by Nate Abaurrea
Call it a debut. Call it an inaugural season. It was a club being born. It was a club growing by the day. It was a tale of camaraderie, commitment, and an unbreakable desire to succeed. It was 2016 for the North County Battalion.
In the first chapter of this ongoing Battalion story, you had a vision. You had a dream come to fruition through endless hours of hard work from numerous individuals, people who came together for a common good. Through the efforts of so many behind the scenes, Club Founder and Co-Owner Jason Barbato saw an idea evolve into an ever-advancing and improving reality.
Off the field, the Battalion truly became part of the San Diego community. Much of the credit for that has to go to the men on the field, the players and coaches who helped to cultivate a passionate fan-base and give something meaningful to those people in the stands. Those men on the field did everything in their power to offer that type of soccer experience that makes the fan far more than just a consumer.
Everybody who walked through the gates of Del Norte Stadium for a match this year, doing their part to help a professional soccer team grow organically, they became part of something bigger.
Everyone who traveled to support the team, whether across town or across California, they became part of something bigger.
Everyone who garnered a piece of gear or merchandise and wore the club’s colors proudly around local and foreign lands, they became part of something bigger. A connection was made. They became part of the Battalion.
From an unforgettable playoff win to Ryan Guy’s now legendary thunderbolt beneath the starry spring sky, from the first goal scored by Esteban Reyes in April to the last goal scored by Armand Bagramyan in November, the opening year of the Battalion was one filled with excitement.
The chapters of this decade’s latter years shall be intriguing reads. As we pen the final words of this opening portion, let us take one last moment to raise our glasses, reflect on what was, and toast to this club that we all call our own.
It was mighty fine, this first year of the Battalion. Yet perhaps it was but a preview of all that’s to come. We are all anxious to see what this next year brings.