The first match of the NPSL’s U-19 pilot takes place on Friday, August 28th with Pensacola FC hosting AFC Mobile.
Kendrick Hernandez, an attacking player with impressive abilities, is expected to lead the Pensacola FC squad.
Pensacola’s coaching staff includes David Kemp, Dean Logan, and Rudy Seelman. Kemp is PFC’s technical director and also serves as the head coach of their WPSL team. Logan is an assistant with the WPSL team and head coach for the NPSL squad. Seelman, who acts as the U-19’s goalkeeping coach, is a staff coach with the club.
“Our approach at PFC is always to train and play the right way, and install our valued principles in the application of everything we do,” Kemp said.
Center midfielder Landon Pendleton, center back Ira Bowens, and center forward Desmond Ibie are expected to play a major role with AFC Mobile during the pilot.
Mobile is led by an experienced coaching staff that includes NPSL first team head coach Steve Wieczorek, assistant coaches Brent Grube and Hatem Morsy, and player-assistant coach Eddie Dakwa.
Coach Wieczorek is the current head men’s coach at Spring Hill College, technical director of the AFC Mobile Academy, and first team head coach. Grube is a former AFC Mobile goalkeeper and current goalkeeping coach for both the senior team and academy. Morsy, who spent 15 years as a professional player in Egypt, is an academy coach and assistant for the first team. Dakwa is an AFC Mobile Academy coach and a former AFC Mobile player.
“We will incorporate as many elements of our first team’s style into the U-19s as possible, but we are a work in progress,” Wieczorek said. “I expect to take a very cautious approach in our first outing as we work to implement our high-pressure, transitional style.”
Expectations remain high for Friday’s match and the U-19 pilot as a whole.
“This is something we are very excited about,” Kemp said. “It gives the young players another avenue to develop their game, and to represent their area on a national platform. We want to see some great games and some growth amongst our squad.”
“It’s exciting,” Wieczorek said. “I think as a club you always strive to set the standard so playing the inaugural game is a great feeling. Our goals for the team in the first year are simple: to showcase the league that we’ve been honored to help build, to showcase AFC Mobile’s youth project, and represent ourselves well each week.”
The league’s fans and supporters will surely enjoy this great matchup as it is an incredible way to kick off the U-19 pilot, which will run through November 8th.
Photo Credit: AFC Mobile/Seth Laubinger, Jim Myers, and Amir Rabbani