By Matthew DeWitt/NPSL.com
It’s been an immaculate showing for the young club of Apotheos FC, storming hard into the 2023 NPSL National Championship with a potent offense.
In just their second year of existence, the club hailing from Kennesaw, GA will look for one more scoring outburst from a talented group to help raise the NPSL National Championship trophy Saturday night in Claremore, OK.
“We’ve talked about the opportunity it brings – the eyes it brings to playing in the NPSL final,” South Region XI member Geovanni Rios said. “The ‘winning at all costs’ mentality has been pushed hard by Coach Bruno [Kalonji]. He creates winning teams. The only team that can really beat us is us.”
Apotheos started the season hot. In three games of five with three or more goals, the South Region Champions seemed to have a scoring touch early. Throughout the year, Apotheos hung multiple goals on opponents in six of their 10 regular seasons and carried the momentum into the postseason. In all, 12 different names have appeared on the scoresheet for Apotheos.
“It’s been a good thing and a curse,” said Rios. “These bunches come after conceding. It’s like once we score one, we score three. It has a lot to do with how we play, and we’re blessed to have a ton of talent.”
Totaling 14 goals in five games in the playoffs, the Locomotives have hung multi-goals games at the right time. A set of 4-1 and 4-3 (AET) wins to start the postseason in the Southeast Conference round and a 3-1 (AET) win in the NPSL National Semifinals highlight the offense for Apotheos.
In the semifinal win, a second yellow card in the 80th minute to Ebrima Dampha meant Apotheos spent the remaining 10 minutes of regulation and the ensuing extra time down but more dangerous on offense. Despite the tired legs, Apotheos rattled off two goals before the extra-time break.
“We’re going to continue to fight,” said Rios. “Our team is so dangerous on the counter with speed and the ability to move the ball quickly. It’s played against West Chester and every team we go down against.”
For the changes brought in at the start of the year with a head coaching change and all the hot-and-cold spells in-season, Rios said he’s thankful for the support the young club has from the top, down. Ultimately though, he said only one thing would stand in Apotheos’s way Saturday.
“It’s been a crazy ride,” he said. “We understand, at the end of the day, it’s on us if we want to win. Everyone will know Apotheos, and everyone here is serious.”
Photo Credit: Carl Gulbish/NPSL.com