The Forest City Soccer Review

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Trio Returns to AFC Cleveland for 2013

PARMA, OH - January 12, 2013 - This week AFC Cleveland announced the return of three fan favorites: forward Vinny Bell, midfielder David Murrow, and defender Sean Sikich.

Bell was the team’s leading attacker in 2012 with 6 goals and 4 assists. His strength and speed paced the Royals’ offense, but his versatility allowed him to also play in the midfield and defense when needed. Bell, a Parma Heights native, was the only two-time NSCAA All-American in Case Western Reserve’s history. He was also a two-time UAA Most Valuable Player and a three-time first-team All-UAA selection.

Bell set school career records with 43 goals and 101 points and single-season records with 20 goals and 50 points. He holds a special place in the hearts of AFC Cleveland supporters as the first player to ever sign with the NPSL side.

Photo Credit: ISNSoccer.comMurrow, a Strongsville HS graduate, is a sophomore midfielder for the University of Cincinnati. A highly touted recruit, he started his collegiate career at the University of Akron before transferring to Cincinnati. He appeared in 14 matches for the Bobcats in 2012, growing into one of the program’s top prospects.

Sikich, a Youngstown native, started 20 games for the Bowling Green Falcons in 2012. He logged a total of 1,875 minutes on the backline and registered 1 assist while serving as the team’s top defender.

Sikich was a four-year letterwinner at Cardinal Mooney HS. He also started 4 games for BGSU in 2011 and made 1 appearance as a true freshman in 2010.

The trio helps ensure that a strong foundation of returning players will be there for AFC Cleveland in 2013.

Season Ends for AFC Cleveland

BROADVIEW HEIGHTS, OH - July 22, 2012 - AFC Cleveland's season ended with a 2-1 loss to the visiting Madison 56ers in the NPSL Midwest Championship.

Photo Credit: Pam Moody/ISNSoccer.comMadison's Carlos McCrary, who spent time with the University of North Carolina and Creighton University, scored both of Madison's goals. He was aggressive moving forward and caused problems for the unlucky AFC Cleveland Royals.

Cleveland had a slew of opportunities throughout the physical match, but only Strongsville native and Ohio State midfielder Michael Matlock scored a goal for AFC Cleveland. The Royals had shots bounce off the posts and crossbar, go wide right and left.

Lady Luck wasn't a Cleveland fan Sunday afternoon, but the home team fought to the very last moment with the outcome not decided until the final whistle. The Madison 56ers now advance to the national championship tournament in San Diego.

It was a banner year for AFC Cleveland, who finished their first NPSL season with a flourish. They collected the Rust Belt Trophy and the Great Lakes Conference Championship during a season with great crowds, a large supporters' group in the 6th City Syndicate, and many community-oriented activities.

"At the start of the year if someone would have said we would win the conference, the supporters' trophy, and get to this game, you would take it," AFC Cleveland manager Andy Hoggarth stated.

Hoggarth admitted that losing the match was "a tough pill to swallow." But the progress made by this team has been simply amazing.

"I think it is really good for the area," AFC Cleveland and University of Akron striker Tommy Schmitt commented. "We sparked the fans' interest. We showed that Cleveland can be successful at soccer."

Event Photos

Cleveland Hosts NPSL Midwest Championships

LogoPARMA, OH - July 16, 2012 - AFC Cleveland's run in the NPSL playoffs continues Sunday (July 22) with a game versus the Madison 56ers at Brecksville/Broadview Heights HS.

Gates open at 12:45 pm with a 2:00 pm kickoff. The winner will clinch the Midwest Championship and a trip to the league championships in San Diego.

Cleveland defeated both Detroit City FC and the Erie Admirals to earn the right to host the championship match.

Tickets may be purchased online at www.shop-afccleveland.com, in person at the stadium box office, or by calling (440) 499-4225. Tickets are just $5 each with those 15 years and under free; parking is also free.

AFC Cleveland Now the King of the Great Lakes

ERIE, PA - July 15, 2012 - AFC Cleveland came up with their second playoff win of the weekend, beating the Erie Admirals 5-4 on penalty kicks.

The match between Erie and Cleveland was a hard fought battle, one that took 90 minutes plus extra time and a penalty shootout to get a result. Erie midfielder Steve Mahon put the Admirals up 1-0 early, a lead the home team held at halftime. A successful penalty kick by South African striker Dean Miller in the 79th minute put things even at 1-1. The score remained deadlocked after extra time, sending both teams to a penalty shootout.

Ohio State's Michael Matlock would convert the winning penalty kick, giving Cleveland the Great Lakes Championship.

"It's tremendous," AFC Cleveland manager Andy Hoggarth stated. "They've never felt out of a game. They just battle and battle."

Cleveland will host the Madison 56ers with the Midwest Championships and a trip to the league championships in San Diego on the line. The exact date, time, and location are to be announced.

"We'll play our game," Hoggarth added. "We've only lost 1 game all season. Let's keep it going!"

Royals and Admirals Finish with Draw

ERIE, PA - July 7, 2012 - English defender Ruairidh Winters scored AFC Cleveland's lone goal as they finished with a 1-1 draw against the Erie Admirals. This was the final game of the 2012 NPSL regular season for the Royals.

Ben Yabrow got the start in goal for Cleveland and finished with 6 saves. He faced a flurry of 14 shots from the Admirals.

AFC Cleveland (4W-7T-1L) now turns their attention to the Great Lakes playoffs. Based on tomorrow's results, Cleveland will face either Detroit City FC or Erie in the first round of the playoffs next Saturday.

Three More Points for AFC Cleveland

Photo Credit: Pam Moody/ISNSoccer.comBROADVIEW HEIGHTS, OH - July 6, 2012 - AFC Cleveland dominated FC Buffalo in their final home game of the 2012 NPSL season, sending the Blitzers home with a 3-0 defeat. 

The first half was rather pedestrian as both sides fought for control of the match.  The score at halftime was a rather uneventful 0-0. 

The second half was a different story and one that belonged to AFC Cleveland.  The goal scoring spree began with Ohio State’s Michael Matlock, who scored off a rebound to put the Royals up 1-0.

Vinny Bell made it 2-0 in the 62nd minute, scoring from 16 yards out on a shot that drilled the crossbar before dropping in.  University of Akron striker Tommy Schmitt had the goal of the night just three minutes later.  Schmitt found himself smothered by a defender and the onrushing Buffalo keeper, but calmly slotted a shot between the two at a very title angle.  This gave Cleveland the 3-0 lead. 

Lady Luck was no friend of FC Buffalo Friday night as they spent much of the second half a man down after landing a red card.  The heat slowed their attack and they experimented with 2 different keepers and got the same result.

Nearly 750 fans saw the 6th City Syndicate, the official supporters’ group of AFC Cleveland, present the team with the Rust Belt Trophy before the game.    

AFC Cleveland (4W-6T-1L) finishes their regular season at Erie Saturday before entering the playoffs next weekend. 

Another Draw for AFC Cleveland

BROADVIEW HEIGHTS, OH - June 29, 2012 - AFC Cleveland and the Erie Admirals (4-4-1) battled to a 1-1 draw Friday night. 

The first half was back and forth as each side tried to gain an advantage.  Erie would go on the board first thanks to a penalty kick, but Cuyahoga Falls native Christian Earnest equalized for Cleveland minutes later. The score was 1-1 at the half.

The defensive battle continued in the second half as each team battled to get the deciding goal.  The goal proved to be out of reach for both sides as they settled for the draw.

Photo Credit: Gary L. Moody Sr./ISNSoccer.comThe Akron connection proved valuable for Cleveland yet again as three Zips starred for AFC.  Andrian McAdams put another solid performance in goal, while Bryan Gallego anchored the backline.  Thomas Schmitt was probably the most dangerous attacker on the field as he tested Erie’s defense again and again. 

AFC Cleveland (4-5-1) has just two games remaining before heading off to the Midwest playoffs.  They will be home against FC Buffalo on July 6 before heading to Erie for a July 7th rematch against the Admirals.    

AFC Cleveland Lands Hardware in 1-1 Draw with Detroit

DETROIT, MI - June 23, 2012 - University of Akron striker Thomas Schmitt scored the equalizing goal in the 86th minute to propel AFC Cleveland to a 1-1 road draw with Detroit City FC.

Photo Credit: AFC Cleveland (NPSL)Cleveland found themselves down 1-0 at the half after a goal from Stefan St. Louis in the 23rd minute. AFC fought back and claimed a goal of their own in the final moments of the game.

Fellow Akron teammate Andrian McAdams was impressive in goal, claiming 6 saves for Cleveland. Detroit did well statistically, landing 17 shots (8 on goal) and 5 corner kicks in the match.

The draw also gave AFC Cleveland their first piece of hardware in franchise history, the Rust Belt Trophy. The Rust Belt Derby is unique in American soccer as it was set up by soccer supporters from AFC Cleveland, Detroit City FC, and FC Buffalo.

“We are very lucky to have three supporters’ groups to put this together,” AFC Cleveland manager Andy Hoggarth stated. “We are delighted to win it.”

An incredible crowd of 1,743 witnessed the physical match, where 5 yellow cards were handed out and 20 fouls were called.

Detroit (4-4-1) maintains a slim lead at first place in the division, but both clubs have clinched playoff berths. Cleveland does have a game in hand and a 3-4-1 record with 2 home remaining before ending the season away at Erie.

AFC Cleveland Falls to Binghamton in Shocker

BINGHAMTON, NY - June 16, 2012 - Greater Binghamton FC (1-2-5) handed AFC Cleveland their first loss of the 2012 NPSL season in a 2-0 result Saturday evening.

Midfielder Chris Riley put GBFC on the board in the 31st minute to give the home team a 1-0 lead. Binghamton striker Ermin Corbic extended the lead in the 86th minute.

"Even missing three or four players due to injury we felt that we still had enough quality to get a result," AFC Cleveland Andy Hoggarth commented. "We will go back to the drawing board, reevaluate and then work hard again at training this week."

The hard-fought, physical match featured 7 yellow cards and 22 fouls. AFC Cleveland (3-1-4) continue their road trip with a June 23 match against Detroit City FC.

AFC Cleveland Moves into First Place

PARMA, OH - June 8, 2012 - Goals by Vinny Bell, Michael Matlock, and Tyler Johnston helped AFC Cleveland defeat Detroit City FC 3-2.

A record crowd of 1,251 was on hand at Byers Field to see this important Rust Belt Derby matchup.

The win propels AFC Cleveland (3-0-4, 13 pts.) into first place in the NPSL's Midwest Great Lakes Conference. It also clinches a playoff spot for Cleveland, which is in their first year in the league.

"It's exciting," AFC Cleveland Chairman/CEO Terry Lawriw stated. "We have a great coaching staff. We have great people working in all parts of our organization. AFC Cleveland is doing great work on and off the field."

Detroit falls to 3-1-3 and 12 points on the season. The Michigan club had allowed only 1 goal in 6 matches coming into this game.

AFC Cleveland Draws with Erie

ERIE, PA - June 3, 2012 - A goal by Christian Earnest in the 84th minute gave AFC Cleveland a 1-1 draw against the Erie Admirals in NPSL action.

“It was a very physical battle,” AFC Cleveland manager Andy Hoggarth commented. “It was a pretty fair result. Erie was very hardworking. They moved the ball well.”

Sean Washek scored the lone goal for the Admirals (1-1-1).

University of Akron star Andrian McAdams made his AFC Cleveland debut in goal for Cleveland.

“Andrian was solid,” Hoggarth added. “He was quick off his line. We have a lot of confidence in the goalkeeping position.”

Cleveland (2-0-4) returns home to face rival Detroit City FC on Friday at Byers Field with a 7:00 pm kickoff.

AFC Cleveland Earns Draw on the Road

BUFFALO, NY - May 27, 2012 - Vinny Bell and Tyler Johnston scored goals for AFC Cleveland (2-0-3) as they landed a 2-2 draw with FC Buffalo in a Rust Belt Derby match.

Bell scored in the first half, capitalizing on a Buffalo turnover. This would give the visitors a 1-0 lead.

The Blitzers brought things even at 1-1 thanks to an Alexander Rouse goal nineteen minutes later.

Former Hertha Berlin and Maccabi Haifa striker Anthony Bahadur would make his AFC Cleveland debut during the match, but would have to leave the game in the 80th minute after receiving two yellow cards.

"Going a man down for 15 minutes hurt us," AFC Cleveland manager Andy Hoggarth commented.

Johnston put Cleveland back on top moments later, but the lead was again short-lived as Buffalo's Mike Reidy equalized late in the game with Cleveland a man down.

"It was tough playing 2 games in 2 days," Hoggarth added.

AFC Cleveland Dominates Binghamton at Home

PARMA, OH - May 26, 2012 - A strong second half by AFC Cleveland (2-0-2) helped the home team shutout Greater Binghamton FC 3-0. Goals by Thomas Schmitt, Vaughn Spurrier, and Dean Miller paced Cleveland’s attack in dominating fashion.

Photo Credit: Gary L. Moody Sr./ISNSoccer.comThe first half was rather pedestrian as each side struggled to gain the upper hand. Cleveland would hold a slight advantage statistically, but the score remained 0-0 after 45 minutes.

The second half started strong for the visitors, but their fortunes quickly changed after Schmitt slotted one past the Binghamton keeper in the 70th minute to give Cleveland a 1-0 lead. Spurrier then stole the ball from the keeper 5 minutes later and was able to sneak one into the goal on a heads up play to push Cleveland ahead 2-0. The 3-0 rout was finished by a 78th minute goal by Miller, who played well up front when paired with Schmitt.

Schmitt is in his first week with the team, having signed with Cleveland on May 25 along with Akron teammate Andrian McAdams. Scoring in his debut is a special accomplishment.

“Tommy brought us a spark,” AFC Cleveland manager Andy Hoggarth commented. “The burst he has is phenomenal. I think he got into the gaps we weren’t getting into.”

Neither side has much time to rest as they both have games on Sunday. Cleveland hits the road to face Buffalo, while Binghamton (0-3-1) travels to Pennsylvania to play the Erie Admirals.

Back-to-back games amongst a grueling schedule is a challenge for an any side.

“Fatigue is the main issue,” AFC Cleveland midfielder Elliot Kelly added. “You don’t go in trying to hold back anything. It’s whether you have anything left to play the game tomorrow.”

Match Photos

Akron Stars Join AFC Cleveland

PARMA, OH - May 25, 2012 - Two top players from the University of Akron have joined AFC Cleveland of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL). 

Photo Credit: University of Akron AthleticsForward Thomas Schmitt of Berea, Ohio is a senior forward for the 2010 National Champion Akron Zips.  Schmitt is expected to be a starter this fall after an impressive spring season that included five goals against Wright State on April 28. 

Schmitt scored five goals, two of which were game-winners, in 2011 as he saw action in 23 matches on his way to All-MAC Second Team honors. In 2010 he had 15 appearances and registered a goal and an assist in a 7-1 rout of Michigan. Schmitt appeared in another 4 games in 2009 as a redshirt freshman.

“Schmitt is the hardest person to defend,” former University of Akron defender Matt Dagilis stated. “He is unpredicatable, dynamic, and quick. He has a driving passion that others feed off of.”

Photo Credit: University of Akron AthleticsGoalkeeper Andrian McAdams of Oberlin, Ohio is a sophomore goalkeeper for the Zips.  He is expected to challenge David Meves and Fernando Pina for a starting position this fall.

The Columbus Crew Academy product was selected for the National Team Pool in 2005 and was also a member of the Region II ODP team. McAdams was also part of the Premier Soccer Academy residency program in both 2007 and 2008. 

“Andrian is a very good shot stopper,” University of Akron assistant coach Liam Curran commented. “He is quick and agile. He has good good feet and is very good technically.”

Curran went on to say that McAdams has progressed a great deal since arriving at Akron, having improved his game tactically.  Curran also said his decision making and anticipation have gotten better and that the game experience with AFC Cleveland will be of great help to the young keeper. 

AFC Cleveland Gets First Win in Franchise History

PARMA, OH - May 18, 2012 - AFC Cleveland came away with an exciting 4-2 victory over the visiting FC Buffalo Friday night.

“Any time, any season the first win is vital,” AFC Cleveland manager Andy Hoggarth commented. “But the first win in franchise history is massive.”

Photo Credit: Gary L. Moody Sr./ISNSoccer.comThe attack was balanced as four different AFC Cleveland players found the back of the net. Case Western Reserve striker Vinny Bell opened the scoring for the home side in the 41st with a successful PK attempt.

“We ‘ve been down both games,” Bell stated. “It was important to strike first and get the momentum that carried us through the rest of the game.”

FC Buffalo's Mike Reidy would bring things even at 1-1 with a penalty kick of his own in the 56th. It wouldn't take long for Cleveland to respond as Dennis Holowaty struck one home just three minutes later to give AFC a 2-1 lead.

AFC Cleveland would score yet again in the 62nd as Dean Miller sent a chip past FC Buffalo keeper Jordan Dilapo to put Cleveland up even further at 3-1.

The scoring continued for both sides as Gary Boughton scored for Buffalo in the 86th and Cleveland got another from English defender and NPSL Player of the Week Ruairidh Winters in the 89th.

“We had high energy players off the bench,” Hoggarth continued. “They were chomping at the bit to get into the starting 11. They come off the bench and they fire it.”

AFC Cleveland goalkeeper Ben Yabrow finished with 9 saves with similar results from Dilapo, who finished with 8 saves. AFC Cleveland improves to 1-0-2 with the 4-2 victory over Buffalo, which falls to 0-1-1 on the young NPSL season.

Match Photos

AFC Cleveland Lands a Stunning Draw at Home

Photo Credit: Pam Moody/ISNSoccer.comPARMA, OH - May 13, 2012 – A stoppage time goal by English defender Ruairidh Winters gave AFC Cleveland a 2-2 draw with Greater Binghamton FC (0-0-1) in their first ever home match.

“Obviously we are delighted with the end result,” AFC Cleveland manager Andy Hoggarth stated.  “The boys battled all the way until the end.”

The visitors scored in the 30th and 40th minutes, giving Cleveland a 2-0 deficit at halftime.  It wasn’t to say that there was a shortage of opportunities for the home team as Michael Matlock, Yianni Sarris, and Vinny Bell led a barrage of shots against the Binghamton defense.  

The second half was more of the same as the visitors began to pull away.  But a handball in the box gave Cleveland a chance to attempt a penalty kick, which Tyler Johnston converted in the 83rd.

“You have to give a lot of credit to Tyler Johnston,” Hoggarth stated. “It took a lot of guts for him to step up and slot the penalty home.”

This was followed by the equalizer from Winters in extra time as Cleveland (0-0-2) claimed its second draw in as many days.         

“We went down in a hole and dug ourselves out,” AFC Cleveland goalkeeper Ben Yabrow stated. “It shows the character of the team.”

AFC Cleveland returns to Byers Field on Friday, May 18 to face the visiting FC Buffalo with a 7:00 pm kickoff.   

Match Photos

AFC Cleveland Land Draw on the Road

DETROIT, MI - May 12, 2012 - A goal by Case Western Reserve striker Vinny Bell was enough to earn AFC Cleveland a 1-1 draw with Detroit City FC Saturday night. It was Cleveland's first ever regular season match and first ever road match.

Detroit opened the scoring with a goal in the 11th minute by Stefan St. Louis. Bell's strike in the 34th brought things even at 1-1.

Cleveland goalkeeper Ben Yabrow was called upon several times to deny the home team's attack, landing two spectacular saves in 1 v 1 situations.

"To come away with a point was great," AFC Cleveland manager Andy Hoggarth stated. "We were nice and strong in the air; we created good opportunities."

Cleveland has little time to rest as they face the visiting Greater Binghamton FC on Mother's Day at Byers Field in Parma. It is the first home game in franchise history.

Mount Union Soccer Stars Sign with AFC Cleveland

PARMA, OH - April 13, 2012 - AFC Cleveland, Northeastern Ohio's newest sports franchise, is proud to announce to announce the signing of Mount Union striker Thomas Beck and defender Phil Spagnolo.

Beck, a Poland (OH) native and Cardinal Mooney graduate, was the leading scorer for the Purple Raiders as a sophmore in 2011. He tallied 12 goals and 4 assists on his way to All-OAC First Team honors. Beck was also named OAC Men's Soccer Player of the Week for 9/19/11 and landed on the 2011 Lycoming (PA) Kick-Off Classic All-Tournament Team.

Spagnolo, a senior from Lower Burrell (PA), had his best season in 2010. He started 18 matches, scoring three goals. Two of the goals were game-winners against Wilmington and Otterbein.

"It's a great opportunity for them," Mount Union head coach John Witkowski stated. "They are versatile players. Thoams is one of our premier players and our leading goal scorer, while Phil is an excellent defender."

AFC Cleveland Soccer Names Hoggarth Team Manager, Signs First Players

PARMA, OH - April 9, 2012 - AFC Cleveland, Northeast Ohio's newest sports franchise, is pleased to make two important announcements as the 2012 National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) season approaches. AFC Cleveland has named Andy Hoggarth team manager, a position that makes Hoggarth responsible for all on and off the field duties.

Photo Credit: AFC ClevelandA native of Stockton on Tees, England, Hoggarth is the current head coach for the Thiel College (PA) men's and women's soccer programs. He also spent two seasons as an assistant with the Shenandoah University men's soccer program. Hoggarth also had an accomplished playing career, spending time with Middlesbrough FC and Preston North End FC before playing semi-professionally with a number of English clubs.

Hoggarth was on hand to announce AFC Cleveland's first player signing, a historic moment in the young franchise's history. Case Western Reserve striker Vinny Bell became the first member of AFC Cleveland, signing a contract with the club on April 1, 2012. Bell is one of the best players to ever take the pitch for the Spartans, serving as the program's only two-time All-American. In 2011, Bell finished with league bests and program records of 20 goals and 50 points, setting school records for career goals and career points. He also claimed UAA Most Valuable Player honors for a second consecutive season.

Bell will be joined at AFC Cleveland by fellow CWRU standout Ben Yabrow. The Marietta, Georgia native started all 20 matches in 2011, accumulating 5 shutouts and 59 saves. Yabrow is the shool's all-time leader in wins and shutouts. AFC Cleveland will play its first 4 home games (5/13, 5/18, 5/26, 6/8) at Byers Field in Parma. The final two home games (6/29, 7/6) will be played at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School in Broadview Heights due to stadium renovations taking place at Byers during that time.

Please visit www.afccleveland.com to purchase tickets and merchandise or to catch the latest news on the return of professional soccer in Cleveland.

Schedule and Stadium Announced for AFC Cleveland

PARMA, OHMarch 19, 2012 – AFC Cleveland, Northeastern Ohio’s only professional soccer franchise, is proud to announce its home schedule and stadium for the 2012 National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) season.

The club will play its first 4 home games (5/13, 5/18, 5/26, 6/8) at Byers Field in Parma.  The final two home games (6/29, 7/6) will be played at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School in Broadview Heights due to stadium renovations taking place at Byers during that time. The club will return to Byers Field for the entire 2013 season. 

For more information, please visit www.afccleveland.com or email the club at .

The 2012 home schedule is as follows:

5/13 Greater Binghamton FC 2pm

5/18 Buffalo 7pm

5/26 Greater Binghamton FC 7pm

6/8 Detroit City FC 7pm

6/29 Erie 7pm

7/6 Buffalo 7pm

A Great Start for AFC Cleveland Soccer

PARMA, OH - January 22, 2012 - It has been a whirlwind month for AFC Cleveland, Northeast Ohio's newest professional sports franchise.

The first round of tryouts took place in early January at Brad Friedel's Premier Soccer Academies in Lorain. The turnout was impressive, including dozens of talented players from all walks of collegiate and professional soccer.

Local colleges such as Case Western Reserve, Mount Union, Baldwin-Wallace, Notre Dame, and Hiram were all represented. Players from colleges and universities like Ohio Northern, Ohio Wesleyan, Arkansas, UMass, Bluefield, Brooklyn, Ohio State, and Bowling Green also turned out for a chance to be part of AFC Cleveland's inaugural season. In all, players from 5 countries were part of the tryout process.

Fans, media, and members of the 6th City Syndicate were also in attendance to see the rebirth of soccer in Cleveland. Everyone was impressed with the talent present at the event. Even more is expected from a secound round of open tryouts scheduled for late March in Parma.


January 21st marked the opening of the AFC Cleveland front office and team shop on State Road in Parma. Over 50 people turned out to get official merchandise, buy season tickets, and meet the coaches and staff from AFC Cleveland.

Two great events, supported by some of the best fans anywhere, show an exciting future for AFC Cleveland and soccer in NE Ohio.

For further information, please visit www.afccleveland.com or email AFC Cleveland directly at [email protected].

NovaCare Joins AFC Cleveland

PARMA, OH - January 15, 2012 - AFC Cleveland is proud to announce that NovaCare Rehabilitation is the Official Sports Rehabilitation and Athletic Training Provider for the club’s 2012 season. 

NovaCare is one of the biggest names in sports medicine, servicing teams like the Philadelphia Eagles, Philadelphia Phillies, Philadelphia Flyers, Philadelphia 76ers, Minnesota Vikings, and Temple University. Locally they provide sports rehabilitation and athletic training to the Cleveland Gladiators, Lake Erie Monsters, and the University of Cincinnati.

NovaCare Rehabilitation is part of the Select Medical Outpatient Division, a nationally prominent, locally driven provider of outpatient physical rehabilitation with approximately 952 locations in 34 states and the District of Columbia. 

AFC Cleveland is in its first season of play in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL).

AFC Cleveland Begins with Admiral

Admiral Sportswear LogoPARMA, OH - December 17, 2011 - The NPSL’s newest team AFC Cleveland has teamed up with the world’s oldest British soccer brand Admiral Sportswear as they begin their journey into the national soccer scene.

Admiral is the Original British Football brand to the top teams in England and North America. In the 1970’s and 1980’s the Admiral brand was the choice of the England national team and Manchester United. Here in the United States they supplied the Tampa Bay Rowdies, Vancouver Whitecaps, and the legendary New York Cosmos.

Today the brand is worn by the 2011 NASL Champions Minnesota Stars, USL PDL Champions Kitsap Pumas, the Puerto Rico Islanders, and many other USL Pro, USL PDL, MISL, NPSL, and WPSL clubs that have switched to Admiral this season.

“We’re delighted to be working with the AFC Cleveland especially as this is their inaugural season,” stated Paul Hamburger, CEO of Admiral Soccer. “For us it’s like coming home. We supplied the jerseys for the Cleveland Force for three seasons between 1979 & 1981. At the time over 40% of U.S. professional soccer clubs played in Admiral. It’s taken 30 years, but we’re reunited with soccer in Cleveland.”

AFC Cleveland will play in their inaugural season in the NPSL in the spring of 2012. They are led by Head coach Fabio Sartini whose playing career included time at the Tampa Bay Mutiny of Major League Soccer.

AFC Cleveland Chairman Terry Lawriw declared, “I spoke with Admiral and they delivered custom designs within a couple of days. They’ve made the process easy and really want to help us succeed. The kit is fully customized and uses the latest, lightweight fabric technology which we’re sure our players and fans will love. So far we’ve been delighted by their service and quality.” The new kit will be available early in 2012 and online at www.admiralsoccer.com. 

AFC Cleveland Joins the NPSL

AFC Cleveland (NPSL)PARMA, OH - November 18, 2011 - AFC Cleveland is proud to announce the return of professional outdoor soccer to the Greater Cleveland area as part of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL).

AFC Cleveland was recently accepted into the NPSL as part of a revamped Midwestern Division that will include FC Buffalo, Erie Admirals, Detroit City FC, and Binghamton FC.

“We are excited about bringing pro soccer back to Cleveland and we are excited about being part of a great league like the NPSL,” AFC Cleveland Chairman Terry Lawriw commented. “Cleveland has a tradition of soccer excellence that dates back to the Stokers, Cobras, Force, and Crunch. We hope that AFC Cleveland can be part of this great history.”

The NPSL is a nationwide league that includes teams in major markets from coast to coast, including Hollywood United, Chicago Fire NPSL, New York Red Bulls NPSL, and the San Diego Flash.

Excitement about AFC Cleveland has been strong, even among fellow NPSL teams.

“As a member of the NPSL for the last three years we are very happy that the league continues to develop and strengthen,” Erie Admirals owner John Melody said. “We are particularly happy that Cleveland decided to join. We have had a great rivalry with FC Buffalo in recent years and we very much look forward to having a similar one with AFC Cleveland.”

"Buffalonians have always felt more of a kinship with the Great Lakes region than the Northeast, so to find traditional sports rivals like Cleveland and Detroit on our schedule is terrific," said FC Buffalo owner Nick Mendola.

The team already has a European-style supporters’ group called the 6th City Syndicate. 

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