New Jersey United AC Owner Faton Bauta Brings American Football Background to the Beautiful Game

By Matt Ralph/NPSL.com

New Jersey United AC owner Faton Bauta is bringing plenty of heart and soul into his first foray into soccer.  The former Division I quarterback is a product of the gridiron but is fully committed to seeing soccer make an impact in an area he first moved with his family to when he was 10 years old.

“I’m originally from New York but New Jersey just took my heart,” said Bauta, who was born in Brooklyn. “I think it’s such a nice place to be part of and it’s such a family-oriented community. We moved out to Monmouth County when I was about 10 years old, and it’s really been home ever since.” 

Bauta left the Garden State for college football, first at the University of Georgia and finished his gridiron career at Colorado State but found his way back to New Jersey and the real estate market, where he’s been able to carve out a successful career while continuing to be involved coaching football.

“I was a career backup, but it was such an awesome experience,” he said of his college football days. “Through it all I developed an intense passion not just for sports but for what it takes to build a successful team and culture.”

Soccer wasn’t one of the many sports he played growing up but he’s learning along the way not just about the nuances of the game but the beauty of it.  The free-flowing, unpredictability of the game and the artistry have caught his attention in particular.

“What’s cool about soccer for me is there is a totally different dynamic to it,” he said. “There’s no stoppage of play, there’s no making the right play, adjustments have to happen on the field. It’s like a live piece of artwork.”  

While Bauta is fully focused on building the new team out, the technical side will be overseen by a pair of coaches with impressive resumes in the game.  NJIT head coach Fernando Barboto is the head coach along with assistant Sam Roca, a former Division I soccer player at South Carolina and High Point. 

Barboto first met Roca when he recruited him as a player, and Roca later went on to coach Barboto’s son for a few years in high school. 

“We’re starting something from scratch, and Faton is an enthusiastic and dedicated leader leading this club as we build this,” Barboto said. “I’m excited to be part of it.” 

Entering an already well-established NPSL presence in the greater New York City region will give the new team built-in rivalries and a level they’ll need to match out of the gate.  They’ll compete in the North Atlantic Conference against Hartford City FC, Kingston Stockade FC, New York Shockers, Syracuse FC, and Valeo FC. 

“I think we’re going to put a nice product on the field that’s going to be competitive,” Barboto said. “It’s going to be enjoyable to watch for the fans, and we’re going to compete day in, game in, game out.”

Barboto and Roca will both lean on the experience they have in the area coaching and scouting players to put together a competitive team from day one.  Barboto has been the head coach at NJIT since 2016, and Roca coaches high school locally at Saint Joseph Prep in addition to training players privately. 

“I think we produce and have some of the best talent compared to any other state in the U.S.,” said Roca, a former NPSL player. “I think we’re fortunate that we’re able to have a multitude of not just teams but competitive teams because of that dearth of talent.”

New Jersey United’s 2024 home venue will be Bob Roggy Memorial Stadium at Holmdel High School.  The game day environment, Bauta said, will be key in establishing the connection to the community that is at the center of what they hope to achieve as an organization.  

“We want to be competitive, and we want to be a great team and a great organization,” he said. “But the goal is to just simply be a lasting footprint in the community and pull the community together.”

Photo Credit: University of Georgia Athletics, Colorado State Athletics, and New Jersey United FC

 

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