BOONE — Less than one month away from their debut on the road against Metro Louisville FC on May 1, Appalachian Football Club is putting the pieces together as they prepare for their inaugural National Premier Soccer League season.
The team had their second and final tryout session on Saturday, April 3, and head coach Dale Parker said the roster would be finalized by the end of the week.
“We had some good players come out,” the former Worksop Town FC and Lees-McRae player said. “We had some local guys, players with NPSL experience and college players come out. We’re a new team, but we want to be competitive from the start.”
Parker said he was excited for the season to start, noting the team had already selected some talented players to join their ranks.
The team, which was announced in November 2020, was founded by an ownership group led by former Appalachian State men’s soccer coach Jason O’Keefe following the dissolution of the program. The program was cut due to budgetary restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to part-owner Mike Raymond, reaction to the team has been positive, with support coming from local people and businesses alike.
“We’ve already sold close to $85,000 worth of merch around the country and even outside the U.S.,” Raymond said. “The people around here really reacted positively to us, they’re looking forward to having the team in Boone.”
The team has already made plans with Boone Saloon and Booneshine, each company has a stake in ownership, to be parts of the fan experience.
On days with home games, the plan is for fans to gather at Booneshine for a pregame celebration — where they can order the club’s signature Squatchy Ale — before marching down to the Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex for games. Meanwhile, Boone Saloon will act as the official away game viewing party location.
The team’s league home opener is set for May 15 against the Georgia Revolution, although they will play a home exhibition game against the Tri-Cities Otters on May 7.