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On the Pitch


Energy FC chat: Tim McLaughlin, Bob Funk Jr. and Chris Brannick talk opening weekend

by Chris Brannick and Erik Horne Published: April 21, 2014
NewsOK Sports 11:06 a.m. Ready to talk Energy FC soccer? Chris Brannick will be on at noon with Energy FC principal owner Tim McLaughlin and team partner Bob Funk Jr. to discuss the upcoming home opener on Saturday. It's never too early to start asking questions for the trio, so get them in here.
NewsOK Sports 11:07 a.m. And while you wait, take our Energy FC quiz to determine which position you would play for OKC's hottest new team:
Andy 11:58 a.m. How big of a presence do you think professional soccer can eventually have in OKC? This has always been a football/basketball dominated town. Can soccer get a piece of that pie?
NewsOK Sports 12:03 p.m. Bob: Oklahoma City is in a true period of renaissance right now. We believe that soccer is an integral part of the sports community at large. As our city becomes more global, so do the citizen's interests. Soccer follows that trend.
NewsOK Sports 12:06 p.m. Tim: The response to the team has exceeded our expectations. A good example was our final preseason friendly in Yukon in late March. We had more than 3,000 in attendance.
Mike Scott 12:08 p.m. First season and currently sitting in the top half of the standings -- not too shabby. What do you realistically see this team being capable of this season?
NewsOK Sports 12:11 p.m. Tim: As an ownership group, we expect the best possible lineup we can put on the pitch each game. We're confident in our head coach Jimmy Nielsen and the team he's assembled. The results through the first four games have us excited about the prospects for the remainder of the season. As they continue to practice and play together, the team will continue to excel.
NewsOK Sports 12:13 p.m. Chris: Keep those questions coming!
Andy 12:14 p.m. Along those lines, what does this brand of soccer offer the casual fan. I know a lot of die-hards that are super excited about the team, but I'm not the huge soccer fan they are.
NewsOK Sports 12:17 p.m. Bob: For the casual fan, attending a game live is a one-of-a-kind experience. It's fast. Once the clock starts, the action is non-stop. The passion of the crowd is contagious. For the seasoned fan, the experience will be authentic.
guest 12:18 p.m. What if OKC gets an MLS team? What will that mean for Energy FC?
NewsOK Sports 12:27 p.m. Tim: All the decisions we've made to this point, and moving forward, have been with the goal of getting OKC an MLS team. The naming of the team is a perfect example. Even the process of determining the mark included evaluations of how that mark would fit compared to existing MLS teams/logos. But in order to get there, we will need the full support of everyone in the community (city leaders, soccer community, business
Rob 12:29 p.m. What are the players saying about OKC? Any different than they expected?
NewsOK Sports 12:31 p.m. Bob: The players have had nothing but fantastic things to say about Oklahoma City and the organization. Players that have played in other cities are raving about it. Oklahoma City is a great place for a young, 20-something person to be living and working.
Guest 12:32 p.m. Have players visited the OKC memorial?
NewsOK Sports 12:33 p.m. Tim: They have a plan to attend the memorial as a team in the near future. We're confident that will give them another connection to Oklahoma City.
John 12:33 p.m. What type of activities and promotions will you have for young children attending games? I'd like for my kids to fall in love with soccer, and I hope the games will keep them thoroughly entertained.
NewsOK Sports 12:34 p.m. Bob: Growing the game at the youth level is important. Before our games, we are partnering with Chesapeake Energy for our pregame party on the lawn from 4 - 6 p.m. Even if you don't attend the game, there are activities for fans of all ages.
Matt 12:35 p.m. Ordered tickets for the home opener on 4/1/14, asked to have them mailed to my home (I wanted the physical ticket to keep for historical purposes), but have yet to receive my tickets in the mail. Are tickets still being mailed out this week? Thanks for any info!
NewsOK Sports 12:36 p.m. Bob: Contact Sam at our office at 235-KICK.
Dayna 12:38 p.m. Since the Energy is 2-2 so far, how do you expect the season opener to go?
NewsOK Sports 12:40 p.m. Tim: It's exciting to open our home schedule with the defending USL PRO champion Orlando City SC. They are moving to MLS in 2015. We expect a good match and hopefully a positive result for Energy FC!
Rob 12:41 p.m. What kind of support has Energy FC management received from SKC?
NewsOK Sports 12:43 p.m. Bob: We've received a tremendous amount of cooperation from our partners in Kansas City. In runs the full spectrum from player support, coaching support, scouting reports, marketing and operational expertise. The support has been outstanding.
Ann 12:43 p.m. Can you tell us the difference between the Energy and the NASL team that seems to still be coming to town?
NewsOK Sports 12:44 p.m. Chris: Oklahoma City Energy FC plays in the United Soccer League's Pro Division. The NASL (North American Soccer League) is a different league.
RK 12:45 p.m. What can the average fan do, outside of attending games, to help this organization get to MLS?
NewsOK Sports 12:46 p.m. Tim: Be an adamant supporter of the club. In order for us to achieve our ultimate goal of getting to the MLS every one has to pull from the same end of the rope.
Noah 12:47 p.m. I've heard that the home opener is sold out. what is the capacity for the games held at Mcguiness' stadium?
NewsOK Sports 12:49 p.m. Chris: Capacity is 3,741. Currently there is limited seating availability for the home opener. Call 235-KICK for more information.
Frank 12:50 p.m. So is the USL a better league than NASL?
NewsOK Sports 12:54 p.m. Bob: Five of the last six MLS teams have come from USL PRO. It's not about the league and which is better, it's about working together and the USL PRO is the first best step to achieve the ultimate goal of becoming a member of MLS.
Rob 12:54 p.m. Does the team support any local nonprofits?
NewsOK Sports 12:58 p.m. Tim: Fields and Futures is the primary non-profit organization of OKC Energy FC. Fields and Futures goal is to provide new and updated fields and facilities for schools in OKCPS. That includes 11 new soccer fields in OKCPS. The team will then take part in clinics and other activities to enrich the lives of those students.
NewsOK Sports 1:00 p.m. Chris: Thank you to everyone for joining us today. Tim and Bob appreciate all of the support and interest in Energy FC. If you want to ask more questions you can via twitter @EnergyFC and @chrisbrannick85. Thanks again!
by Chris Brannick
Copy Editor, OKC Energy FC Reporter
Chris Brannick is a graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma, where he served as Sports Editor of The Vista, UCO's student newspaper. Originally from Utica, N.Y., he graduated from Sallisaw High School in 2003.
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by Erik Horne
Online Sports Editor
Erik Horne joined The Oklahoman as a sports web editor/producer in September 2013, following a five-year stint at The Ardmoreite (Ardmore) – first as a sports writer, then sports editor. At The Ardmoreite, Horne reported on everything from prep...
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