Five years after founding the Grays Harbor Gulls Football Club, President Ben Barene has moved away from the area and will be turning over the reins.
“This has been an amazing experience, to give this club to the community,” Barene said. “The growth we have seen during the last few years has been rapid and I owe it all to this community and those who have helped me along the way. We wanted our own way to give back to the community and I couldn’t imagine a better way to do it.”
Founded in 2018 by Aberdeen brothers Ben and Alex Barene, Gulls FC has provided Harbor soccer players a place to keep playing soccer. The club was a founding member of the Western Washington Premier League, now known as the Cascadia Premier League.
Along with the Barene brothers, head coach Drew Grannemann has been with the club since its inception, and Barene gave special thanks for his contributions.
“Drew has been with us every step of the way and his efforts on and off the field are greatly appreciated,” Barene said. “I can’t imagine how this club would be if we didn’t have Drew at the helm.”
Grannemann echoed the praises, saying, “I’d like to thank Ben for his years of incredible work. Turning this idea of a Grays Harbor club into something real and something great.”
The addition of the Gulls FC youth academy last fall gives youth soccer players the first competitive youth program in the county. Barene said this would not have been possible without youth director Daniel Langer.
“We always had a goal of adding a women’s team and a youth academy to make this a complete club and give the same opportunity to everyone,” he said. “When Daniel got here, he blew me away with his drive and his passion for community and he got this youth academy off the ground and the women’s team is coming next.”
Gulls FC is already one of the longest lasting semi-professional or professional teams in the county, and will continue on after Barene’s departure, thanks in large part to men’s team head coach Grannemann, and general manager Eddie Roosa.
Roosa will assume the president role shortly.
“Obviously, I couldn’t have done this all myself,” Barene said. “My family and Drew have done so much to keep this club going and Eddie will help keep this club running for years to come. I love his passion and his enthusiasm.”
“It truly is an honor to have been nominated by Ben,” Roosa said. “This is a position I will not take lightly. He has created something special here and we will continue to grow.”
“I’m excited to get to work with Eddie, I believe in his vision for the club and I know he’ll do well as the voice of the club moving forward,” Grannemann said.
The Gulls will host tryouts for this season at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 28 at Stewart Field in Aberdeen.