Brook Swensen is now the answer to a trivia question. Swensen, who plays collegiately at The Evergreen State College, became the first player to ever score a goal for Blackhills FC in a Northwest Premier League (NWPL) match on June 10. The tally came during the team’s road win over NCW Alliance – a monumental achievement in itself as it marked this specific club’s first ever victory.
First goal, first win, all in one day – not bad for a team that didn’t even have a roster, or uniforms, a mere three months ago.
It’s been quite the whirlwind for the Olympia-based women’s amateur semi-pro soccer team in its inaugural season, from its inception to becoming a reality on the field.
“A lot has gone into this,” said Blackhills FC Program Director Kyle Jones. “A lot of people have worked very hard for us to get to this point.”
Prior to this year, Blackhills FC fielded 11 girls teams in the Regional Club League (RCL), but those teams were all youth soccer programs. Locally, there wasn’t an opportunity for women to play competitive soccer once their youth careers came to a close.
Jones, Blackhills FC Executive Board and Technical Director James Charette and a host of other determined supporters helped changed all that this year.
And the product has proven to be a success.
“It was a special feeling to see it all come together after so much planning went into it,” Jones said.
The process of bringing the club together began last August. The Northwest Premier League announced in December that Blackhills Football Club would become the ninth member of the elite adult women’s soccer league.
The club held tryouts in April, drawing a mixture of former Blackhills FC players and some new faces who had ties to the area.
“It is great to see Blackhills FC players out there,” Jones said about the team’s makeup, “however, we have many players from the community that didn’t play at Blackhills FC and it makes for a fun dynamic.”
Jones had previously coached a year in the NWPL at Twin City Union, a club based out of Lewis County, an experience which greatly helped him as he began the journey of bringing Blackhills FC into the league. “I was able to see what the league is all about,” he says. “After the season the Chairman of Twin City Union, Henry Gallanger, pointed out that it would be great for the league to have Blackhills FC join. He was very helpful in providing information and guidance. When presented to the Technical Director and Executive Board it was agreed upon that this would a good addition to the club and community. Many people have put in a lot of work to make this come together.”
Blackhills FC made their debut on May 5 at Ingersoll Stadium in Olympia, playing Twin City Union to a 0-0 tie. “The players were excited and the crowd added to the positive atmosphere,” Jones said. “The players received the support that they deserve for all of their dedication to the sport. We are very appreciative of the community for coming out and supporting the players and the program. It was great insight into what this can become.”
Two losses followed the season-opening tie before the squad notched franchise win number 1 on June 10 with a 2-0 victory on the road over NCW Alliance in Wenatchee.
While Swensen registered the team’s first goal, goalkeeper Carly Becker, a 2017 graduate of Olympia High School who now plays at the University of Portland, made history as well, stopping every shot she faced to notch the first ever shutout for the club.
Jenna Killman, a teammate of Becker at Olympia and current University of New Mexico player, got in on the offensive attack as well, adding a late goal during Blackhills FC’s first ever victory.
“We have been very pleased with how this new opportunity is coming together. We have faced a couple of very good teams so far and the competition makes us better,” Jones said. “A big credit to our players for all of their hard work and dedication.”
Blackhills FC will close out its inaugural regular season with home matches at Ingersoll Stadium on June 23 and June 30. “We have been on the road for the last couple weeks and have more travel ahead. We are looking forward to getting back to Olympia,” Jones said.
The club asks for donations of $5 for adults and $3 for children 6 years old and under to attend the match. However, any child wearing any type of soccer jersey will get in for free.
“The donations help us pay for stadium rentals and are appreciated,” Jones added, “but more importantly we want people to come enjoy the experienced.”