After the Fort Pitt Regiment announced this winter that they would be ending a five-season run as the Pittsburgh area’s club in the National Premier Soccer League, suddenly league officials and other clubs in the region looked to find a replacement.
They didn’t have to wait that long.
“They contacted us to see if we’d be interested. It was such a good opportunity,” Tom Campbell, who has been appointed the coach of the Pittsburgh Hotspurs first NPSL squad in 2019, said. “We’re excited. We’ll see where this takes us, and I am sure there’s going to be a learning curve, but we’re gearing up for what should be a great first season.”
The Pittsburgh Hotspurs are looking to make a splash in their first season, announcing in recent weeks the signing a pair of former Riverhounds SC players Keasel Broome and Nick Kolarac.
The Hotspurs will be competing in the NPSL, one of two leagues that make up U.S. Soccer’s Fourth Division. All home games will be played at the Ellis School in Shadyside.
A native of Manchester, England, Campbell comes into this role as he’s been coaching with the Hotspurs since 2016. Prior to coaching with the Hotspurs organization, he was with Century United where he coached boys U14 and U16 squads from April 2013-November 2016.
Campbell holds a UEFA “B” license and is currently earning a degree in football coaching through the University of South Wales.
“We want to be competitive, and that’s why we’ve recruited guys like Nick and Keasel, who have experience,” Campbell said. “But we also want to stay true to our philosophy of youth development and provide playing opportunities for homegrown players that have aged out of our 18-and-under programs.”
With an emphasis on building a homegrown roster filled with a mix of current and recent college players, Campbell said they’ll be holding two open tryouts at Founders Field on Saturday, April 20, and another in early May. A core group from last year’s Fort Pitt Regiment squad will also likely be at the tryouts.
While Campbell said it’s probably too early to tell exactly how his team will play, he said that Hotspurs club philosophy is one of an aggressive style that’s also possession-based, as they do like to build up play from the back.
Of course, Campbell said he’ll assess things as they build the roster.
“If we have three speedy, dynamic forwards, that might change our approach,” Campbell said. “NPSL and our (Midwest) region, has some really good teams. Erie has a fantastic model. There’s a lot of quality in this league.”
VETERAN SIGNINGS PROVIDE EXPERIENCE & LEADERSHIP
The Hotspurs didn’t look too far to sign its first Pittsburgh born player — Nick Kolarac.
Kolarac most recently played with the Fort Pitt Regiment (NPSL) — serving as captain in the Regiment’s final 2018 season where he also earned NPSL All East Conference XI Midfield selection.
“We are excited to have Nick bring veteran leadership to the team in its inaugural season,” Campbell said after announcing the signing of Kolarac. “Through film footage and conversations, we know he will bring immediate value to the squad in both leadership and his style of play.”
Kolarac played his college ball at Saint Francis University (NCAA D-I), and with both IMG Academy Bradenton (USL2) and the Michigan Bucks (USL2) before entering the American Soccer League with the Philadelphia Fury.
In 2015 he returned to Pittsburgh signing with the Riverhounds (USL).
He also has played with the St. Louis Ambush of the MASL.
“I want to be a part of building the game in Pittsburgh — which is why the Pittsburgh Hotspurs were a great draw for me,” said Kolarac. “Having grown up and learned the game in Pittsburgh, keeping my soccer career here is exactly where I want to be.
Campbell added, “From the first conversation with Nick, it was very apparent the passion and dedication he has to the sport and this community. And being a Pittsburgh grown player, well, he fully embodies the type of squad we’re putting together.”
In addition, the Hotspurs have added a proven veteran keeper in Broome, who’s played professionally with the Riverhounds, NY Cosmos and Harrisburg City Islanders and still represents Barbados’ National Team .
“When the team was announced, I knew it was a great opportunity for me to continue playing at a competitive level while staying close to home,” said Broome.
Originally from Delaware, Broome has called the Pittsburgh-area home since November.
“Adding Keasel to the squad was a no brainer,” Campbell said. ”His shot-stopping ability is excellent and he possesses a great range with his distribution. When you add this to his impressive resumé, wealth of experience and character, it’s a huge signing for us.”
During his collegiate career at Providence College where he helped lead the team to its first Big East title in school history, Broome competed with the Ocean City Nor’easters, Reading United, and the Real Boston Rams of the USL’s Premier Development League.
In 2015, the San Jose Earthquakes selected Broome in the third round of the MLS SuperDraft but were not able to reach a signing agreement. In the same year,
Broome made his international debut recording two shutouts for Barbados in two World Cup qualifiers.
After a year with the Harrisburg City Islanders (USL), in 2017 Broome made his way to Pittsburgh signing with the Riverhounds (USL), appearing in 6 games in the ‘17/18 season.
“We just had a national qualifier match against Nicaragua [in March], and have our next match in September,” Broome said. ”So continuing to get touches on the ball in a fresh environment, being able to direct traffic and be involved in orchestrating the play…playing with the Hotspurs is a perfect fit.”
MORE ON THE HOTSPURS
The Pittsburgh Hotspurs began in Sewickley, PA in 1985. They were one of the founding members of the PA West Classic League. Through the early 2000s, the club restructured to form a true club culture and become a consistent program at all age levels in the Pittsburgh area.
The Pittsburgh Hotspurs are led by
Club Director Tom Ovenden, Head Coach Tom Campbell, and Marketing & Operations Director Marikaye DeTemple.
The club’s first-ever game is May 25th against the Erie Commodores at Edinboro University (7 p.m.). Click here for the club’s full 2019 schedule.
Pittsburgh Soccer Now will provide more coverage as they announce its roster after tryouts are complete, and the season is about to kickoff.