There’s excitement and joy in Annapolis, Maryland, over the triumphant inaugural season of the city’s semipro soccer team Annapolis Blues FC.
The team finished 8-1-1 to earn first place in the Mid-Atlantic division of the National Premier Soccer League, a summer league for top-notch college players.
The team is hosting a first round playoff game on Wednesday at 7 p.m. against Richmond-based Grove Soccer United at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
“It has been absolutely crazy…Annapolis, as a town, we always love fun events and things to get around and become part of and football/ soccer is a sport that already welcomes that kind of community. So it was just a match made in heaven, ” said Sam Houston, host of the podcast Naptown Blues Fancast, which regularly reports on Blues games.
The new team’s name was the fans’ choice and a natural pick to pay homage to the region’s beloved blue crabs. And soccer fans have taken to the Blues like Old Bay seasoning to crabs.
“Every week…..we do have a supporters group called the “Bay Boys”… we all set up and we tailgate ahead of time, and Annapolitans have been known to enjoy a beverage or two in a parking lot,” said Houston.
The Blues fans have even converted a popular soccer cheer, “Ole, Ole, Ole.”
“Instead, we say Old Bay, Old Bay, Old Bay…so it goes off pretty well,” said Houston.
In its first season, the Annapolis Blues have been one of the NPSL leaders for attendance, leading the league in attendance one week. It finished in the top five nationwide for attendance across its six home games.
Houston credits strong coaching and talented players for the team’s success.
“You have to give a ton of credit to the coaching staff of this team led by Colin Harriet. We have a striker for Georgetown University — they’ve recently won a national title. We have a couple of players from the University of Maryland, we have Catholic’s leading scorer, we have a couple of players from American and High Point … and it really has just worked out to be perfect,” said Houston.
The last time the Blues faced Grove United, the Blues beat them 6-1.
“Every time we’ve beaten a team pretty handily, the next time they’ve played us, they’ve played us pretty hard, but I do think that ultimately we have the better talent, and I do see the Annapolis Blues advancing here. Hopefully, also [advancing] out of the mid-Atlantic,” said Houston.
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