Nicholas Spooner, Staff Writer
Utica now has its very own professional soccer club.
They are Utica City FC, and they are off to a smashing 2-0 start in their inaugural season.
Utica City FC is part of the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL). They play on a rough carpeted surface inside what most people will recognize as the walls that surround the hockey rink housed inside the Adirondack Bank Center in Utica.
People may not recognize the club because they were previously known as the Syracuse Silver Knights. The Silver Knights left the MASL after the 2013-2014 season, then, on June 13, the club returned and partnered with the Utica Comets.
The club moved to Utica and renamed themselves Utica City FC and now play at the Adirondack Bank Center.
Utica started off their first season with back to back victories over the Harrisburg Heat and Baltimore Blast.
These wins put Utica in first place of the MASL’s eastern division. With goals coming from 10 different players, the two top scores for the club are forwards Joey Tavernese and Slavisa Ubiparipovic, who have three goals each.
At Utica College, Utica City’s fan base is growing.
Many people from the community went out to witness the club play their opening home game against the Baltimore Blast.
“I am very interested in the club,” said senior Andrew Ruyack. “I can’t wait to see what they accomplish this season and in future seasons. Having a professional indoor soccer club in Utica could bring in people that love soccer as well as prospective athletes for the club.”
Freshman LJ Nuzzo is a long time fan of the club from when they were the Silver Knights. He believes that this sport and the club are something fascinating.
“The sport isn’t like regular soccer, it is caged in a small carpeted field,” Nuzzo said. “The game is much more fast-paced and exciting, I’d almost compare the atmosphere to hockey.”
With an energetic atmosphere, indoor soccer could create entertainment that everyone can enjoy.
“Even if someone has never watched soccer before, it is an amazing experience to watch,” Nuzzo said. “Everything moves so fast and there’s never a dull moment.”
With the funding Utica City now receives from their partners, the availability of viewing the matches and the ability of the team, Nuzzo said that this is just the start for the returning club.
“To go see a game is so easy, the tickets are very cheap, the location of the arena is in Central New York, and with soccer being a rising sport in the United States, there’s no doubt of growth in everything,” Nuzzo said. “Growth in players, staff, fan base and overall popularity for Utica FC and the sport.”
This is the clubs badge or crest