The 2018 season has ended. Now let the future begin.
It’s no secret that FC Wichita exists with the purpose of giving Wichita a professional outdoor soccer team. Since 2015 the club has competed in the National Premier Soccer league (“NPSL”), which is positioned in 4th division of the United States Soccer pyramid.
Playing in the NPSL has provided Wichita with an affordable model during the founding years of the club, and during those years we have certainly seen a glimpse of what could be. Wichita has been one of the best franchises in the NPSL since joining. In 2018 the team was again in the top 5 of the NPSL power rankings throughout the season after getting off to a 7-0-0 start and earning yet another Heartland Conference shield, before eventually being eliminated from the playoffs on penalty kicks.
Although the league season itself was a great one, unprecedented national exposure came quickly during a run in the U.S Open Cup. Wichita earned it’s biggest win in local soccer history by defeating the Tulsa Roughnecks (USL) 4-3, in Tulsa. Wichita played a man short for nearly 40 minutes, and never lead until the 92nd minute when captain Leo Sosa made a last ditch effort to find Franck Tayou running into the Tulsa penalty area. Tayou scored a miraculous goal and sent his team into the third round where they would need only one win to face an MLS opponent.
The USL victory garnished support from around the country, bringing club ownership to the crossroads of a higher level of professional soccer.
“I get asked about the possibility of professional outdoor soccer in Wichita everyday,” says CEO Blake Shumaker. “We want it and the city needs it. Over the next few months we will hold a series of owners meetings to discover what the best route for Wichita soccer promotion is. We have tremendous pride in our city, so we want to see this get done.”
Shumaker says if the majority decide to move the club forward, none of the current owners will stand in the way. “We all want what is best, none of us are more important then our community.” That could mean a shift in the ownership structure, and potentially bring local supporters and investors to join the discussions.