Kalonji’s Experience Leads Apotheos FC to NPSL National Semifinals

By William Engels/NPSL.com

Bruno Kalonji was named the head coach of Apotheos FC in February, after a successful five-year stint as the head coach of Kalonji Pro-Profile.  After an inaugural NPSL season that saw the side reach the semifinals of the Southeast Conference playoffs, Apotheos FC’s second season in the league has been a resounding success.  In regular-season action, Apotheos FC clinched the Southeast Conference with a 6-1-3 record (21 points). 

In league play, Apotheos FC scored 21 goals, tied for the most goals scored in the conference, while only conceding 11, the fewest allowed in the conference.  Additionally, defender Ebrima Dampha, midfielder Moustaphe Dante, and forward Geovanni Rios were named as Capelli Sport Conference XI selections for the Southeast Conference, and Rios was selected as a Capelli Sport Region XI for the South Region. 

Kalonji’s leadership and development skills are certainly a major reason behind Apotheos FC’s success this season.  As the owner and founder of Kalonji Soccer Academy, Kalonji has been a part of youth soccer development in Georgia since 2002 at both the boys and girls division. Kalonji opened the Kalonji Soccer Academy in 2014 after spending the previous 12 years as a head coach in different programs around Georgia and has served as the head coach at the U13, U15, and U18 levels for the academy.  Additionally, in his role as the head coach of Kalonji Pro-Profile, he captured the Georgia Championship in 2019, 2021, and 2022.

After finishing atop the Southeast Conference in regular season play, Apotheos FC hosted the Southeast Conference Playoffs as the one seed.  In the semifinals, Apotheos FC defeated Charlottetowne Hops FC 4-0, powered by a two-goal performance from Lamin Jawneh.  The Conference Final saw Apotheos FC battle back from a 2-0 deficit against Georgia Revolution FC through goals in the 80th and 85th minutes to force added extra time.  After an Apotheos 100th-minute goal was answered by Georgia Revolution in the 114th minute, Junior Sandoval scored the match-winning goal for Apotheos FC in the 120th minute, advancing the side to the South Region Tournament.

As the four seed in the South Region Tournament, Apotheos FC faced the top-seeded Naples United FC in the semifinals, defeating the hosts 1-0.  In the South Region Final against Southern States Soccer Club, Apotheos opened the scoring in the 22nd minute through Anthony Sumo Jr. After Southern States equalized in the 65th minute, Apotheos wasted little time in responding, with Sandoval scoring what would be the match-winning goal in the 66th minute to ultimately clinch the South Region for Apotheos and send them to the NPSL National Semifinals.

Saturday’s Semifinal match against East Region champion West Chester United SC should be a very exciting matchup.  The top-seeded West Chester side defeated the defending NPSL National Champions FC Motown in the East Region Finals to qualify for the NPSL National Semifinals. However, Apotheos FC, who enter Saturday’s fixture on a seven-match unbeaten streak, have outscored their opponents 18-8 in the process and look to continue their run against West Chester United.


Photo Credit: Alexander Kalombe


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