FACUNDO CASCIO & LEONARDO VELA: THE NPSL’S NEWEST EUROPEAN AMBASSADORS
Add two more names to the list of NPSL players signing for professional clubs, this time in Europe. Former Storm FC players Facundo Cascio and Leonardo Vela have recently signed for Mons Calpe SC, of the Gibraltar Premier Division.
Cascio, who scored three goals and assisted another three for Storm FC last season, is extremely excited to have joined Mons Calpe SC. In fact, the 19-year-old Argentine has already set a goal for himself.
“My goal is to be a starter for Mons Calpe SC and be a player who can help the team win games,” he said.
With youth on his side as well as the versatility to play in both offensive and defensive roles, it’s not hard to imagine that Cascio could one day become a staple at Mons Calpe. With that said, he admits he prefers to play on the wings.
“I can play as a winger on either flank as well as a left back, but I like to play as a winger,” he shared.
But while Mons Calpe added youth by bringing in Cascio, they also added experience by bringing in Leonardo Vela, a veteran of the Gibraltar Premier Division. Vela served as Storm FC’s skipper this past season, playing every minute of every match and leading the team to its best finish yet.
“Storm FC is a really professional organization. They take it seriously,” Vela said. “We practiced every day, we had a nice place for us to stay in and the quality of the players was one of the things that attracted me there.”
The 33-year old, who had previously played in Gibraltar for Lynx FC, stated how thankful he was to the Storm FC leadership. He was also proud of the role he was given within the team.
“I am thankful to Storm FC because they were there for me,” Vela said. “I was one of the leaders and was the team captain this season, the most successful season in Storm FC’s history.”
Interestingly enough, Vela may have played a part in Cascio’s transfer to Mons Calpe. According to Cascia, both Vela and Storm FC General Manager Enrique Cortina helped him orchestrate his move to Europe.
“This was all done thanks to the front office, Jose [Reygadas], Enrique [Cortina], and Leo [Vela] – the captain. They gave me the opportunity to come here and play,” shared Cascio. “It’s very motivating since you compete for the chance to participate in the Champions League or the Europa League.”
According to Enrique Cortina, General Manager of Storm FC, the success found by Cascio and Vela serves to highlight how the team helps prepare players for success at the professional level.
“Our goal is to focus on developing players for the professional level,” Cortina said. “We have many connections in professional teams and if our players have a good season, they will have the opportunity to play at the highest level.”
Storm FC and NPSL make for “beautiful memories”
Looking back on their time in the NPSL, the Argentine duo agrees that the league helped them grow as players.
“The NPSL is a very good league, and that helps you grow from a soccer standpoint so you can play for great teams,” noted Cascio.
“The time that I spent in the league gave me the chance to return to a premier league in Europe, because it’s a very different type of soccer – both in the game itself and in its cultural differences,” added Vela. “The league has a good level of soccer and it’s growing quickly.”
But beyond the field, the thing that stood out the most to the players was the human quality of both team and league.
“My stay at Storm FC is one of the most beautiful memories of my career,” shared Vela. “All of the club: the president, directors, trainers, players – we really were one family. The harmony and work conditions really made you feel at home.”
Meanwhile, Cascio recalls the time he spent with his teammates, although he admits the feeling of being a family extended throughout the entire team.
“The best memories I have are the moments I shared with the team: the trips, the meals before matches, the training sessions… We formed a big family and it was a great couple of months,” he said. “We tried to help one another, from the president down to the players.”
“One of the best decisions I ever made was to go play at Storm FC. It prepared me professionally because the organization is run like a pro team,” he added.
As happy as Facundo and Leonardo are, Enrique Cortina might just be happier. As far as he’s concerned, the two are still part of the club, just in a different role.
“We wish Facundo and Leonardo the best of luck in this new stage of their professional career. They are now Storm FC and NPSL ambassadors.”