PDL First Team Opens vs. Ocean City
A new direction for the PDL first team in Brooklyn has led to a roster turnover for newly appointed head coach Ferdinando de Matthaeis. FA Euro New York debuts with their new look, new head coach, and new home on Mother's Day Sunday against Ocean City Nor'Easters at 6:30pm at Aviator Sports and Entertainment Center.
The match begins a new tenure at Aviator Sports and Entertainment Center after four seasons at Belson Stadium on the campus St. John's University in Queens, NY. Executive Director Marco Balsamo spoke to I-95 Sports Network in March about their move, "I think playing closer to home gives everyone a better opportunity to come and support the first team. We are excited to return back to Brooklyn and we hope to get a positive turnout."
The PDL first team welcomes in the Ocean City Nor'Easters for their home opener on Sunday will be the first time newcomers to the development league will get a taste of what it is like to play against both collegiate and non collegiate players. NYIT Bears defender Ajejandro del Cura spoke to faeuro.com and I-95 Sports Network about the upcoming matchup versus Ocean City in his PDL debut. "I know it is a team that we lost twice to last year, so we definitely want to change that tomorrow," he said. We want to give them a good fight and hopefully start the season with a win."
In addition to del Cura, LIU Brooklyn's Naeem Charles has been signed to the club, along with LIU Post's Khalid Al-Saud.
Last season, the Ocean City Nor'Easters came to Belson Stadium in Queens for the teams' home opener and won 1-0. The lone goal was scored by Ocean City's Francisco Neto, while keeper Jimmy Slayton came away with a clean sheet. The game didn't end without drama with former head coach Joe Balsamo and Adam Marcu were both issued red cards stemming from a disagreement with the officials in extra time. They were subsequently suspended for the next matchup at Reading United.
In the second meeting between the two clubs in South Jersey, Ocean City came away with the victory 1-0 at Carey Stadium also known as the "Beach House." Max Hemming was the lone goal scorer in that contest on a steamy June evening.
Sunday will mark the second time in the history of the PDL team that Club President Joe Balsamo will not be at the head coach. "To be honest, it's a little strange to not be coaching this year. Not having to coach makes it a lot less stressful. I met Ferdi [de Matthaeis] when I was 18 years old. We played together for many years. There is no one I trust more to run the PDL team than him."
Enter Ferdinando de Matthaeis.
Set to make his debut on Sunday versus Ocean City, de Matthaeis has one thing on his mind: winning. "It's all a matter of mentality," coach explained. "The core of the team is still the same. We added some quality players, but we must change this trend around with a better winning mentality. We all have goals. Players want to make it into the higher leagues. The club wants to make a statement and personally it's a great return to the metropolitan area for me, where I basically grew up."
East Coast Conference All Region selection and LIU Post Pioneer keeper Oliver Foss Hansen has also been signed for the club. Hansen led his team to a 15-1-2 record along with a whopping 0.88 goals against average. "I've never had the pleasure of playing Ocean City yet, but they have a great reputation in the PDL as a team that always competes for a playoff spot, and them beating Ann Arbor in the [U.S.] Open Cup the other day, shows that they have a strong side," said Hansen.
Hearing about success is great, but head coach de Matthaeis wants to see the results on his field. "We picked up a couple of good goalkeepers [Hansen, Dabrowski and Danso], but I think we must defend with 11 players and everybody should be accountable on defending and attacking," said coach Matthaeis.
The PDL first team has brought back a majority of their core, led by defenders Johan Mauritzon and Nico Anderson, two of Hansen's LIU Post teammates. Siena College product Conor McGlynn and St. Francis Terrier Leo Folla are some of the other players that have been retained.
Sunday's game can be viewed on i95sportsnetwork.com and on our YouTube LIVE at 6:15pm. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter @faeuro to stay up to date with everything PDL.