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Bay United

Soccer Club

Bay United Soccer Club

BUSC History


Bay United’s roots date back to the first competitive teams formed here in Panama City in 1990-1991. A competitive girls’ team, the Sharks, were formed by Juan Goicoechea, John Savage, and Steve Wilson. Their goal was to give young soccer players a chance to play and excel in Panama City. Some of the founding parent members were Tessie Goicoechea (Coach Maite Mahoney's mom), Charles and Linda Fullet, Steve and Judy Wilson, Jenni Danford/Davis, JoAnne Miller, Peter Sosteim, Dr. and Mrs. Combs, and others. The following fall season, the girls moved up an age division to join Mr. and Mrs. Mac Shepard, Mr. and Mrs. Bear, and Mr. and Mrs. Banks, and Mr. and Mrs. Vienneau. 

Meanwhile, the boys were also starting to form competitive teams. There was an older boy's team coached by Laverne Miller and Jeff Nauman called the Lynx. However, the first boys’ team to join the “Club” was a younger boys’ team started by Mr. Blecher and Dave Skakal. The team colors at first were red, white, and black.

In 1993 a few parents got together, advertised for more players, and formed an official club. The five people at that first meeting were Tessie Goicoechea , Dave Skakal, Jon Blecher, Chip Worden, and John O'Mera. With the help of Mac Shepard, they formed some teams and became affiliated with FYSA as Bay Select Soccer Club. The girls’ teams retained the Shark name and the boys’ teams became the Storm. Our first president was Jon Blecher, who later was transferred by the Air Force. The rest of the original five still live in Panama City. The club initially chose colors of royal blue and white. 

In the beginning the teams practiced at various schools in the area, and then they arranged with the city to practice on the “Sunshine” fields where the Bay School District now parks its school buses. The Club also used the Gulf Coast Community College soccer field for many years.

In 1996, team manager Brenda Branch recruited the husband  of her friend, Joanna Betkowski, to coach the U14 girls team.  Coach Marek Betkowski has been with the club ever since and now serves as our Director of Coaching. 

Between 1997 and 1998, Bay Select was challenged by a new club, FC Pumas. Formation of the new club split the number of players among the two clubs. Fortunately, the board members of the two clubs met at Dave Skakal's home and worked out an arrangement to combine the 2 clubs and re-form under a new name, giving rise to Bay United. 

In 2004 Bay United partnered with Bay Haven Charter Academy to build and maintain a soccer field behind the school. With the generous support of Frank Carter Weddle and Theresa Torok Weddle, the Weddle Soccer Field and Walking Track was completed in 2005.  As our club continued to grow to seventeen teams, the board searched for a larger training facility. In 2009, the club was able to work out an agreement with Panama City to use Frank Nelson Park. Even though Frank Nelson Park is our official training facility, many of our teams still train at Bay Haven Charter Academy. 

In that same year Bay United branched out to our youngest players and formed an Academy training program. The emphasis is on mastering the skills of the game through fun, professionally coached training and curriculum.  The Academy and Academy Advanced teams created for our players ages 5-10 has become the foundation of our club. 

What started with a few families looking for an opportunity for their children to play soccer competitively in Panama City has now grown to a club of 18 travel teams and over 350 players.