Ballard FC: The Inaugural Season
Founded in 2021, Ballard FC entered USL League Two play in May 2022, in the Northwest Division of the Western Conference. Selling out matches all season long, the team reached the Western Conference Finals in their first season of play.
This photo essay follows the team through their first season, from tryouts all the way through to their final game, showing how a humble team, backed with the support of Ballard and Seattle, made its mark on the community, bringing together families, friends, and a city with a famous love for its sports teams.
In March of 2022, Ballard FC held a series of tryouts. Dozens of players from near and far came to Interbay Stadium to compete for a handful of spots on the Ballard FC roster. Braving both the odds and the wet March weather, four players eventually made the cut: Cole Weaver, Joe Dale, Johnny Ramirez, and Zane Baumgardt.
Ballard FC began USL 2 play in front of a sold out crowd at Interbay Stadium on Saturday, May 21, 2022. Fans packed the stands, and a supporters parade marched to the gates from a nearby bar. Before a single minute had been played, the team had already amassed a fan base, adorned with Ballard FC gear, ready for the beautiful game to come home to Ballard.
In the 33rd minute of play, Declan McGlynn fired a free kick into the back of the net, putting Ballard FC on the board for the first time in USL 2 play. They went on to win their first match 5-1 against Lane United FC.
After notching their first win on their debut night, the Ballard FC team grabbed a flag from the supports section and waved it in front of a packed stadium.
All season long, Ballard FC played their home games in front of sell out crowds at Interbay Stadium. People from across the Ballard and Seattle communities came out in force to support the team, their voices making the "Up the Bridges" cheer echo off nearby buildings.
Ballard FC went on to finish the regular season with an 8-2-2 record, qualifying them for the playoffs.
USL 2 Playoffs: Conference Quarterfinal
Ballard FC vs. Project 51O
Ballard FC began their playoff journey against the Oakland based team Project 51O. In front of the largest crowd of the season, with a few celebrities in attendance, Ballard felled 51O 2-1 to roaring cheers from the packed stadium.
USL 2 Playoffs: Conference Semifinal
Ballard FC vs. San Francisco Glens
After moving past Project 51O, Ballard went up against the San Francisco Glens on Sunday, July 24th. After 90 minutes, the teams were deadlocked 2-2, sending the game into extra time. Capitalizing on a botched header from the Glens, Ballard FC forward Alex Mejia surged forward to claim the ball late in the second half of extra time. After deflecting off the Glens goalkeeper, the ball sailed into the air towards the goal. With an incredible scissor kick Mejia put the ball into the back of the net, stunning the Glens with time running out and sending Ballard FC on to the Western Conference Finals.
Ballard FC saw their season come to a close when they travelled to Des Moines, Iowa for the Western Conference final. They lost to the Ventura County Fusion, who went on to win the USL League 2 National Championship.
But with a remarkable first season under their belt, and a large following of dedicated fans behind them, Ballard FC is looking forward to a bright future.