By: Kyle J. Andrews
Baltimore has a rich history of soccer within the city and in surrounding areas. Just in July, Christos FC, an amateur soccer club based from a liquor store in Glen Burnie, were tied with D.C. United (Major League Soccer) until the 81st minute of the U.S. Open Cup.
That badge of honor for Baltimore soccer fans could continue with FC Baltimore, a semi-professional team participating in the National Premier Soccer League. The NPSL is in the fourth-tier of the United States’ soccer hierarchy, below Major League Soccer, the North American Soccer League and the United Soccer League. There are 95 teams in the NPSL.
“It’s exciting news that the NPSL is coming to Baltimore,” NPSL Chairman Joe Barone said of the team in Baltimore, in December. “FC Baltimore is bringing a tremendous organization to the city and I know soccer supporters in the region will be thrilled by this news.”
Baltimore will participate in the Mid-Atlantic Division, which includes Charlottesville Alliance FC, FC Frederick, Legacy 76 (based in Williamsburg, VA), Northern Virginia United FC (based in Leesburg, VA) and Virginia Beach City FC. Among the leaders of the program are Project Manager Joe Shargorodsky, Director of Soccer Operations Alex Lubyansky, Director of Community Relations/Goalkeeping Coach William Vanzela (Baltimore Blast goalkeeper), Chief Financial Officer Paul Zlotolow, and Director of Digital Media and Branding Gary Pyatigorsky.
Last but not least, FC Baltimore Head Coach Brandon Quaranta will lead the team onto the pitch during the upcoming season. Before taking the helm of FC Baltimore, he was the head coach of McDonough School in Owings Mills, MD, where he won a state championship in 2015.
“I appreciate the opportunity FC Baltimore has given me and look forward to the challenge of building the club,” Quaranta said, when accepting the position. “Baltimore has always had a rich soccer tradition and produced tons of talent at every level including top college programs from across the nation. We look forward to providing a high-level club option for all these top NCAA players as they look to continue their development of the summer period.”
Before starting the season, Quaranta must select his squad. The team held opening tryouts on Sunday, January 21. Only time will tell who is selected.