The Pocono Snow became the first team to score on Greater Binghamton FC at home in the 2013 season, but the lone goal wasn’t enough to secure points. Thanks to another strong defensive performance and a bit of luck from a Pocono own goal, Binghamton secured the victory and three points to stay atop the Keystone Flight table. Binghamton will face Hershey FC next Saturday. Hershey is the only team to to beat Binghamton this season, and they are coming off a stunning 6-0 loss to the Clarkstown SC Eagles in a match that saw two Hershey players dismissed with red cards.
Sunday, May 19, 2023 - Drexel Hill, PA
Junior Lone Star FC continues to falter after another lack luster performance saw the Stars losing their home opener 0 - 4 to Clarkstown SC Eagles of New York.
Employing the same 4-3-3 formation that saw the Stars lose to Greater Binghamton FC 0 - 1 last week, the Stars proved to be no match for the Eagles who employed a 4-4-2 formation. The Stars made five changes to the starting line-up from last week loss with new signee Kouassi N’Guessan making his debut in defense, Amadou Sheriff and Joe-Joe Jappah, two substitutes from last week, starting as well as the return of Fane Ayouba and Ebere Goodluck.
With only one holding midfielder, the Stars found it hard to stop forward Patrick Figueiredo and Scott Waddell for the Eagles. In fact, it was the former who score the first goal in the 24th minute with a low shot which beat Monyan in goal for the Stars. The Eagles increased their lead in the 40th minute through Figueiredo, his second of the game, to send the Eagles 0-2 at half-time.
The Stars came back for the second half with much vigor but all hopes were dashed when a beautifully taken free kick from midfielder Jonathan Yazo, on for Reilly at half time, left Monyan stranded as the ball hit the back of the net for a 0-3 lead to the Eagles.
After the goal, coach Bobby Ali decided to bring on the cavalry by introducing Mohamed Camara, Jerome Pour, Menuh Wiah, Blama Dunor, Aboubakar Dosso, and Lawrence Brown in search of a comeback, but the Eagles snuffed any fight back from the Stars with the fourth goal of the game off a low shot from midfielder Mario Rios that slipped under the outstretched Monyan in goal to complete the 0-4 score line in the 80th minute
The Stars will now turn their attention to the 2013 Battle of the East Soccer Tournament Final this evening against fierce local rivals Cavalla FC before traveling to Perkasie, PA to play BuxMont Torch FC in Match Day 3 of the 2013 National Premier Soccer League.
Junior Lone Star FC (4-3-3): Monyan; A Dunor (B Dunor 51), Sheriff, Conteh, N’Guessan; Ayouba, Turay (Pour 68), Jappah (Brown 51); Ba, Jackson (Camara 55), Goodluck (Wiah 66).
Subs Not Used: C Zoegar, Dosso.
Booked: A Dunor, Ba, Sheriff
Clarkstown SC Eagles (4-4-2): Tartara; Haxhari, Steffen, Barr, Khromer (Baroj 50); Ospina (Rios 45), Nikocevic (Morad 82), Reilly (Yazo 45), Regnito; Figueiredo (Magga 74), Waddell (Fernandes 65).
Subs Not Used:
Goals: Figueiredo 24, 40, Yazo 51, Rios 80.
BUXMONT TORCH: The Torch finished at the bottom of the table last year with 6 points and a 1-3-8 record. Interestingly, out of 7 club they finished 4th in terms of goals scored, 5th in goals against, and 4th in overall goal differential. This seems to suggest that they really should have finished mid-table, but for whatever reason just couldn’t close games. In the off-season Buxmont have added several quality players from perennial NCAA DIII powerhouse Messiah College and NCAA DI Liberty University, and will hope to put the past two seasons poor finishes behind them.
CLARKSTOWN SC EAGLES: Formerly branded the Jersey City Eagles, Clarkstown has relocated and re-branded for the 2013 season. Clarkstown finished in the top three of the competitive Keystone Flight and will hope to build on that success to challenge FC LVU Sonic for the title. Clarkstown has an advantage over many clubs in that they do not primarily recruit collegiate athletes. In fact, the core team has been playing together in the Cosmopolitan Soccer League under the tutelage of former Irish Youth National player Kevin Grogan. The combination of team cohesion and a high caliber coach may just be the winning combination for the Eagles this year.
FC LEHIGH VALLEY UNITED SONIC: Besides having one of the longest club names in NPSL, LVU Sonic are the defending national champions and obvious favorites to repeat as Keystone Flight champions. Last season LVU Sonic finished with a 10-1-1 record and a a league best of only 3 goals allowed. If Sonic can lock down the defense as well as they did last year, another Flight title is all but guaranteed.
FC READING REVOLUTION: Back from a year hiatus, the Flight the Revs re-joined looks a lot different than the one it left. 2011 Keystone champions Erie Admirals and 2011 5th place FC Buffalo both left to join the new Great Lakes Flight while the New Jersey Blaze and AC Crusaders have both pulled their teams for the foreseeable future. Reading will look to return on form, but the improved quality of competition may prove a bit of a surprise.
GREATER BINGHAMTON FC: Greater Binghamton played last season in the Great Lakes Flight and will be happy to cut away travel in half for the upcoming season. Greater Binghamton struggled last season, but made a late season run to beat out fellow upstate club FC Buffalo for the last playoff spot. In the off-season Binghamton added grandstands, a press box, and concessions to their home stadium at the Greater Binghamton Sports Complex in a move which will dramatically improve the fan experience. GBFC also shuffled around front office and coaching responsibilities, while bolstering their roster. If key players can avoid injuries this season, look for GBFC to have a strong season behind Captain Chris Riley and goalkeeper Jason Stenta. Veteran Johnny Sinclair has also joined the team this season, and his playing/coaching experience make him a valuable asset both on and off the field.
HERSHEY FC: Hershey FC will be joining the league for their first season. They recently played a friendly match against NPSL aspirants Electric City FC, which they won 2-0. A club in Hershey is a great addition to the Keystone region, and will hopefully promote some great local rivalries.
JUNIOR LONE STAR FC: Junior Lone Star finished last season with a 4-0-8 record, and not fairing well against the Flight’s best. Lone Star have taken aggressive action to turn the ship around for this season with an intense pre-season schedule that has seen them travel to Scranton, Virginia, and North Carolina. So far, the regimen seems to be working as Lone Star’s only pre-season loss came against Chestnut Hill College. They will open on May 11th against Greater Binghamton FC in what will be a telling match for both clubs.
MORRIS COUNTY COLONIALS: The Colonials posted a solid 7-3-1 record last season and were the only club to defeat LVU Sonic. The Morris County roster is heavy with NCAA D1 athletes representing Seton Hall, Rutgers, Iona, and Farleigh Dickonson. All early indications are that Morris County has returned a good portion of their line-up and hope to challenge LVU Sonic for the title.
POCONO SNOW SOCCER CLUB: The Snow have consistently finished near the bottom of the table since their founding in 2009. Pocono will hope to turn things around this season, and the addition of Greater Binghamton to the Flight will give them a competitive division rival. Last season the two clubs played a home and away friendly series which saw Pocono lose the first leg and draw the second. The good news for the Snow is that they can only improve.
Regular season action continued in the West Regions while several South and Northeast Region clubs continue to finalize rosters and hold pre-season friendlies in anticipation of their May start.
The Sunshine Flight (South Region) saw the second leg of the Gulf Coast Cup as hosts Tampa Marauders defeated the Cape Coral Hurricanes by the same 2 - 0 margin as the first leg. Cape Coral has now been held scoreless in three consecutive matches versus NPSL opponents (vs. Tampa 2-0, 2-0, and vs. Miami United 6-0).
The West Region slate was full and the action intense as every match ended with only a goal difference or less. In the Southern Flight the Santa Clarita Storm soured the home opener of San Diego Flash and leapfrogged them in the standings to claim sole possession of third place. The West region also saw a battle of the undefeated as FC Hasental hosted OC Pateadores in a thrilling 2 - 2 draw. OC Pateadores proved their mettle by going ahead 2 - 1 late in the game and playing with only 10 men, but the high octane Hasental offense wasn’t to be held to one goal and scored the equalizer deep into stoppage time to salvage the draw. The teams remain tied atop the Flight, though Hasental leads in goal differential by a significant margin. At the other end of the table the Las Vegas Stallions notched their first league point holding visitors San Diego Boca FC to a scoreless draw. After a blowout in their opening match the Stallions have have progressively improved, though the point is also the first for a SD Boca side that has a long way to go to live up to pre-season expectations.
In the Northern Flight (Golden Gate Conference) table leaders Real San Jose suffered their first loss away at Sacramento Gold in a hotly contested match which is being protested by Real San Jose. Blood was drawn after a reckless Sacramento challenge only minutes into the match, which set the stage for the rest of the game. With the win, Sacramento creeps into third place only one point behind Real San Jose and Sonoma County with a game in hand over San Jose. Rounding out the Golden Gate action the Sonoma County Sol hosted the San Francisco Stompers. Having been outscored in their first two matches 9-1, San Francisco had significant work to do on both ends of the field to come away with a victory. The Stompers did well until the 44th minute when Sonoma tallied their first to take a 1 - 0 lead into halftime. San Francisco returned from the break and equalized early in the 50th minute only to to give up an own goal and a penalty kick within the next five minutes to give Sonoma a 3-1 lead. San Francisco kept pressing and pulled one goal back in the 82nd, but couldn’t get any closer as the match finished with a final score of San Francisco 2 Sonoma County 3.
Back on the East Coast, Junior Lone Star FC played friendlies away at Mid-Atlantic expansion club Chesterfield United and to aspiring NPSL club Electric City in Scranton, PA. Junior Lone Star scored the only goal of the match vs. Chesterfield in the 15th minute and held off several quality attacks and a penalty kick to seal the victory 1 - 0. The match versus Electric City proved a bit more exciting with a flurry of second half action. Lone Star took the lead just before the break in the 44th minute. Electric City came back from half time and equalized, only to go down again after another Lone Star goal. JLSFC’s lead was short lived however as Electric City capitalized on a poorly handled back pass to make it a 2 - 2 game. Lone Star was finished, and scored the final goal of the match in the 85th minute to clinch the game 3 - 2.
Junior Lone Star returns to pre-season action next weekend with a pair of friendlies against Hosa FC before they travel to Greater Binghamton FC on May 11th for their season opener.
In other news around the league:
- Mark Lavery of the Georgia Revolution signed a professional contract with the Atlanta Silverbacks of the NASL.
- Daniel Casey has a new NPSL Weekly column at Soccer Newsday.
- Jersey City Eagles have relocated and re-branded as the Clarkstown SC Eagles. Click the link for the full story published last week.
After over a decade of involvement in the Cosmopolitan Soccer League, Oliver Papraniku (Owner and General Manager) decided it was time to take the next step in the dream of forming a new soccer club. Last March he pulled Joe Sullivan (Director of Operations and Marketing), a long time friend from the CSL on board and purchased Jersey City Eagles only a few short months before the season was slated to start. Joe said, “…it wasn’t a last minute decision, but I don’t know that it was a fully planned out decision when he thought about marketing and fans and building a franchise. It was more having the opportunity to take the step from the level we were at.”
The CSL is a USASA league with a first division and several reserve divisions. The first division is considered to be on the 5th tier of the US Soccer pyramid. Storied clubs like New York Athletic Club, New York Pancyprian Freedoms, and Greek American Atlas Soccer Club all play in the CSL at a very high level of amateur competition. According to Joe, the purpose in founding a new club was to be able to implement a new system of youth and player development based on years of experience of dealing with clubs in the lower divisions of soccer in the United States. “What we want to do here is try and start building a better player from the ground up. But you don’t do that just from clinics, coaching and the type of games you’re playing. You have to do it holistically.”
Because of this ‘holistic’ approach to the club, Joe and Oliver knew they would need a special coach - and having played against Kevin Grogan’s teams in the CSL they knew he was the one they wanted. Kevin has a UEFA B coaching license, was signed by Sir Alex Ferguson at the age of 15 and was a part of an Irish U-16 side that won the European Championship in 1998. Joe says, “he is a jewel for our club”.
Coach secure, the next step was to find a youth club to partner with. The Clarkstown Soccer Club of Rockland County, NY provided a perfect candidate and thanks to Kevin’s involvement with the youth club an agreement has been put in place. As Joe tells is, “We identified that problem kind of last year, looking at the organizational standpoint [the problem of ground up development]. Kevin had recently been hired as director of coaching for a large club in Rockland County called Clarkstown Soccer Club…. we [immediately] saw the potential synergies there. Starting last September we entered discussion with Clarkstown Youth Club about a potential partnership….”
With this agreement Jersey City Eagles will move to Rockland County and re-brand themselves as Clarkstown SC Eagles. “Clarkstown SC Eagles… will be in one sense be the senior side to that youth club… that then allows more of the opportunity as kids come through the Clarkstown system they are being coached under Kevin’s tutelage… it allows us to really develop players and bring them through a system where there is a goal at the end. Then if they don’t get snapped up by [pro clubs] they’ll have a place to play after college and during college…. hopefully at some point the youth club will be a feeder for the senior side…”
Another part of this vision will be to locate and develop soccer fields for Clarkstown Soccer Club. “One of the things we are going to hopefully be helping with is finding and developing fields particularly in the NY area. We know that if you have your own field you control your own destiny… we hope that in the next 3 years we will have identified land.” Adding to that, Joe commented that long term he would love to see Rockland County become “soccer central for the Northeast Region.”
That first season saw the Eagles finish in third place in the Keystone Flight of the Northeast Region with a 6-3-2 record. Two of the three losses came at the hands of eventual national champions FC Sonic. Joe and Oliver are confident that they can learn from last season and feel that they are much more prepared for the 2013 campaign. “Our first season was complicated by the fact that there was an overlap between the CSL and the NPSL, so for our first 3 or 4 games we had players who were playing competitively in two leagues at once and a coach who was coaching in two leagues at once… he actually missed one of our NPSL games due to his commitment to his CSL club. We saw that we would have the same problems if we kept running things the same way… our players would go back to their CSL club teams [and be unavailable] so we kept our core group together and we entered them into the CSL in the first division so we could keep them playing together… and give our players more seasoning. [They have] now been together since September of last year.”
In a league that has seen its fair share of one-and-dones Oliver and Joe are hoping that they can help lead the way in developing a sustainable club model. And with the infrastructure they have built over the past year, 2013 looks to be an exciting season for the new Clarkstown SC Eagles.
Thanks to Marc Silverstein for inspiring this article, and many thanks to Joe Sullivan and Oliver Papraniku for agreeing to an interview.