Jacksonville Armada U-23 head coach Pat Cannon announced on Friday University of North Florida midfielder Jay Bolt and goalkeeper Kyle Nasta as his National Premier Soccer League squad’s inaugural signees.
Bolt and Nasta helped lead UNF to its first-ever Atlantic Sun Conference regular season and tournament championships in 2015 as well as the program’s first NCAA Division I postseason appearance.
“Both Jay and Kyle are players that encompass why this team exists,” Cannon said. “They both were developed in our youth club JFC and have progressed to be excellent college players at UNF. Now they have another avenue to further their soccer career and development.”
Bolt, who finished his junior season last fall, is a two-time All-A-Sun selection, earning first team honors in 2015 and getting the second team nod in 2014. Voted as the conference defensive player of the year by fans in 2015, Bolt has made 42 starts and 47 career appearances to go along with two goals and six assists.
“I’m very excited to be a part of Armada U-23,” Bolt said. “I’m looking forward to joining a group of young players like myself who are hungry and ambitious. Playing for a team out of Jacksonville, my hometown, is a dream scenario. I plan on bringing passion and competitive fire to training and games.”
Prior to UNF, Bolt came up through Armada FC youth club partner, Jacksonville FC, and starred at The Bolles School during his prep career, where he was named to the 2013 National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s All-American Team. He was the first player in Bolles history to earn All-America honors. Bolt previously played for Cannon at former local NPSL side Jacksonville United FC.
“Jay has been a fixture on Jacksonville United since he came out of high school,” Cannon said.
“Entering his senior year this upcoming year at UNF, he is poised to come in as one of our leaders this summer. He has that certain intensity to his game that you wish all your players had. I’m very excited to see Jay progress to play at the next level.”
Nasta, who completed his final season of eligibility with the Ospreys in the fall, was a two-time all-conference selection, being named to the second team in 2015 and first team in 2014. He was also named A-Sun Goalkeeper of the Year in 2014. Nasta finished his UNF career as the school’s Division I career leader in saves (150), wins (18) and shutouts (10).
“I am extremely excited to continue to develop my game with the newly established Armada U-23 this summer,” Nasta said. “I would like to thank the coaching staff and the Armada FC for this opportunity. I have played locally in Jacksonville my whole career, and to be a part of a professional organization in my hometown is something special. Being a part of this squad, I hope to serve as an example of hard work and bring about a championship mentality.”
Before UNF, Nasta came up through JFC and prepped at Episcopal High School and Mandarin High School. He also played for Cannon at Jacksonville United.
“Kyle is a fantastic ’keeper, simple as that,” Cannon said. “He has some of the best shot-stopping abilities I’ve ever seen. I’m looking to Kyle to mature into a leader this summer. This team could be a spring board for him to continue his playing career into the professional ranks.”
Cannon expects to announce the remainder of his team next week. Armada U-23 will open its 10-game NPSL season at 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 15 at Patton Park.