Lately there have been a lot of stories about former NPSL players going on to find success, and Darvin Ebanks can now be counted among those players. The Georgia native recently signed with the Harrisburg City Islanders of the USL, making him the latest NPSL alumnus to join the professional ranks.
Ebanks, who began playing soccer when he was just six years old, spent a season in the NPSL before signing with the City Islanders. Originally he was just looking for a local place to play soccer, but after talking to some of his former teammates he gave Georgia Revolution head coach Robin Dixon a call to schedule a tryout. Ebanks made the team and found the league to be quite competitive.
“The pace was fast, [there was] good intensity, the physical aspect was there,” he says. “I thought it was a really good level.”
Ebanks made the Southeast Conference playoffs with Georgia Revolution, but lost out in the semifinal against the Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves. Despite this, coach Dixon encouraged Ebanks to keep working hard and stay in shape during the offseason. Ebanks was also invited to partake in the 2016 NPSL combine, an experience he says quite humbling.
“I was down in Ft. Lauderdale for two days and there were dozens of USL, NASL, and MLS scouts because it was the same weekend as the MLS combine,” he says. “It was really good.
Most of the players there had either played in USL or Division I colleges already so the intensity was high and the talent level was better than I thought it would be, just because it averaged out to be the top one or two players from each of the NPSL teams in the whole country.”
Not long after the combine, Ebanks was brought in for a tryout with the City Islanders. The team
liked what they saw and quickly offered him a contract. Ebanks says he sees “eye to eye” with his coaches and teammates, something that makes him feel at ease.
“I feel very comfortable with all the players. I feel like I fit in very well,” says Ebanks.
As for the NPSL, Ebanks thinks that although it is very competitive, there’s still room for
growth. “There’s room for growth in any league. Soccer in America is growing every day,” he says.
Ebanks will begin his season on Saturday, March 28, when the City Islanders take on the Richmond Kickers in an away match.