FC Baltimore to begin inaugural season in NPSL

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.

Lights, layers, caution: Tips for winter bike riding

By Laura Melamed



“I always have my lights,” says UB student Scott Thomsen. A senior at UB, Thomsen has been bicycle riding for transportation since he was 8 years old.

Thomsen started out by biking to swim lessons with his twin brother. The next summer, the twins biked to the pool again, this time for the swim team.

Now, an experienced year-round cyclist, Thomsen has several suggestions for biking in snow and rain.

“Not much weather stops me,” Thomsen says. He makes an excep- tion for lightning. Usually extremely punctual, he will be late to wait out a thunderstorm.

No matter what the season, Thomsen always has his lights. “You never know when you’re going to get stuck somewhere after dark,” he says.

“Since it gets dark early in winter, it’s best to be prepared.”

Thomsen is prepared with a Cygolite Hotshot, a red light he puts on the back of his bike. For the front of his bicycle, Thomsen uses a Cygolite 450 as a headlight. Both lights are water resistant. “I’ve been in pretty torrential downpours,” Thomsen says, “and I’ve had no issues with these lights.”

Thomsen will even use his lights during the day, if it’s raining. Setting them to flash in order to be more visible.



“You should strive to wear reflective clothing,” says Thomsen. “Something that says ‘don’t touch me—I’m poisonous.’

“Layering is important in winter, Thomsen says. He wears a baklava, long underwear and thick gloves.

“I will always wear layers that have zippers on them,” he adds. When he gets to the top of a hill, he usually takes one layer off.

“You have one base layer that stops your bones from being chilled to the core,” Thomsen says. “As long as you have that base layer on, you’ll warm up faster than you’ll cool down.”

Wilderness experts advise staying away from cotton when you’re looking for a winter base layer. Cotton retains moisture and even a small amount of sweating will make you colder.

Polyester makes a better base layer, because of its moisture wicking technology. Any polyester shirt, leggings or long underwear will preform better than cotton. Read labels in your closet or peruse a local thrift store.

DIY layering is low cost and can be effective with the right materials, especially for trips around the city. For recommendations on base layers designed specifically for bicycling, visit your local bike shop or REI.


“Another way you can take control of your body temperature is by controlling the speed of your ride,’” Thomsen says. If he’s hot, he’ll go slower.

Thomsen also rides more slowly if it’s snowing. He proceeds with caution during freezing rain, as well. He always tries to be especially careful when it’s raining and the temperature is 32 degrees Fahrenheit–or below.


“I typically run my tires at 80 percent of the recommended [tire pressure] in cold weather because you never know if there’s going to be ice,” Thomsen says. “Salt reduces traction, too.”

“Sometimes the salt is worse than the ice,” he adds.

Although studded tires are available for winter riding, Thomsen doesn’t use them in Baltimore. “In New York I’d buy studded tires,” he says, but there’s not enough snow in Charm City to make it worthwhile.


“The main enemy is salt,” says Thomsen. “I always wipe down my bike in winter. Every single time I bring it home.” He wipes down all the parts he can see. He also lightly wipes down his chain and puts a little bit of oil on it.

Why bike?

“I’m free of car payments,” says Thomsen, who also likes being independent of his parents with regard to transportation.

Thomsen had his bike every single day he was on campus last semester. “Anywhere I need to go I use my

bike as my main source of transportation, whether it be to school at UB or certification class on Pratt Street.”

Thomsen also rides his bike to work, to run errands and get groceries.

Want to bike?

Visit Baltimore Bicycle Works for bikes, advice and gear. The shop is located two blocks from the UB campus at 1813 Falls Road.

Want to bike with friends? Join the UB Bicycling Club! Have a safe and happy winter!

Photo courtesy of Laura Melamed

Trump’s Short Sighted Tax Bill: Don’t Be Fooled

By Bryonna Jay


I thought we all agreed that trickle down economics do not work? Which is why I’m weary of the additions in President Trump’s tax plan that will make the richest richer and leave us with the scraps.

This bill permeants tax cuts for corporations and will lower deductions for state, local and property taxes. Trump ran on a campaign that villainized former Secretary of State Clinton and former President Obama for hanging out in the notorious “swamp” filled with corporations and corrupt politicians that were out to further disenfranchise the work- ing and middle classes. But it appears that Trump’s base has caught a case of amnesia because what’s also in- cluded in this bill will “give $2,000 to families” this tax season, which Trump insistently repeats. Don’t get me wrong. I am a broke graduate student, so any extra money is great and could mean the difference of if I have to wait a few months to have enough to get some cavities filled or if I can do it sooner.

However, the changes to the tax plan feels like a really expensive sedative to try to make Americans forget that they are being prodded from behind. After 2025, the deductions that will primarily benefit the middle class, will go away and there will be a significant decrease in yearly income after taxes. What’s more is that this bill will add $1.4 trillion to the national debt. Who is the bill collector that calls the White House? Because $1.4 trillion seems like a criminal amount of money to owe.

In a perfect world, this tax cut for corporations could be a good thing; big business could create more jobs, give employees better wages and benefits, and invest more into communities. However, this is America; there is no ceiling on how much money anyone or any entity could acquire. Regardless of what the 99% or even the government is lacking in resources; such as universal health care, globally competitive public education, or changing infrastruc- ture to help keep our world from shriveling up because of, you know, climate change.

This is not a drill

by Liz McMahon

Staff Writer

On Saturday, January 13, an emergency alert went out to cellphones all over Hawaii reading “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”

Anxiety and stress for residents and tourists ensued. Thirty-eight long minutes later, the message was revoked.

Among the recipients of the false alarm was actor Jim Carrey. Later that day, he addressed the incident on Twitter: “I woke up this morning in Hawaii with ten minutes to live. It was a false alarm, but a real psychic warning. If we allow his one-man Gomorrah and his corrupt Republican congress to continue alienating the world we are headed for suffering beyond all imagination.”

Indeed, the alert was sent amidst a time of high tension between North Korea and the United States. It seems a modern Cold War is brewing between the two countries, but this time, with social media and smart phones at the helm.

President Donald Trump took to Twitter just 11 days before the Hawaiian panic: “North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.’ Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”

Trump’s aggressive statement was a response to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s statement, saying “The entire mainland of the US is within the range of our nuclear weapons and the nuclear button is always on the desk of my office. They should accurately be aware that this is not a threat but a reality.”

The emergency alert was sent out by accident. During a shift-change drill, Richard Rapoza of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency told The New York Times, an employee “clicked the wrong thing on the computer.”

Americans are becoming more informed about nuclear war and its possible effects, especially with all the “button” talk. NuclearSecrecy.com/ nukemap, a website created in 2013 by nuclear weapons expert and historian

Alex Wellerstein, illustrates the dam- age a nuclear attack would cause in any specific area of the world, including how large the radius of nuclear fallout would be. Over 99 million “virtual detonations” have been created by users on NUKEMAP, says patch.com.

If a nuclear strike were to hit Baltimore, the local government’s suggestions for our safety remain consistent with every other major city: find shelter, preferably underground; stay indoors; seal all doors, windows, and vents; and wait for further instruction from emergency workers. Keep canned food and water on hand just in case.

Let’s hope for no more alarms. False, or otherwise.

Harvey Weinstein and Beyond

By David A. Chiodaroli


Why men victimize those beneath them and how we can do better

New Years is a time for reflection, both on the memories of the previous year and what we can do to improve ourselves for what’s ahead. Looking back on 2017, there were a number of instances that forced us to confront disturbing facts about society, one of which started with a New York Times article about Harvey Weinstein’s decades of sexual misconduct against the women who worked for him. The resulting aftermath of revelations and tell all’s forever tarnished the reputation of some of our most beloved public figures, from actors to news casters and even politicians. The ugliness that insured painted a grim picture of both the entertainment industry and the professional world as a whole, one where the carnal desires of the rich and powerful held more credence than the liveli- hood of low level staffers.

Amid the accusations and admissions of guilt, one question prevailed above others: why? Why do men of authority feel the need to force themselves on those below them? Some say power, plain and simple, is to blame for such depravity. But while power certainly has a lot to do with it, there are other factors at play that make men at the top prey on the weak.

By the time we reach puberty, we men are told throughout our lives that if we like a girl we should go out and get her. The elder men in our lives tell us of their high school flings, and ‘the ones that got away,’ inadvertently teaching us that women and girls are objects of desire, rather than human beings. Of course, we eventually learn that the reality of courtship is much more complicated than going out and finding the love of your life. Finding a partner, whether they be of the opposite or same sex, is not as easy as going to the supermarket and buying a jug of milk. As we grow older and the strains of puberty begin to subside, we realize that the apples of our eyes are people too, with wants, needs, and feelings just like us. However, even though we may come to this realization, it may take some of us a few hints to realize that the ‘one that got away’ probably didn’t like us to begin with.

Every man, myself included, has screwed up in how we approach a potential love interest. We’ve asked out people who’ve never liked us, we miss obvious clues, and we try and try again to prove to our crushes that we are the ones for them. Whether by ignorance, inexperience, or denial, we make these mistakes, get our hearts broken, and cry about it while listening to Morrissey, or some other good band to sulk to. It’s a cycle that repeats itself time and time again, from our teenage years all the way up to adulthood.

But what sets us apart from those who commit crimes of passion is that we learn to move on. It may take us a while, but eventually we learn to put the tissue box down and just try to forget about it. But to all the Weinsteins and Kevin Spacys in the world, this isn’t the case. When they see someone they want, they’re going to get them. They don’t need to move on because they believe that no one can refuse them. If you live and work in a world where you’re constantly surrounded by yes men, you’re not going to take no for an answer. You will sleep with that woman (or man) that you want to bed, no objections. You will expose yourself to the focus of your desire, and they will do the lurid, filthy things that float around in your mind. Whether it’s because of upbringing, power or a mental defect, some men will always find a way to dominate those who arouse them. It’s the same reason why stalkers and rapists exist, because these individuals refuse to let go. Add power and influence, and you’ve got all the makings of a high-profile predator.

So what can men learn from this situation? How can we do better, both in 2018 and beyond? Simply put, we need to hold ourselves to a higher standard. The old adage ‘boys will be boys’ should only apply to children, because eventually boys will be expected to grow up and act like responsible human beings. We need to remember that, while lust and sexual desire are natural emotions, created by our brain to make more of us, we should not let them override our sense of judgment, morals, and common decency. If we do, we are no greater than the beasts of the earth that we hunt, slaughter, and domesticate. In addition to our primal needs for food, sex, and sleep, we are also capable of complex emotions, of love, compassion, and empathy.

So for 2018, make a promise to yourself to try and show more empathy to the ones you care about, because you are more than just a hairless ape. You are a human, who can give so much to so many people, and no matter how much you can do, a little empathy here and there can make this crazy world just a little bit saner.

Not Much Changes For Students Under New Tax Bill

Stand by for change…

by Liz McMahon

Staff Writer

In December 2017, Congress passed the GOP’s latest tax bill. The Republican Party faced major deliberation in creating a bill that would successfully pass through both Senate and Congress.

If you’re anything like the average American, the jargon of governmental tax procedure creates more internal chaos than clarity. However, underneath the sensational headlines, the drama between House majority leaders, and the financial terms only Merriam-Webster really knows, are policies that will eventually affect our day-to-days as both tax-paying citizens and students in a higher education institution.

The good news? Students at the University of Baltimore, both undergraduate and graduate, will retain most of the tax benefits that we already have.

Among student tax policies are student loan interest deductions, in which we receive an income tax deduction for any interest paid in public or private higher education student loans. Essentially, any monthly interest paid to our student loan provider is deducted from our income tax. This policy will stay in effect.

Another topic of heated debate, and recent nationwide student protest, were graduate student tuition waivers. Republicans were initially planning on nixing this benefit, meaning that graduate students receiving tuition waivers from universities, whether merit-based, fellowships, or military benefits, would actually have to pay taxes on that tuition. The “waived” tuition would be taxed as if it were personal income. This would have created major financial despair for graduate students receiving tuition waivers.

Concerned graduate students around the country protested this threat. University of Maryland Women’s Studies Ph.D. student Nat Baldino was among the students to rise up. He aired his grievances, to which many members of higher ed- ucation can relate, to NPR, saying “There’s a misconception that grad school and academia in general is this sort of lofty enterprise.”

“We already don’t get paid a livable wage — and as someone who is a first-generation college student, I already came into graduate school with tens of thousands of dollars of debt from undergrad,” Baldino shared. “If this bill were to pass … I don’t know how I would live.”

According to NPR, “about 145,000 grad students received a tuition reduction in 2011-12.” The taxation on those waivers would have created major financial trouble for the graduate students involved.

For now, though, students in higher education trudge on without taking any hits from the tax plan.

Our next challenge will be the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, set to take place this year. This one will be worth watching, and perhaps joining the fight, too. On the line are student loan forgiveness programs which many government and non-profit employees depend on.

We’ll have to stay tuned.