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Young, hungry and homegrown Hotspurs set to make NPSL debut vs Erie Commodores

Young, hungry and homegrown Hotspurs set to make NPSL debut vs Erie Commodores

With a mix of current college players, almost entirely from the Pittsburgh area and some recent professionals, the Pittsburgh Hotspurs have quickly assembled its roster for its first-ever season in the National Premier Soccer League.

They won’t have to wait any longer to into real, live game action. The Hotspurs will play its inaugural game on Saturday against the NPSL Midwest Region East Conference reigning champions, Erie Commodores, on Saturday at Edinboro University (7 p.m. kickoff).

Gearing up for first season in NPSL, Hotspurs sign former Riverhounds Kolarac and Broome

MOSTLY HOMEGROWN ROSTER COMES TOGETHER

The Hotspurs initially announced the signing of two former Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC players, Nick Kolarac and Keasel Broome, but have since built a roster that includes numerous young players from the Pittsburgh area.

This is a group that’s young, hungry and almost entirely homegrown.

Among the crop of younger Greater Pittsburgh-area talent added to the squad includes former Norwin High School and Riverhounds Development Academy product Anthony Harding.

Harding, who is from North Huntingdon, suffered a broken foot in his first game of his senior year at Norwin and took a redshirt in his freshmen year at the University of Pittsburgh.

It’s been a tough road for Harding to come back from injury, but he’s pushed forward, persevered, and is now excited about this opportunity that lies ahead for him with the Spurs.  For Harding, it’s a chance continue playing during the off season at the high level possible — against competition in U.S. Soccer’s Fourth Division — and for another hometown club where he’s training with a lot of guys he grew up playing with and against.

“There are a bunch of us that have been together before, and we all know each other,” Harding said. “From the beginning, I wanted to be a big part of it. And I am representing Pittsburgh, and I can’t be slacking.

For more with Harding, don’t miss the latest edition of the Pittsburgh Soccer Show on Pittsburgh Sports Live 

 

Head Coach Tom Campbell wants his club to play aggressively, but also be a strong possession team that will be able to build up play out of the back.

One of those players he’ll be counting on, on the left side, will be Harding, who’s played a lot of left outside back, and also as a winger.

Among the crop of local current players joining Harding include his long-time pal, Luke Mort, who also committed to Pitt last Fall, and they’ve been training together all spring, as Mort graduated early from Greensburg Central Catholic to join Jay Vidovich‘s program this past Spring season.

“With a lot of these guys, we’ve been more than just teammates. We’ve been at each other’s house growing up. Seeing them, and getting to play with them in the past week has been a good feeling,” Harding said.

Harding and Mort look at having played a lot of minutes in the spring season at Pitt, and now playing with the Hotspurs, as ways they can continue to develop and reach higher ceilings as players.

“Luke brings speed, and he’s not afraid to go at someone,” Harding spoke of his teammate at both Pitt and with the Spurs. “Playing with the Hotspurs this Summer is going to help the both of us for when we go back to Pitt. So far, he’s been playing a lot of (left) wing, and I’ve been playing left back, and we have to just hold down that left side. It will help us with endurance, getting touches — and so when we go back to Pitt, we’ll be ready.”

Even with veterans Kolarac, Broome, along with Lamine Balde (Fort Pitt Regiment/Bethany), Max Flick (Fort Pitt Regiment/Point Park) and Noah Mehta (Fort Pitt Regiment/Duquesne), the HotSpurs are really committed to building a strong homegrown roster.  (See bottom of the page for the full roster as it currently exists).

“We’ve got guys that are 29 (Balde), and we have guys that are younger than me,” Harding said. “It’s all over the place. We just got to come together and be one,”

On the flip side, a former veteran pro Kolarac is equally committed to helping build the Hotppurs as a strong NPSL entity.

“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.”

And now, Kolarac, will serve as a mentor of sorts as part of a club that also includes numerous current college players like Harding, Mort and many others, but also to youth players that are part of the Hotspurs organization have been invited to train with the Men’s First Team. Majority of them are the birth year 2004.

“The experience to train at a higher level, and even compete for a spot, is a large part of the homegrown opportunity we want to provide our area youth to further their development,” Marikaye DeTemple, Hotspurs Marketing and Operations Director, said.

COLLIDING WITH COMMODORES IN EDINBORO

The Hotspurs will be in for a tough test right off the bat on Saturday, as they’ll take on a Commodores squad that has the benefit of having already played a U.S. Open Cup match (a 2-1 loss to Dayton Dutch Lions) and one league match (a 2-0 win at Syracuse FC).

With the Annual Erie Premier Sports Memorial Day soccer tournament being held all weekend at Edinboro, the match will be the showcase game of the weekend with a captured audience. DeTemple said that they’ve already sold 600 tickets for the match, as she added the Hotspurs organization is fielding numerous teams in the tournament.

Dayton Dutch Lions blow past Erie Commodores, 2-1, to advance in Open Cup

While technically, the match vs Erie at Edinboro is a home match, the Hotspurs will play all of its home games at Ellis School’s field in Shadyside.

They play its first game at Ellis on Friday, June 7, against Cleveland.

For the Hotspurs complete schedule and more information about the club, you can visit their website here.  For in-game updates for the opening game at Edinboro, you can follow Hotspurs twitter updates (@HotspursClub).

PITTSBURGH HOTSPURS ROSTER

(players in italics are currently training with club, but still in process of officially being rostered) 

First Name Last Name Number Hometown Previously Played At…
Keasel Broome 1 – GK Claymont, DE Providence College
Matthew Cillo 2 McDonald, PA Robert Morris University
Max Flick 3 Beaver Falls, PA Point Park University
Mikel Ubeda 4 Sopelana, Spain Bethany College
Andrew Mastovich 5 Murrysville, PA Penn State Behrend
Ethan Hackenberg 6 Cranberry Township, PA Cleveland Internationals
Lamine Balde 7 Guinea, Fria Bethany College
Nick Kolarac 8 Imperial, PA Saint Francis University
Kevin Stoffle 9 Vienna, Austria Bluefield College
Lucas Godinho 10 Sao Paulo, Brazil Point Park University
Luke Mort 11 Greensburg, PA University of Pittsburgh
Peter Mattocks 12 Saegertown, PA Westminster College
Jeremy Lucas 13 – GK Murrysville, PA Penn State New Kensington
Anthony Harding 15 North Huntingdon, PA University of Pittsburgh
Tate Mohney 16 Butler, PA Elizabethtown College
Sean Abraham 17 Oakmont, PA Penn State Behrend
Noah Mehta 18 Mississauga, Ontario Duquesne University
Matthew Rytel 19 PIttsburgh, PA  Brown University 
Mohammedi Alkhateeb 20 Pittsburgh, PA Riverhounds
Patrick Hoffman 21 – GK St. Mary’s, PA Misericordia University
Auston Kranick 22 Murrysville, PA Oakland University
Marcus Gurgiolo 23 Edinburg, PA Westminster College
Marc Alexander 24 Pittsburgh, PA University of Hartford
Gabe Norris 26 Natrona Heights, PA Riverhounds
Austin Rocke 27 Mars, PA Riverhounds
Lucas Alese 28 New Bethlehem, PA Hotspurs
Nate Rondinelli 29 Karns City, PA Hotspurs
Sam Farner 30 Pittsburgh, PA Riverhounds
Michael Weleski 31 Pittsburgh, PA Hotspurs
Gabriel Viszlay 32 Glenshaw, PA Hotspurs
Luke Kolankowski 33 Plum, PA Hotspurs
Keaton Jennings 34 – GK Cranberry Township, PA George Mason University
Ahmed Cisse Germantown, MD Westminster College

 

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John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets including Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the United States. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

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