The National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) is proud to announce that Florida Roots Futbol Club (Panama City, FL) has joined the league as an expansion team. The club will begin competition in the South Region in 2021.
“The announcement of another expansion team in the South Region is exciting and satisfying,” NPSL Managing Director Cindy Spera said. “Given the struggles with COVID-19, we are finding that the teams joining the NPSL are high-level, professionally-run teams whose businesses have weathered the pandemic and are healthy enough to invest. The Class of 2021 is shaping up to be the strongest and most stable group of new teams that we have had in years, maybe ever.”
The club is led by a number of individuals, including Owner and President Jonathan Hammond and Director of Operations and General Manager Larry Cecchini.
Hammond holds a USSF National “C” License and a Level 1 Futsal Diploma with 10 years of coaching experience at the club level and five years at the high school level. He currently serves as the Director of Coaching at Florida Roots Futbol Club, Director of Coaching at Bay County Youth Soccer Association, and the Director of Soccer at Arnold High School.
Cecchini holds both the USSF National “B” and NSCAA Goalkeeping Level I licenses along with over 25 years of experience in club and high school coaching and administration roles. He has also spent time as a staff coach, trainer, and evaluator for the Minnesota Youth Soccer Association Olympic Development Program and served as Minnesota Youth Soccer Association Tournament Director and Board Member.
“This NPSL team will provide our youth players something to rally around and aspire to, even as future players, right in their hometown,” Hammond said. “We believe having an NPSL soccer team will only motivate more kids to be interested in playing soccer, thereby increasing our pool of potential players both at a club and NPSL team level over the coming years. We feel strongly that the timing is right for a team in our area.”
The club was originally formed in 2018. The main goal for the club was to provide an alternative for young soccer players who sought an advanced approach to skill development and training opportunities in the Panama City and Panama City Beach area. The concept quickly caught on in the community and the club has continued to grow year over year since its inception. The club has competed primarily in the I-10 League as well as multiple regional level tournaments. The club has found great success in such a short time, winning numerous tournament championships.
“On the pitch, we expect to field a competitive side that can compete with the other teams in our region and conference on a regular basis,” Hammond said. “We realize there will be a learning curve both on and off the field as an expansion team, but feel there is enough untapped talent in our community and surrounding area combined with coaching and administrative experience to make that a reality.”
Home matches will be played at Tommy Oliver Stadium in Panama City, FL. The facility was completely renovated in 2018. It has a grass field and a seating capacity of 7,000. It also boasts a state-of-the-art scoreboard, multiple lockers rooms, an enclosed press box, and reserved seating options.
“We are excited that Florida Roots Futbol Club has joined the NPSL, adding to the stability and growth in this region,” NPSL Director of Membership Development Dina Case said. “The Florida Roots philosophy and vision aligns well with what the NPSL brand stands for and we expect they will enjoy great success at this next level.”
More information about expansion opportunities in the NPSL can be found at http://www.npsl.com/expansion-application