By J’Mar Smith/FC Baltimore Christos
FC Baltimore Christos will open its season Saturday, May 29 at Powhatan Field in Norfolk, Virginia to take on Virginia Beach City FC
FC Baltimore Christos is back for a brand new season with a brand new logo, and some new and familiar faces to boot. FCBC is now the home of a few current and former UMBC players. Forward Spencer Hanks, midfielder Taylor Calheria, defender Jordan Ehart, goalkeeper Jailon Gillespie, and midfielder Kyle Waggoner are the rookies of the team, while midfielders Malcolm and David Harris join defender Kyle Saunderson as the savvy veterans on the team.
The new class of rookies will be looking to make their own imprints on this team and have the tools to do so. Hanks is a former All-American from 2019 who also won Rookie of the Week honors for a game-sealing goal at UMBC. Calheria is another Retriever who is not only a linemate of Hanks but has also secured a game-winning goal for his team. Calheria has won All-America, All-State, and The Baltimore Sun All-Metro honors in 2019. In that season he led the metro area with 33 goals, 11 of which came in multiple-goal games. Calheira even has some championship experience winning four titles, two State Cup championships and two MIAA B championships.
Ehart is a consistent player which is crucial for a defender. He has the ability to stay with the ball and has the instincts of a safety in football, wherever the ball lands Ehart is sure to find it. He was also named to the America East All-Rookie team in 2018.
Even with these star-studded rookies no team is ever complete without its share of veterans to level the ship. Saunderson is returning to FCBC hoping to continue his success with the team, providing an anchor on the defensive end while being another weapon for the offensive side. Another player making his return to the team is Malcolm Harris, who returns as a player-coach and will use his leadership skills to aid in helping the team over the hump. He won’t just be leading the team verbally, he will be doing it physically as he joins Saunderson on that defensive side controlling the middle of the field.
While the offense is the true identity of the team, look for FC Baltimore Christos to have a smothering defense that looks for opportunities to give the offense easy looks to convert. Last season the team only allowed nine goals all season in the Mid-Atlantic Conference and was crowned conference champions. The offense doubled that number by scoring 19 goals during that season and went on to defeat the Virginia Beach City FC to become the Mid-Atlantic tournament champions. These accomplishments led to head coach Larry Sancomb winning the National Coach of the Year award.
FCBC looked outside of Maryland for a few more additions, signing goalkeeper and former FCBC player Mike Zierhoffer, defender Alex Stevenson, forward Keegan Kelly, forward Kelan Swales, and forward Branden Johns. With new signings came crucial losses as the team lost Jake Dengler, Khalid Balogun, and Jon Bell to the professional ranks. Even with these losses the return of Harris, Zierhoffer, midfielders Nick Gumbs, Danny Baxter, Mal McGovern, and the Bender brothers Jacob and Ben, should be more than enough for another run at the title.
Over the last two years (excluding the 2020 season due to COVID-19) FCBC has won the Mid- Atlantic regular season and will look to continue the streak with a season-opening victory against the team they beat for the tournament championship in 2019, VBCFC. FCBC will play away for their first game and return home for their next two against VBCFC and NVU. Other opponents for the regular season include Philadelphia Lone Star FC, and FC Frederick. The team will play each Mid-Atlantic Conference opponent twice, with the exception of VBCFC and NVU, who will match up with FCBC three times during the regular season.
The team is led by Sancomb with assistant coaches Eric Bathras, Mike Lookingland, and Jim Fendryk Jr.
Join FC Baltimore Christos on Saturday, May 29th as they kick off the season at 6:00 pm Eastern. Stay tuned to FC Baltimore Christos’ social media pages regarding information on streaming.
Photo Credit: Christopher Fincham Photography