Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Friday News Roundup, NIU Preview

Gooood Friday morning all, drudgeons here with a roundup of the week’s FMFC news and a short preview of this afternoon’s friendly vs NIU. I won’t be at the game unfortunately (day job and whatnot), but it’s bound to be an interesting one. This weekend marks the first ~60F weather forecast, which means before we know it the 2022 season will be upon us.

Signings

The club announced the signing of Drew Conner on Tuesday, signaling the midfielder’s return to play in Madison for the first time since 2015. Conner, a former UW Badger, was ranked 17th best in the Big 10 his senior collegiate season and in high school was ranked the No. 1 player in the Midwest and No. 30 in the U.S. by Top Drawer Soccer. Reading through his bio, he’s a player who showed a lot of potential as a Chicago Fire academy prospect but has yet to find his niche in the American soccer landscape. Given his pedigree (having played at a high level in college and then the MLS for the Fire, USL Championship for Indy Eleven) the hope is he can kick on and contribute to a serious title push this season. He’ll be surrounded by quality in the midfield (Cassini and Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu look quite dangerous thus far) and time will tell if Glaeser can unlock the same fire in the belly Conner showed at UW, Chicago, and Indy.

One of the purest sporting moments you’ll watch today; Drew Conner scoring the winning PK in the 2010 USSF U15/16 Developmental Academy National Championship game

The USOC and Selection Headaches

Forbes published an article this week outlining the financial impact of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup on lower division clubs, notably mentioning fixture congestion and roster headaches. All USL League One, NISA and MLS Next clubs enter the tournament in the second round, meaning many will play their cup games the first week of April, in between their first and second league games. Hardly a new convention when it comes to cup football, as many clubs overseas deal with a busy schedule around cup games every season. The difference in the US is travel time (2-3x the longest trip an English side will travel for FA Cup matches), and many teams in the lower leagues will still be filling out their roster and working to find their best XI. With 3 games in a week’s time, managers won’t have a choice but to rotate squads. FMFC owner and COO Conor Caloia pointed out this selection challenge in the article.

“To go from simply the preseason to potentially playing three games in your first competitive week of the season, it’s a challenge. Playing three games in a week can give us a chance to get most of our roster a chance to get in and play and see what they can do in live action. And we gotta make sure that when we open the season we have a roster deep enough to play three games in a week.”

-Conor Caloia

Caloia also bemoaned the short notice of travel for third round games, though was quick to commend the 2019 FMFC squad who shrugged off the logistical challenges, convincingly defeating El Paso 3-0 before being knocked out by STLFC. “Our guys acted like it was a World Cup match when on one week’s notice we had to fly to El Paso. I think our guys took three flights to get there and they were on two separate planes because travel accommodations, they’re on such short notice that you couldn’t even get everybody on the same plane.” Coach Matt Glaeser had some memorable moments in the USOC, and will likely be impressing that upon the team going into the April 6 second round game vs the winner of Cleveland SC and Chicago FC United.

NIU Preview

Audi Jepson is the man in the spotlight today as the team treks to Rockford to take on NIU in a preseason friendly. Many fans who made the trip out to Valley Fields last weekend were surprised to see a very Audi-looking player wearing the #16 shirt, and though some fans swore they talked to Audi’s parents on the touchline in Milwaukee, other pockets of the fanbase in attendance immediately jumped to the Occam’s razor deduction: human cloning. It’s fair to say Audi’s contribution in 2021 likely didn’t match up to expectations given his moving from STLFC, but his stats were very similar to that of Justin Sukow’s. Selfishly I hope we sign him because it would be a shame to not be able to riff on his new party animal alter ego (who definitely rolls a Camaro), but ultimately (and fortunately) we won’t sign players based on my ridiculous whims. Good luck to Audi and his hopes for a contract, I felt we saw glimpses of his quality last season.

Right then. I’m off to my Friday, make sure if you’re in Madison tomorrow you get out and enjoy the 60F temps before the rain falls. Maybe throw on the new Delvon Lamarr record while you’re at it. Have a fantastic weekend and here’s to hoping the boys have a good run-around and that nobody comes back with injuries.

Author

  • Andrew Schmidt

    Eclecticist, FMFC supporter, Flock co-founder, designer of things, and taker of photos. Writer, wrench, motorcyclist. Pro-intellectualist, anti-pedant. Drinker of coffee and greeter of dogs.

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