GBFC Top Le Moyne In Pre-Season Opener

Greater Binghamton Futbol Club (sorry, I refuse to call them the ‘Thunder’) topped Le Moyne College 2-1 in their pre-season opener on two second half goals. Le Moyne took the early lead with a goal in the 21st minute and lead 1-0 entering halftime. Newcomer Sean Streb (Tioga County Community College and Lansing High School) tallied just 4 minutes into the second half on a solo effort to level the score. Another first year GBFC player, Nate Lewis (Central Baptist Christian School) scored the second goal on an assist from returning veteran Cody Healey.

GBFC will face Le Moyne again on March 30 away at Le Moyne College.

An Open Letter To Football Clubs

Dear Football Club Owners, Managers, and CEO’s:

I love what you’re trying to do. I love your mission statement about growing the game at a grassroots level, about developing local player talent, about providing a professionalized outlet for the game in your community, and I maybe even think its a little cute that you want to bring MLS to your town. And because I want you to succeed, here’s some free advice.

DESIGN MATTERS. And so does branding. A lot. It has been said that in this post-modern milieu design has become the arbiter of value and meaning. This may be overstating things a bit, but as FORBES has pointed out, we live in an ‘Era of Design’.  And in this era, as Adam Swann notes, “expecting great design is no longer the preserve of a picky design-obsessed urban elite—that aesthetically sensitive clique who‘d never dare leave the house without their Philippe Starck eyewear and turtleneck sweaters and buy only the right kind of Scandinavian furniture. Instead, there’s a new, mass expectation of good design”.

For clubs, this extends to such things as crests, logos, and websites. In essence, anything that represents the club or its ‘brand’ falls into this category. It’s worth spending money to work with a professional designer. Really. There are a lot of freelancers who do great work that would put together a crest for a few hundred dollars. And for a little more, you could have a color scheme and font customized for all of your publications. Its worth it. People notice good design, and laugh at bad design.

Unfortunately, what was good design in the 90’s may not be good design today. Your clubs should be constantly looking to stay relevant. To put it plainly, here are a few design principles to help you out:

  1. Cartoons are generally not good design unless you work for Nickelodeon or Disney. If you want to be seen as a pro club, look like a pro club.
  2. Star Wars was the peak of good design once upon a time. Taking branding cues from Star Wars is no longer good design.
  3. Branding your club with some arbitrary moniker is not good branding and will probably hinder your efforts towards good design. At one time nicknames like ‘Thunder’, ‘Force,’ and ‘Stars’ was probably considered GREAT branding technique. But times have changed. Monikers can be used well, but should generally identify the club with a larger more significant narrative. So monikers that reference a geographical situation, a significant local theme, or something similar can work.
  4. Simplicity is best. This is true of your logo/crest as well as your club name, jerseys, and just about everything.
  5. With very few exceptions: don’t use stars in your logo unless you’ve won a championship. Don’t put a soccer ball in your logo; if it’s not obvious you’re a soccer club then you’ve already failed.
  6. Do have a website, and really try to host it at a .com address. And no, yourclubfc.blogspot.com does not count. This site should have pertinent club information, a place to by tickets and merchandise, and should be updated with club news and scores regularly.
  7. Get a Facebook page and twitter. You want people to follow you and engage you, and social media is good way to accomplish this. Also, don’t forget to update once in a while. These tools do no good if they aren’t actually used.

This list is by no means exhaustive. It’s really just something to get you started. And if you want some examples of how to do it right, check out Chattanooga FC, Detroit City FCFC Tucson or Nashville FC.

Or check out Greater Binghamton Futbol Club Thunder FC, replete with stars, black and white soccer balls, and laser rays:

Greater Binghamton Futbol Club Thunder

I’ll still support you GBFC Thunder, but you sure have made it difficult to be proud to represent my club.

Petition To Oust NPSL Commish Hitchcock (And Why I Won’t Sign)

If you follow the goings on of the NPSL like I do, you may have seen this petition at change.org circulating to replace Commissioner Hitchcock:

Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 10.06.01 AM

And while the petition raises a few important issues facing the NPSL, I thought I would take the time to work through the petition point by point – because, in my opinion, Commissioner Hitchcock and PMI have been good for the league and because I think its too early to determine the legacy they will leave after one season.

First and foremost, the petition is arranged by what “We do NOT stand for.” It would be helpful, I think, to note what such supporters DO stand for. PMI and NPSL is executing on a certain vision. It may not be the vision you or I would choose, but if we want to criticize it lets at least offer something in its place!

  • Multiple teams in a single market (too many teams in Michigan and more planned for 2015, 3 teams in San Diego). This point may be partially valid, though I think it oversimplifies things a bit. There are currently only 3 teams in Michigan, and of these only 2 can geographically be considered the same market – though Detroit is certainly a big enough metro to host more than one team, especially at the NPSL level. Further, I think club aims are important to note here. Some clubs, like Detroit City, exist solely as an NPSL club. Others, like Greater Binghamton FC exist as a senior mens side to an existing youth club structure. Both clubs saw great success last season attendance wise, based on very different models. There seems to be no reason that we couldn’t see two different model NPSL clubs in the same greater metro, especially if both have different aims. And in reality, if clubs want to be successful they need to market to a community and build themselves an identity in a community – like Detroit City has done. As for the San Diego clubs, this is a more valid point – but again, San Diego is a big soccer community and it seems very reasonable to have multiple clubs there catering to different communities in the greater metro. It also makes for some great local rivalries and reduces travel costs – two things which I believe are important in a successful club at the NPSL level.
  • The involvement of PMI in the NPSL. The NPSL, as member owned, realized they needed some hep forging a vision for their league. PMI brings a lot of soccer management expertise, and I believe is a great fit for helping the NPSL plot and execute a vision. Democratic organization and leadership is great, but can result in a lot of things getting dropped – especially when the member representatives are doing so on a part time and volunteer basis.
  • Allowing the commissioner to buy an expansion team. It should be noted that the ‘the commissioner’ is not the sole owner of this team. If anything, PMI’s operating a team gives them a greater reason to want the NPSL to be successful as they are now shareholders in the league. Additionally, it is hard be against a club that is obviously well organized and has solid financial backing.
  • Paying commissions and fees to PMI. PMI is a management and consulting firm. They don’t do this for free; collecting fees is what they do. And NPSL most definitely needs the help.
  • Unstable teams being allowed to remain in the league. This is a point that I am in full agreement with. Clubs like the Las Vegas Stallions do the league no good. They result in embarrassing forfeits and when they do play, often end up as cannon fodder. The standards should be stricter, and clubs who can’t maintain them should be put on probation.
  • Schedules being released months late. This is a faux issue. A schedule can’t be made if expansion clubs are still being announced. The real issue here is expansion.
  • A lack of response from the commissioner to emails from supporters and fans. This is a real issue, as supporters and fan concerns need to be heard. That said, as a member owned league probably the best conduit for voicing concerns is via the local club. Most CEO level individuals don’t have the time to personally deal with every request. This might happen in an ideal world, but our reality is at least a little less than ideal.
  • What we believe is reckless growth planned for 2015 and beyond. This may also be a legitimate point, and one that I have voiced on several occasions. As a corollary, while approximately 30 clubs are being added for the 2014 campaign, several clubs have folded and won’t be returning, and a couple others are undergoing significant rebrands and/or ownership changes. I like the increasing regionalization of the NPSL, but at some point I want to see more stable clubs and higher standards throughout. Still, I believe it is too early to kick PMI out. This is the first offseason they have been involved in, and while it seems unlikely that every club will make it through to the 2015 season intact, we can’t be sure. As with many new jobs it takes a solid year to really to get up to speed, and it is often well into the second or third year that things ‘fall into place.’ As an electrical estimator, it really did take about a full year at my current job to get a feel for the office, the business, and synthesize everything to start consistently winning competitive bids. That first year our sales stayed flat from the last year. But the following year we doubled our sales volume and the third year we doubled sales volume again. In years since we have kept up this increased volume but have focused on making that same volume more profitable. Sometimes the growth needs to happen first. What is unpalatable in this situation is the history high growth leagues in US soccer history. But I’ll suspend judgement on this count for at least another season.

I have been and in many ways am still critical of the NPSL and believe there is a lot of room for improvement. But I believe PMI and Hitchcock’s involvement is good for the league – if nothing else, they have certainly raised the profile of NPSL soccer. So sorry Mr. Jones, I’m not going to sign the petition.

Snow End Binghamton Home Shutout Streak

The Pocono Snow became the first team to score on Greater Binghamton FC at home in the 2013 season, but the lone goal wasn’t enough to secure points. Thanks to another strong defensive performance and a bit of luck from a Pocono own goal, Binghamton secured the victory and three points to stay atop the Keystone Flight table. Binghamton will face Hershey FC next Saturday. Hershey is the only team to to beat Binghamton this season, and they are coming off a stunning 6-0 loss to the Clarkstown SC Eagles in a match that saw two Hershey players dismissed with red cards.

Torch Earn Draw With Binghamton

Ryan vs GBFCPerkasie, PA (6/16/13) Jamison Parker

On Sunday June 16th the BuxMont Torch earned a 2-2 draw at home against National Premier Soccer League opponent Greater Binghamton F.C. (GBFC). A goal and an assist from Emmy Egbosimbah helped the Torch earn a tie against the second place team in the Keystone Conference.

The Father’s Day match opened with a spark of activity from Torch striker Sachem Wilson. Binghamton played two back passes from the kickoff and Wilson was able to intercept the second before dribbling deep into the 18 yard box and firing a shot that was saved by GBFC’s Jason Stenta. Six minutes later, GBFC would respond with a goal by Bozidar Jelovac who capitalized on a Torch defensive turnover before slotting home the first goal of the game. Jelovac would net his second of the match in the 28th minute after the referee called a foul on the Torch defense inside their own penalty area and gave GBFC a penalty kick. Faced with an early 2 goal deficit, Torch head coach Daniel Byrd made a substitution and brought on Emmy Egbosimbah in the 29th minute. The substitution yielded almost immediate dividends as Egbosimbah applied constant pressure to the GBFC back four and scored in the 34th minute off an assist from Austin Petrie.

Coming out of the halftime break, and with a week since their previous NPSL match, the Torch looked fresh, inspired, and committed to earning a good result on their home turf. Halftime substitute Wendell Gabriel was able to level the score at 2-2 with a goal in the 46th minute. The persistent pressure applied by Egbosimbah forced another GBFC turnover and allowed him to make a cross to Gabriel who corralled the ball on the left side of the Binghamton penalty area before unleashing a venomous right footed strike underneath the diving Stenta. The goal would be the last of a lively second half which saw both teams hold strong in their defensive halves of the field and attempt to work passing sequences through the midfield. Torch defenders Josh Kremers, Greg Terrell, Doug Cordi, and Kevin Skinker looked cohesive and competent in dealing with the GBFC offensive threats, while BuxMont keeper Jeremy Lee made five saves on the evening and was a strong vocal presence helping to coordinate defending efforts in front of him.

The Torch looked to build off of this result as they travel to face the Morris County Colonials on Wednesday June 19th. Binghamton gets back into action on Saturday June 22nd as they host the Pocono Snow.

Jamison Parker is the Media Relations Associate for the BuxMont Torch. Follow the Torch @BuxMontTorch or on facebook

 

Binghamton Down Pocono in 2nd Half Thriller

After a scoreless first half, the Pocono Snow jumped out to a 2 goal lead with goals in the 49th and 52nd. Binghamton’s Budnjo Armin quickly answered three minutes later in the 55th to bring the score within 1. Then five minutes later Bo Jelovac converted a penalty for the equalizer and then the go ahead goal just a minute later off of an assist from Patrick Thompson. Jelovac completed the hat trick with an insurance goal six minutes before the end of regulation. The victory, coupled with LVU Sonic’s 5-1 thrashing of Hershey puts Binghamton in a tie for first in the Keystone Flight (though Hershey leads head-t0-head series 1-0).

Binghamton was also forced to finish a match down a man for the third time this season due to Ermin Corbin picking up two yellow cards during the course of the match.

Hershey Break Staunch Binghamton Defense

After a scoreless draw against the Clarkstown Eagles, Greater Binghamton FC traveled to Hershey to take on the Panthers in a bid for first place. Hershey scored early in the run of play and again off of a penalty, but Binghamton battled back to equalize both times. With just minutes left to play Binghamton was awarded with a penalty of their own, but the Hershey keeper came up with a big diving save to keep the game level. The Panthers dug deep and found another last minute victory in a goal from Kenneth Fultz – his second of the match. The Hershey goals were first scored on Binghamton goaltender Jason Stenta all season. Hershey is now 4-0-0 while Greater Binghamton drops to 2-1-1.

Greater Binghamton FC Wins Home Opener

Photo Credit: Junior Lone Star FC

Photo Credit: Junior Lone Star FC

Match report by Gabe Smith (Binghamton, NY): Greater Binghamton FC went head to head in their season opener against Junior Lone Star FC and pulled out a 1-0  win in a game that could have turned out much differently. Greater Binghamton struck first in the 40th minute as #12 Jherrett Maroney scored the season’s first goal on a well placed shot from just inside the 18 yard box. The moment of triumph was followed by a red card a few minutes later as a GBFC player was sent off for pushing a Junior Lone Star defender on the sidelines well after the ball was dead.

As the second half began, Lone Star showed an increased sense of urgency. Several times Junior Lone Star looked to capitalize on their man advantage after the red card and pushed down the field in transition but, but the striker couldn’t manage to put the shots on frame.First half possession was held mainly by GBFC who also had a couple missed chances in the first half. Junior Lone Star threatened to score in the 2nd half but despite a good team effort fell short. There were two other yellow cards, one for GBFC and another for Junior Lone Star. Both teams look to have a promising season ahead!

Keystone Flight Preview

KeystoneSeveral teams in the Northeast Region’s Keystone Flight (we really need to standardize the naming…) kick off this weekend, so before the action starts here is your season preview.

BUXMONT TORCH: The Torch finished at the bottom of the table last year with 6 points and a 1-3-8 record. Interestingly, out of 7 club they finished 4th in terms of goals scored, 5th in goals against, and 4th in overall goal differential. This seems to suggest that they really should have finished mid-table, but for whatever reason just couldn’t close games. In the off-season Buxmont have added several quality players from perennial NCAA DIII powerhouse Messiah College  and NCAA DI Liberty University, and will hope to put the past two seasons poor finishes behind them.

CLARKSTOWN SC EAGLES: Formerly branded the Jersey City Eagles, Clarkstown has relocated and re-branded for the 2013 season. Clarkstown finished in the top three of the competitive Keystone Flight and will hope to build on that success to challenge FC LVU Sonic for the title. Clarkstown has an advantage over many clubs in that they do not primarily recruit collegiate athletes. In fact, the core team has been playing together in the Cosmopolitan Soccer League under the tutelage of former Irish Youth National player Kevin Grogan. The combination of team cohesion and a high caliber coach may just be the winning combination for the Eagles this year.

FC LEHIGH VALLEY UNITED SONIC: Besides having one of the longest club names in NPSL, LVU Sonic are the defending national champions and obvious favorites to repeat as Keystone Flight champions. Last season LVU Sonic finished with a 10-1-1 record and a a league best of only 3 goals allowed. If Sonic can lock down the defense as well as they did last year, another Flight title is all but guaranteed.

FC READING REVOLUTION: Back from a year hiatus, the Flight the Revs re-joined looks a lot different than the one it left. 2011 Keystone champions Erie Admirals and 2011 5th place FC Buffalo both left to join the new Great Lakes Flight while the New Jersey Blaze and AC Crusaders have both pulled their teams for the foreseeable future. Reading will look to return on form, but the improved quality of competition may prove a bit of a surprise.

GREATER BINGHAMTON FC: Greater Binghamton played last season in the Great Lakes Flight and will be happy to cut away travel in half for the upcoming season. Greater Binghamton struggled last season, but made a late season run to beat out fellow upstate club FC Buffalo for the last playoff spot. In the off-season Binghamton added grandstands, a press box, and concessions to their home stadium at the Greater Binghamton Sports Complex in a move which will dramatically improve the fan experience. GBFC also shuffled around front office and coaching responsibilities, while bolstering their roster. If key players can avoid injuries this season, look for GBFC to have a strong season behind Captain Chris Riley and goalkeeper Jason Stenta. Veteran Johnny Sinclair has also joined the team this season, and his playing/coaching experience make him a valuable asset both on and off the field.

HERSHEY FC: Hershey FC will be joining the league for their first season. They recently played a friendly match against NPSL aspirants Electric City FC, which they won 2-0. A club in Hershey is a great addition to the Keystone region, and will hopefully promote some great local rivalries.

JUNIOR LONE STAR FC: Junior Lone Star finished last season with a 4-0-8 record, and not fairing well against the Flight’s best. Lone Star have taken aggressive action to turn the ship around for this season with an intense pre-season schedule that has seen them travel to Scranton, Virginia, and North Carolina. So far, the regimen seems to be working as Lone Star’s only pre-season loss came against Chestnut Hill College. They will open on May 11th against Greater Binghamton FC in what will be a telling match for both clubs.

MORRIS COUNTY COLONIALS: The Colonials posted a solid 7-3-1 record last season and were the only club to defeat LVU Sonic. The Morris County roster is heavy with NCAA D1 athletes representing Seton Hall, Rutgers, Iona, and Farleigh Dickonson. All early indications are that Morris County has returned a good portion of their line-up and hope to challenge LVU Sonic for the title.

POCONO SNOW SOCCER CLUB: The Snow have consistently finished near the bottom of the table since their founding in 2009. Pocono will hope to turn things around this season, and the addition of Greater Binghamton to the Flight will give them a competitive division rival. Last season the two clubs played a home and away friendly series which saw Pocono lose the first leg and draw the second. The good news for the Snow is that they can only improve.

NPSL Weekend in Review 4/21

Regular season action continued in the West Regions while several South and Northeast Region clubs continue to finalize rosters and hold pre-season friendlies in anticipation of their May start.

The Sunshine Flight (South Region) saw the second leg of the Gulf Coast Cup as hosts Tampa Marauders defeated the Cape Coral Hurricanes by the same 2 – 0 margin as the first leg. Cape Coral has now been held scoreless in three consecutive matches versus NPSL opponents (vs. Tampa 2-0, 2-0, and vs. Miami United 6-0).

Tampa Marauders vs. Cape Coral Hurricanes [photo credit: Cape Coral Hurricanes]

 

The West Region slate was full and the action intense as every match ended with only a goal difference or less. In the Southern Flight the Santa Clarita Storm soured the home opener of San Diego Flash and leapfrogged them in the standings to claim sole possession of third place. The West region also saw a battle of the undefeated as FC Hasental hosted OC Pateadores in a thrilling 2 – 2 draw. OC Pateadores proved their mettle by going ahead 2 – 1 late in the game and playing with only 10 men, but the high octane Hasental offense wasn’t to be held to one goal and scored the equalizer deep into stoppage time to salvage the draw. The teams remain tied atop the Flight, though Hasental leads in goal differential by a significant margin. At the other end of the table the Las Vegas Stallions notched their first league point holding visitors San Diego Boca FC to a scoreless draw. After a blowout in their opening match the Stallions have have progressively improved, though the point is also the first for a SD Boca side that has a long way to go to live up to pre-season expectations.

In the Northern Flight (Golden Gate Conference) table leaders Real San Jose suffered their first loss away at Sacramento Gold in a hotly contested match which is being protested by Real San Jose. Blood was drawn after a reckless Sacramento challenge only minutes into the match, which set the stage for the rest of the game. With the win, Sacramento creeps into third place only one point behind Real San Jose and Sonoma County with a game in hand over San Jose. Rounding out the Golden Gate action the Sonoma County Sol hosted the San Francisco Stompers. Having been outscored in their first two matches 9-1, San Francisco had significant work to do on both ends of the field to come away with a victory. The Stompers did well until the 44th minute when Sonoma tallied their first to take a 1 – 0 lead into halftime. San Francisco returned from the break and equalized early in the 50th minute only to to give up an own goal and a penalty kick within the next five minutes to give Sonoma a 3-1 lead. San Francisco kept pressing and pulled one goal back in the 82nd, but couldn’t get any closer as the match finished with a final score of San Francisco 2 Sonoma County 3.

Back on the East Coast, Junior Lone Star FC played friendlies away at Mid-Atlantic expansion club Chesterfield United and to aspiring NPSL club Electric City in Scranton, PA. Junior Lone Star scored the only goal of the match vs. Chesterfield in the 15th minute and held off several quality attacks and a penalty kick to seal the victory 1 – 0. The match versus Electric City proved a bit more exciting with a flurry of second half action. Lone Star took the lead just before the break in the 44th minute. Electric City came back from half time and equalized, only to go down again after another Lone Star goal. JLSFC’s lead was short lived however as Electric City capitalized on a poorly handled back pass to make it a 2 – 2 game. Lone Star was finished, and scored the final goal of the match in the 85th minute to clinch the game 3 – 2.

Junior Lone Star returns to pre-season action next weekend with a pair of friendlies against Hosa FC before they travel to Greater Binghamton FC on May 11th for their season opener.

In other news around the league: