Port Ruppert Flames
|Full name||Sports Club Olympia of Port Ruppert 1952|
|Head Coach||Peter Lecolia|
|League||Kingston Soccer League|
Sports Club Olympia of Port Ruppert 1952, commonly known as Port Ruppert Flames, or simply Flames, is one of two KBS soccer clubs located in Port Ruppert in the Northern Cities District. The club was founded in 1952 and has grown to 12,400 members nowadays. The Club's colours are white and red.
The Flames has been a mainstay in the Kingston Soccer League, the top tier of professional soccer in Kingston and Boyce. They have won the Championship eight times ever since their promotion in to top level in 1983. Since the introduction of the Playoffs in 1990, the Flames have reached the Final on twelve occasions, and have won the title eight times. The Club is expected to participate in international Soccer as part of the AFA Club league beginning with next season.
Since 1985, the Flames' home ground is the McHalfee Stadium in central Port Ruppert. The Proximity to the other Port Ruppert based major league soccer club, Port Ruppert Skyliners, has created an intense rivalry.
The club was founded on 4 February 1952 as Sports Club Olympia by a group of 16 local high school students who had won a prize of sports equipment. The Name Olympia came to terms with the proximity of the 1952 Olympics. They played their first ever match against the University's soccer team on 15 March 1952, winning 2-1.
Over the course of the next few years, the club enjoyed some quite successful seasons in local and later regional leagues before becoming part of the Eastern Junior Soccer League in 1963. The club was a purely amateur soccer club at that time, but performed quite well over the years against some professional teams in the EJSL. By 1968, the club had won the league's title three times and sought further glory. On 11 December 1969, the club turned professional and renamed itself to Sports Club Olympia of Port Ruppert 1952 and also applied to become part of the Second National Division. That application was however denied and Port Ruppert was forced to play another year in the EJSL, eventually winning the league's title for the fourth straight time. In 1971, Port Ruppert reapplied for the Second Division, and thanks to the dropout of the Loudvigsveld Westwinds, the promotion was granted. Over the course of the next 7 years, SC Olympia became a steady force in the Second Dvision, however always avoiding promotion unluckily.
In 1979, EJSL club Ste. Hannah Flames faced bankruptcy and were threatened to give up their soccer division. Port Ruppert opted to purchase the soccer division, and promising to add the nickname Flames to their official name. With the purchase made and the best players from both clubs, the Port Ruppert Flames enjoyed a major success in the Second Division that following season, placing them in a Promotion spot for most of the season and on the 30th match day, the club secured promotion to the Kingston Soccer League.
Port Ruppert Flames were the first club to display a sponsor on their jerseys by 1979. The league's chairmen were heavily opposed to that idea and forbade any such displaying. However, with valuable money flowing into the club for displaying their sponsor, the club's board changed the club's logo (temporarily) to the logo of the sponsor at that time, Hartnell's Liquor Stores. The League replied by putting a fine of $3.5M to the club's expenses. The fee was paid fully by Hartnell's Owner Steward Hartnell, and he began to protest against that decision with all legal means. Hartnell continued the dispute for two years, knowing about the popularity of his stores gaining. In 1981, the League gave up, repaid the fee to Hartnell and allowed all teams the displaying of their main sponsor.
The early 1980s saw the team stuck between two leagues, too good for the Second Division, but not good enough either for the First Division. Between 1981 and 1984, the club did not remain in one league for more than one season. To avoid such a dilemma for long time, the club signed three new players prior to the 1984 season, when the team was currently again part of the second league. Those three players however helped the club to an immediate promotion and helped the team to a 10th place finish in the following prime division season. On the last day of the 1985 season, the club moved to the newly built McHalfee Stadium. Although initially considered too large for the club, the club easily sold out every home game during their first season in the new stadium.
The team's performance stabilized in the following seasons as they regularly finished in the upper half of the table, however failing to gain any further success due to the dominance of Portland FC and Manchester Soccer at that time. In the late 80s, the club established itself as a regular fourth-place finish. With the introduction of the playoffs in 1990, The Flames Success began. The team merely existed throughout the regular season, doing enough work to secure a playoff spot and then resting for the rest of the season. However in the playoffs, the team rose to the occasion, and in 1993, after two semi-final appearances, the team advanced to the Final for the the first time, meeting the Kingston Sharks. With the Sharks attacking, the Flames concentrated on defense and counter work, succeeding eventually after the 81st minute, when Adams scored the game winner. It was the first national title for the Flames, much due to the tactical work of coach Lafontaine, but also due to the team's hard working attitude.
By 2002, the club had added another three titles to their Hall of Fame, however their aging superstars slowly left into retirement and it became harder for the team to compete for the title. After another cinderella run in 2003 with the title in hands, coach Benjamin Gray left to join Nyhaven, a loss that the club could not compensate. In the next three years, the club faced severe relegation troubles however was able to avoid the drop each time. On 4 July 2006, the club 's president introduced Mike Merlin as head coach, who came from the Atlantic Federation's top team Poseidon Guards AA. Merlin helped the team to three straight championships and established the club as one of the four top teams of the league. Upon his retirement in 2012, Assistant Coach Peter Lecolia from Cattala took over. The Port Ruppert Flames finished only 10th overall and failed to secure a playoff seed for the first time since 2006.
Port Ruppert played their home games in the Silverstein Grounds until 1984, a small capacity stadium just outside of Port Ruppert's downtown area. The stadium however did not meet the rather high expectations by the league at that time in terms of security for players and supporters and so for most of the time, one of the stands had to remain empty. As many fans, players and coaches complained about that, by 1977 the plan was set to built a new stadium, financed by the city. In return however, the club had gain promotion at one time to attract larger audiences. Construction began in June 1977 and was completed by July 1985. On the last game day of the 1985 season, the Flames officially moved into the new Stadium, proudly naming it after the club's first professional coach, Robert McHalfee. In the next few years, the Flames kept their part of the agreement, selling out the Stadium on every given opportunity.
|25||K&B||Stephen Hamilton (C)||Defender||23|
Players in Bold are currently part of their respective national team.