Although Texas has always been known as a hotbed for American football, nowadays a different type of fútbol is gaining ground. The Galveston Pirate Soccer Club is the latest team to join the ranks of the National Premier Soccer League, a semi-professional league which constitutes the fourth level of soccer in the United States soccer pyramid. Galveston expects to play in a new Texas Division, which would also include The Woodlands-based Regals FC and teams in Beaumont and Corpus Christi.
At the forefront of the organization is Brendan Keyes, a long-time player and coach from Dublin, Ireland. Keyes came to the United States in 1984 after successful stints with Irish clubs Home Farm F.C. and Stella Marris F.C. Keyes also brings a wealth of coaching experience having spent time with the Houston Eagles, Houston Force, and most recently the Houston Hurricanes.
Keyes, the head coach and general manager of the club, is excited to lead the new franchise and feels confident it will have the lasting success that eluded previous Galveston teams.
“Without other professional sports franchises in Galveston, I know the fans will respond positively to our team,” he said. “Down the road, I would love to bring teams such as the Houston Dynamo to our stadium for a series of exhibitions.”
Galveston will play in Kermit Courville Stadium, a roughly 10,000-seat high school football stadium run by the Galveston ISD. A proposal for a new stadium for the Galveston ISD will be voted on in May.
The National Premier Soccer League was originally founded in 2003 as the Men’s Professional Soccer League. The most notable alum is Roger Espinoza, midfielder for the Kansas City Wizards. The Honduran native and World Cup hopeful spent the 2006 season with the Arizona Sahuaros of the NPSL before being drafted 11th overall by the Kansas City Wizards in 2008.
Keyes hopes his players can have similar success stories.
“My goal is to put a good product on the field,” he said. “A lot of the teams we will play against have been in the league seven years. I would be happy if my team finished .500 our first season and then improved from there.”
Keyes will hold his first set of tryouts May 8, with seven additional tryouts to follow. The Galveston Pirate season begins this October.