By FC Frederick
When FC Frederick starts NPSL regular-season play this week, the team will have a decidedly international flavor.
Players born in Argentina, Cameroon, Germany, Ivory Coast and Spain will suit up for FC Frederick, which starts NPSL play Saturday with a home match at Urbana High School against reigning conference regular-season champion Virginia Beach City FC. Match time is 6:30 pm.
Midfielder Ander Etxaniz, from Spain, is a key addition to the FC Frederick lineup. Extaniz started all nine matches for Longwood University this past college season. German native Jonas Kalchner, also a Longwood player, is expected to highlight the defense, which could include Argentine-born Gonzalo Bartoli in goal.
Saturday’s contest will mark FC Frederick’s first NPSL match since June 28, 2019, when the team sustained a season-ending loss to FC Baltimore. The 2020 NPSL season was canceled due to COVID-19.
FC Frederick’s 2021 roster includes only two holdovers from the 2019 team: John A. Eskay, an Urbana graduate and rising senior at William & Mary, and Spencer Shortt, a Walkersville graduate and rising senior at Millersville. Shortt, a midfielder, appeared in seven NPSL matches in 2019 with three starts. Eskay, a forward, has 20 NPSL matches with five starts to his credit, playing parts of three seasons – 2017, 2018, and 2019 with FC Frederick.
The new-look FC Frederick lineup will include a trio of players who helped American University to an NCAA Tournament second-round appearance this month in defenders Nicolas Blassou and Ben Severe and forward Jerry Zouantcha. All three are from Montgomery County. Blassou was a second-team All-Patriot League performer in 2021 and he scored in the team’s NCAA Tournament win over Jacksonville. Zouantcha, a second team All-Patriot League performer in 2018, had an assist in both of American University’s NCAA Tournament contests. Severe played in all nine matches for American this past season.
Other key players include midfielder Alhaji Turay, who started all 10 games while helping George Washington to an Atlantic-10 runner-up finish, and goalkeeper Bennett Schwartz, who is expected to challenge for the starting keeper position after starting all six matches at Bucknell this past spring.
FC Frederick will play in a revamped NPSL Mid-Atlantic Conference, which includes new entry Philadelphia Lone Star and rebranded FC Baltimore Christos. Virginia Beach City FC and Northern Virginia United round out the five-team conference. FC Frederick will play a 10-match schedule with most of its home contests at Urbana. After this week, the team’s remaining home matches are June 5 against Northern Virginia United at Urbana; June 19 against FC Baltimore Christos at Urbana; June 23 against Northern Virginia United at Ballenger Creek; and July 6 against Philadelphia Lone Star at Urbana. Match times are 6:30 pm.
This year’s squad will be coached by Bo Eskay and Christian Morales with Chris Spinks as an assistant coach.
Philadelphia Lone Star and Virginia Beach City already kicked off the NPSL Mid-Atlantic Conference season by facing each other twice last weekend. After tying their first meeting, Philadelphia defeated Virginia Beach City in a second contest to take an early lead in the standings.
Photo Credit: FC Frederick