FC Buffalo inks eight more, brings roster to 20
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • January 30, 2013 @ 10:45am
FC Buffalo head coach Brendan Murphy has quickly stockpiled talent for the Blitzers’ summer 2013 roster, as 20 players have already committed before the start of February.
In years past, the local NPSL club’s roster hasn’t been finalized until a week before the season, as familiarity and continuity were both works in progress throughout the first month of the campaign or longer.
The former University at Buffalo assistant coach signed a few returnees, including former Houghton College defender Josiah Snelgrove, Buffalo State midfielder C.J. Scirto, Medaille midfielder-striker Pablo Ordonez and St. Bonaventure midfielder Steven Carcaterro.
Newcomers include Alfred’s Jeff Thomas, SUNY Brockport’s Bobby Ross, Temple’s Mitchell Skrabacz and St. Bonaventure’s Kolby Banker.
There’s a good balance among the eight, and the defensive ability of Snelgrove (pictured, right in blue) and the attacking mindset of Ordonez stick out foremost. The elder statesmen Snelgrove has spent time in the USL with the Charlotte Eagles and FC New York after graduating from Houghton in 2008.
With a career in coaching in mind, Snelgrove will be a valuable mentor for the college athletes while providing natural leadership qualities through his competitiveness and fiery attitude on the back-line.
Ordonez transitioned smoothly from Erie Community College to Medaille, where he finished behind only George Tor in goals with eight strikes—including a six-game conference scoring streak. He’s an offensive-minded midfielder who’s versatile enough to play up top, and his blistering shot will be an asset for the Blitzers, whether it’s off the bench late in a contest or in the starting XI.
The FC Buffalo staff is particularly excited about the additions of Banker and Thomas, two rather unheralded players in the local soccer scene. A Grand Island High School graduate, Banker is a sturdy, steady defender who’s strong in the air. He started 16 of the Bonnies’ 19 games as a junior, and he’s a good communicator at center back as well.
A regular in the Alfred University lineup since his freshman year, the soon-to-be senior Thomas is a lanky, unorthodox midfielder who’s had a productive D3 college career. A second-team Empire 8 All-Star after both his sophomore and junior seasons, the Canandaigua Academy product has scored 13 times over the past two campaigns, and he’s primed for a massive senior season.
Brockport’s Ross, a high school teammate of Banker’s who helped propel the Vikings to the Section VI Class A title, has embraced an attacking role with the Golden Eagles, yet he’s slotted as a defender for Murphy’s Blitzers. The head coach’s comment in the team’s press release is telling:
“[Ross] may be our best pure defender and has a real knack for the net,” Murphy said. “His timing on tackles, positional sense and 1 vs. 1 defending are top notch and his presence on the field will make it very difficult for opposing attackers.”
An All-SUNYAC third team selection in 2012 with the Bengals, Scirto spent last summer with the Blitzers—playing sparingly as a reserve attacking midfielder. He’s blessed with terrific quickness and staggering change of pace, but he’ll likely remain a reserve in 2013.
A standout at the first FC Buffalo tryout, the West Seneca East alum Skrabacz was solid again in the second—he’s tough to push off the ball and aggressive in his tackles, as training with an Atlantic 10 team has been a boon for Skrabacz from a physical standpoint.
The ex-Trojan faces an uphill climb slotting into what should be a very competitive midfield corps, but the off-season work should give him a chance to feature more regularly with the Owls in 2013.
As the commitment of FC Buffalo’s veterans dwindled late last season, St. Bonaventure’s Carcaterro filled the void and acquitted himself well. Active and tough with an exceptional work ethic, Carcaterro’s star is on the rise for the Bonnies, but—like several other of the later signings—will have to battle to see the pitch this summer.
Murphy’s gathered a group of similarly talented players—many of whom are versatile positionally—and the preseason trainings, which run at 6 a.m. three days per week, will do a lot to create chemistry and separate the starters from the reserves.
Here’s a list of the current commits:
Jake Rinow, Cornell
John Grabowski, Fredonia
Asani Samuels, Canisius
Kareem Gray, Canisius
Jeff Thomas, Alfred
Mitchell Skrabacz, Temple
Bobby Ross, Brockport
Steven Carcaterro, St. Bonaventure
Kolby Banker, St. Bonaventure
Anthony Rozzano, Albany
Ryan Walter, Binghamton
Chris Walter, Hartwick
C.J. Scirto, Buffalo State
Nick Garcia, Niagara
Josiah Snelgrove, Houghton
John Taggart, Medaille
Pablo Ordonez, Medaille
Peter Marlette, Trinity
Alex Stephan, Geneseo
Ian Mort, Geneseo
Very, very premature predicted starting XI for 2013 (assuming a 4-4-2 structure):
Forwards: Asani Samuels/Ian Mort, John Taggart
Midfielders: Anthony Rozzano, Peter Marlette, Pablo Ordonez, Ryan Walter/John Grabowski
Defenders: Jake Rinow, Nick Garcia, Kolby Banker/Josiah Snelgrove, Chris Walter
Goalie: Kareem Gray