area, the others being the Tulsa Revolution of the Professional Arena Soccer League, and the Tulsa Roughnecks FC, who will begin play in the United Soccer League Pro League next year. The Revolution completed their first season in the PASL in February.
One of the more exciting matches that will take place this season will come in two weeks when they host the second round of the U.S.Open Cup on May 14th when they will take on the Oklahoma City Energy in Athletics Stadium. “This is huge for soccer in Oklahoma and especially in Tulsa. We couldn’t be happier to have the US Open Cup right here in Tulsa,” said Dalesandro,
“We are looking forward to playing against the OKC Energy and hosting their fans in what will be a great night of soccer.”
Soccer popularity is in a period of resurgence, but it has a long way to go from the heady days of the late 1970s and early 1980s when the Tulsa Roughnecks of the former North American Soccer League were the kings of professional sports in northeastern Oklahoma, and the state’s very first major league professional team, predating the Oklahoma City Thunder of the NBA by 30 years.
The Roughnecks were a success in the NASL’s smallest market, averaging nearly 20,000 fans per game during their seven-year run in Skelly (now Chapman) Stadium on the campus of the University Of Tulsa from 1978 and 1984. Many of the Roughnecks of that era still call Tulsa home like midfielder Victor Moreland and defender Charlie Mitchell, both of whom were honored by the team last summer.
The announcements, which came in a press conference on Wednesday April 30th at Athletics Stadium, were intended to pique the interests of old and new fans alike.
“We are passionate about soccer and about Tulsa. Our goal is to provide an unforgettable experience for our fans,” said Dr. Tommy Kern, co-owner of the Tulsa Athletics. “With local food trucks, great soccer, bounce houses for the kids, craft beer tasting for the adults, and amazing fans, it’s easy to see why soccer is popular in Tulsa. We pride ourselves in providing an affordable way for families and fans of all ages to experience professional-caliber soccer. We’ve also partnered this year with the Tulsa Area Community School Initiative, a program which benefits Tulsa youth.”
The Athletics being their season this Friday night against Fort Worth at 8pm at Athletics Stadium, located on the northeast corner of the Tulsa Fairgrounds.
2014 Tulsa Athletics Season
May 2nd- First Round of the Red River Cup. Tulsa vs. Fort Worth Vaqueros FC at 8:00 pm
May 3rd- Red River Cup Finals at 6:00 pm
May 9th- Tulsa Athletics @ Fort Worth Vaqueros at 6:00 pm
May 11th- Tulsa Athletics @ BCS Clash at 3:00 pm
May 14th- Second Round of the US Open Cup. Tulsa Athletics vs. Oklahoma City Energy at 7:30pm
May 25th – Tulsa Athletics @ OKC FC at 7:00 pm
May 30th – Tulsa Athletics vs. Liverpool Warriors at 7:30pm
June 6th – Tulsa Athletics vs. Joplin Demize at 7:30pm
June 10th – Tulsa Athletics @ Joplin Demize at 7:00 pm
June 14th – Tulsa Athletics vs. OKC FC at 7:30pm
June 20th – Tulsa Athletics vs. Corinthians FC SA at 7:30pm
June 27th – Tulsa Athletics vs. Dallas City FC at 7:30 pm
July 5th – Tulsa Athletics @ Liverpool Warriors at 7:00 pm
For more visit www.tulsaathletics.com and Tulsa Today as we follow this season.