Kingston Stockade FC this week announced its inaugural schedule, a 16-date slate that includes eight home matches at Dietz Stadium. Though the club’s season begins on the road, their home opener is effectively a double-header, with games on May 21 and 22.
Stockade FC officially opens for business in the Northeast Region of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) with an away match against Greater Lowell United FC at Cawley Stadium in Lowell, Mass. on Sunday, May 8. Their next stop is at the LIU Brooklyn Athletic Complex where they’ll take on the Brooklyn Italians on Friday, May 13.
The club’s first home game will see Stockade FC host Rhode Island Reds FC on Saturday, May 21 at 2 p.m., with Greater Lowell United FC in town for a rematch on Sunday, May 22 at 4 p.m.
Other home games at Dietz include visits from the New York Athletic Club (Sunday, May 29), Boston City FC (Sunday, June 5), the New York Cosmos B (Saturday, June 18), the Seacoast United Phantoms (Saturday, June 25), the Brooklyn Italians (Sunday, June 26), and the Seacoast United Mariners (Sunday, July 3.)
In addition to their two season opening games, Stockade FC is on the road against the Rhode Island Reds (Friday, June 3), the Seacoast United Mariners (Saturday, June 22), the Seacoast United Phantoms (Sunday, June 12), Boston City FC (Wednesday, June 22), New York Athletic Club (Saturday, July 9), and their regular season finale against the New York Cosmos B at the David Mack Sports Complex in Hempstead (Sunday, July 10.)
But if May seems like a long way off, Stockade FC is also planning a trio of friendly matches, two of which will be held at Dietz Stadium. On Wednesday, April 6 at 8 p.m., Coach George Vizvary will run his first friendly at the helm when Albany FC comes to Dietz. Stockade FC will return the favor when they head north for a friendly against Albany FC on Wednesday, April 13. And on Saturday, April 16, Kew Forest FC from Queens will visit Dietz for a friendly at 7 p.m.
Stockade FC’s CEO Dennis Crowley said it’s likely that the uniforms won’t be ready and the roster won’t be completely set by the first friendly, which he described as more of an “open training session.” The public is invited to both, he added, though he hopes the turnout will be even better when Kew Forest comes to town.
Team owners and coaches are inching closer and closer to announcing their inaugural roster following a closed tryout last week that saw prospective players from the open session come together with invitees. In a matter of days, the number dwindled from around 45 to 33. By mid to late April, Crowley said, they expect hit their target of 26. The final cuts will likely come during a series of open training practice sessions, during which coaches will evaluate what they see on the pitch, and how well the pieces fit together. According to Crowley, Thursday’s final closed tryout saw a group of six or seven from earlier tryouts make their presence known.
“It was noticeably different when that crew came on the field, because they had already played together a few times, they were already connecting with each other,” Crowley said. “They were already gelling a little bit. There was noticeably a higher energy and it was fun to watch. That’s the core of the team, and we’re just finding people that they’re going to add on to that.”
It was part of a general atmosphere, Crowley said, that bodes well for the first year of Stockade FC soccer.
“Of all the tryouts, [Thursday’s] was probably the most exciting one to sit on the sidelines and watch,” Crowley said. “There was a lot of hooting and hollering on the sidelines, which is a fun environment. I think it was people seeing players that they hadn’t seen play for the first time, and they’re playing at a high level. It’s mutual respect.”
Last week, Coach Vizvary said that the club will expect a lot from its players.
“The ball is rolling and the decision making is increasing,” he said. “The time is coming when we will say, ‘Now you have to stand up.’ Anything could happen. They could have an injury, they could have a work date and could not be able to practice, and I take it very seriously this issue. If you don’t practice, you don’t play, and if you don’t practice or play there is no reason for us to have you. So then comes the word, ‘Next.’”
Crowley said that part of the rationale behind a roster of around 26 players is dealing with the realities of soccer at the NPSL level.
“We’re aware of the status of the league and the players,” he said. “This is not their full-time job. The players aren’t getting paid for the first season. This is them wanting to play and wanting to be a part of the team. There’s definitely going to be some conflicts for some players. I think we’re realistic that not every player is going to make every game, but you’ve got to show effort.”
For complete schedule information, visit: www.stockadefc.com/schedule.