Help Whidbey Mussel go to Nationals

Who We Are
Whidbey Mussel is a collection of Western Washington's finest soccer players, this side of the Clinton ferry. All childhood friends, we didn't start playing together as a team until later in life, joining forces to create a weekly pick-up soccer club here in Langley. Our team is made up of dedicated public servants who teach, coach, and mentor on Island – some full time, others part-time, while balancing full time jobs outside of their passion for soccer. We play for the love of the game, but we also have something to prove. Growing up on Whidbey, we strongly believe in this wonderful community and want to do all we can to enrich it further. We're proud that young players look up to us and through our weekly pick-up games and coaching, we are dedicated to continuing to foster a diverse, open, and healthy competitive environment in the game of soccer. We're honored to have the support of our community and strive to be a reflection of the creative spirit and tenacity of soccer culture here on Whidbey.

Why We Need Your Support
We're an amateur team with professional dreams. Against all odds (and lots of amazing talent), we qualified for Nationals by winning the local Whidbey Rock on 3v3 in Oak harbor over Memorial Day weekend! The National tournament is an invite only competition of 3v3 soccer – played on a much shorter field with only 3 players and no goalies that results in a fast paced, action-packed, exciting game with goals, goals, goals! Nationals are held in Orlando, Florida on July 27-30 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. As a team we were able to come up with almost half of the amount that we need to compete, but are graciously turning to our community for help covering the rest of the expenses. We are looking into all potential connections and avenues to save on lodging, travel and transportation, but are asking for your support because we believe in this community and know that our dream of Nationals will help pave the way and set the bar for competitive soccer on Whidbey. From the beginning of our pick-up games, we have fostered an inclusive, fun environment and what started out as semi-occasional, casual soccer has turned in to something much deeper. As many in the Island players know, soccer on Whidbey does not offer the competitive level seen elsewhere around the sound. Part of this disconnect is purely a numbers game, but also the geographic restraints of living on an island. Arguably most important, Whidbey lacks adult teams that play at a competitive level, encouraging youth to watch, learn from, and engage with. However, what's never lacking on this Island, is a strong sense of community and local pride. As a team and community members, we see an opportunity to bridge that gap. Our players are local, intertwined with youth teams as coaches and mentors and deeply invested in the community through their professional and personal lives. It is with great optimism that Florida is not the end, but the beginning of this undertaking to raise the level of Whidbey soccer. We want this trip to be the first in a long line of future trips for other local players. We want these relationships between soccer and our thriving local community to be long lasting and meaningful. Our hope is that this trip ignites and inspires a Whidbey soccer scene that continues to be more than just pick up, because a national championship would purely be the icing on the cake. Help us show the country what a team from a small community (with big heart) can do!

Breakdown of Expenses and Fundraising Goal
Expenses: Travel & Transporation
(flight, van, insurance): $4,300
(3 Nights in an Airbnb 10 miles from field): $500
Tournament Registration Fee: $400

Funds Raised So Far:
$1500 Personal Team Funds
$500 Sponsorship from Mukilteo Coffee Roasters

$3200 left to raise

As some of us need to take off work to pursue this dream, anything and everything helps. Thank you so much for your support!

Player Bios

Kevin Flavin

I moved to Whidbey from Colorado and attended Oak Harbor high school, currently residing and working on the South end. I have played soccer my entire life and am thankful for all the opportunities soccer has allowed me to experience. During my journey I have made everlasting friendships, developed a sense of team and community, and found a sustainable and lifelong activity to help maintain my sanity. At 26, I still aspire to become a professional but am dedicated to giving back to the game through mentoring the youth. I want my experience, knowledge, and love for the game to give the next generation a head-start and help them fulfill and exceed their goals. I know my life would not have been the same if not for soccer, so it is crucial for me to be a part of a movement that will support and allow the game to impact others in the same positive way it impacted me.

Chris Laymen
As a former SWHS player, I thought the days of team pictures on a plaque, displayed at the local grocery store were over. Instead, like Nicholas Cage in his greatest role ever, we took The Rock, and now we want nationals! Honestly, I wasn't sure if I still had it in me, but because of our community pick-up games, I've been inspired to push further. I’m currently helping coach a new U10 select team called Mutiny FC and hope with national experience (or a championship!) I’ll get a bit more respect. So, I'm giving it one last hurrah before retiring from national play and getting back to my quiet local life of building the most awesome boots on the market (See for yourself: Soccer is a passion that at a competitive level might be nearing the end, but at a community level – it’s a passion that has just begun.

Bennett Richter
When the ref asks for a captain to meet at the middle of the field, I'm the man who answers the call. At 26, I work as an assistant teacher for Head Start at Skagit Valley and am currently back in school so that one day I can lead my own classroom. Along with teaching, coaching has always been a passion of mine and I’m excited to start coaching youth football in the fall. Soccer is actually newer passion – something that started as a friendly social activity, but has become much more than that and has brought back the thrill of competition. I went from knowing little about the sport to graciously having the chance to represent my hometown at a national level. 

Greg Wolfe
I was raised on Whidbey for 14 years until I moved away to attend college. My dad was in the navy and stationed at the navy base in Oak Harbor, which is how my family and I settle in the quaint and wonderful community of Whidbey Island. The community here really defines the term “small town feeling” – I've always felt welcomed and comforted knowing that this community would support me and my family in a time of need. As many of us experience, the friends that I grew up with are still my close friends to this day. I have been involved with soccer throughout my whole life. I started playing when I was four years old and it has changed my life for the better. I played club, high school, college and a couple years of semi-professional indoor soccer. Through the sport I've learned many important life skills and am grateful to have the chance to pass these lessons onto a younger generation through my work coaching and refereeing.

Ben Rusch
I grew up on South Whidbey playing on the local youth soccer club and in community pickup games. After High School, I went on to play both semi-professional indoor and outdoor soccer. Today I am in school pursuing a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering as well as an associate’s degree in fire science. I currently coach select soccer for the South Whidbey Youth soccer club that I grew up playing for and enjoy playing in the local pickup game where I know I can mentor young players of all ages. My first experience with 3v3 soccer was the "Rock On" tournament in Oak Harbor and I'm very very excited about the opportunity to go to nationals and represent all of Whidbey Island.

George Bundy
I grew up in Washington and have been involved in the beautiful game my entire life! From a young age, I participated in soccer camps on Whidbey Island and developed lifelong friends in the game. I have maintained those friendships throughout my youth, collegiate and post-collegiate career on both indoor and outdoor fields, and most recently on the 3v3 field back on Whidbey this past Memorial Day weekend. Playing the game has also led me to a career path in coaching that has allowed me to channel my passion for the game into the lives of youth. I currently reside in Kitsap and coach kids from all over the peninsula. It is my goal that each day I am on the field, either playing or coaching, I do my part in creating a positive environment and attribute to the growth of the love of the game for all those involved. 
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Kevin Flavin 
Langley, WA