By Aaron Tomich/NPSL.com
Coffee in the community is a tie that binds. A cafe or roastery, used for meetings, casual catch-ups and the daily work or school grind often times becomes the heart of a local city or town.
In Kennesaw, Georgia, one can buy their favorite local brews or sip on a dark-roast pour at the Apotheos Roastery and Coffeehouse locations. Soon, one will also be able to watch and support their own soccer club.
Starting in the springtime of this year, the community will see its new team take the pitch for the first time. From soccer fanatics, to young athletes, to the newest fans of the sport, the people of Kennesaw will have the chance to welcome Apotheos Football Club to competition in NPSL.
“We are a grassroots team,” said Apotheos FC co-founder Anthony Catalano. “This northwest part of the Atlanta metro area is a hotbed for soccer and talent from high school up to college and even professionally. That created a perfect market for a developmental and NPSL team for us.”
Hoping to pull from local amateur and college talent in the area, Catalano looks to use his own professional soccer experience to create a successful community-based club. The Apotheos FC co-founder played collegiately at Elon University before competing for the likes of two well-known clubs at Charleston Battery and the Richmond Kickers. There, he learned the lasting impact of a community-oriented club here in the United States.
leading motto for the club, found also in the principles of the roastery, is “Bolder, Brighter, Better Together”. Catalano said that the motto from the roastery fits well with the sport of soccer and its new involvement within the city of Kennesaw through Apotheos FC.
“Soccer brings all of us together globally and locally,” said Catalano. “Coffee is a tool that brings people together through communication and engagement with your neighbor, and we thought it was a phenomenal opportunity to expand that brand and go into sport and entertainment with it.”
Both Catalano and his co-founding partner, Dale Hughes, are excited to engage with the Kennesaw people through Apotheos FC in a variety of ways. Their desire is to see that their players will be active and engaged in the community throughout each season, cultivating and carrying out a community-based vision for the club.
Off the field, Hughes’ 30-plus years in the Kennesaw community provides a strong focus for the club. His philosophy of a strong community flows in abundance through every aspect of his life, which includes renovations of historic buildings turned into small businesses (craft breweries, bakeries and roasteries) along with philanthropic endeavors to benefit and encourage the empowerment of people, from underprivileged youth to those who are less fortunate.
Upon meeting Catalano and discussing future ideas, the concept of an NPSL team started to materialize.
“Wow, this is cool,” said Hughes about the opportunity to found a club in Kennesaw. “What better way to extend yourself into the community, soccer is an incredible sport and people love it – this would be perfect for what we’re trying to do with ‘Bolder, Brighter, Better Together’. [The club] should be named Apotheos.”
On the field, Catalano’s prior experience playing professionally brings a vision of competition, development and victory in the years to come for Apotheos FC. He said that one immediate goal is to get the team set on the right path during their first season. Looking into a not-so-distant-future, Catalano has the desire to explore multiple options in the soccer world, including potential expansion into youth programs for boys and girls, fielding women’s teams, and other opportunities that may arise.
The club hopes to be able to compete for conference trophies and berths into the playoffs as well and is overall excited to begin play in NPSL in 2022 while introducing a new, positive force into the Kennesaw area.
“I’m hoping [Catalano] delivers me a championship,” said Hughes. “I told him that it’s going to be like a Disney movie… it’s a crazy idea that’s much more than soccer. It’s about bringing people together.”
Photo Credit: Apotheos FC