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Asheville's first pro soccer game a hit with local fans

Asheville City Soccer Club players got to perform in front of a sellout crowd, and they delivered a 2-1 victory thanks to the game-winning goal by Cameron Saul, who grew up in London. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

The first ever pro soccer game in Asheville turned out to be a big hit with local soccer fans.

Asheville City Soccer Club players got to perform in front of a sellout crowd, and they delivered a 2-1 victory thanks to the game-winning goal by Cameron Saul, who grew up in London.

"I had just come on 5 minutes before, so I had bags of energy. I just wanted to do something," Saul said. "I just ran for the ball. I saw it go over the top, beautiful ball. I just chased it down. The keeper hesitated, fortunately for me. I just went in and got the goal."

The roster is full of players from all over the country, but also with athletes who have ties to the mountains. Each one of them is proud to be a part of the team.

"It's honestly a dream come true. When I was little, my dad ran the Asheville Splash. We always talked about having a men's team, but it never happened," Logan Woody, an Asheville native and midfielder, said. "Now, to see it finally come true is kind of crazy, and to be a part of it is unbelievable."

The club had just one practice before the first game, and the players are still getting to know one another. Head coach, Gary Hamel is excited about the challenge of bringing these guys together.

"You're right, trying to get each other used to each other," Hamel said. "We put people together to see who will play well together. And yeah, just figuring out their little qualities."

The players have high expectations this year to improve their skills every game.

"It all worked out perfectly. There's probably no better city to be a part of right now than Asheville, and I'm so glad to be here," Saul said.

"To see the community and the city buy into something like that, and be completely supportive, and not just show up, but show passion for the game, was literally like nothing I've ever experienced," Woody said.

The next chance for fans in the mountains to watch the Asheville City Soccer Club play will be Wednesday, May 17 when Asheville hosts Tri-Cities FC.

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