FC Baltimore’s initial player pool features a former USA High School Gatorade Player of the Year, the former Most Valuable Player of the High School All American Game, six former High School All-American selections, six Youth Club Soccer National Championships, five current Collegiate All-Conference Players and countless other accolades.
The boys are back in town. The overwhelming majority of FCB players hail from Baltimore, while their talent and success have taken them to colleges across the country. FC Baltimore’s initial batch of players includes varsity athletes from Clemson, Wake Forest, UMBC, Louisville, Loyola University Maryland, North Carolina State, George Mason, George Washington University, and James Madison University.
Open Tryouts were a success. The event attracted interest from players from all over the world. The FCB technical staff answered inquiries from all over the United States, Japan, Brazil, France and many other countries. While some could not make the trip out, roughly 35 men showcased their talent for the FC Baltimore coaching staff.
Many players at the tryout were impressive- one stood out- Jade Mesias. Hailing from Auckland City, New Zealand; Jade showcased a fire and technical standard of the highest order. With such a strong core of collegiate talent, FCB really benefits from ex-pros like Jade.
“It very quickly became clear that our coaching staff is exceptional. As soon as word got out about FC Baltimore’s acceptance into the NPSL, we were flooded with interest. Brandon Quaranta is proving to be a dream hire,” said FC Baltimore Director of Soccer Operations Alex Lubyansky. “Brandon not only attracts top-level players- he inspires other coaches as well. We could not be more pleased with William Vanzela, Vini Dantas, Mike Griffith. I’m confident that we can show strongly in year one. The NPSL has such a wealth of talent. The existing teams have a rich history. FCB looks forward to building our reputation over the years.”
Tunde Akinlosotu joins the team from George Mason University. The talented attacking force hails from Bowie, Maryland- and was named the MVP of the High School All American Game. He quickly made an impression in college, being named to the Atlantic 10 Freshman Team of the Year. Tunde stated, “I am truly excited that they are starting to recognize Baltimore as a hub for players with great potential.”
Michael DeShields joins FCB from Wake Forest. Michael was not only a High School All American, but the Gatorade High School Player of the Year. He proved his worth in college as well, earning a spot in the ACC All-Tournament team. The beast of a center back stated, “I cannot wait to be a part of FC Baltimore. There are so many great players in this area, so now it is only right that we get them all on our team and win some championships.”
Grant Robinson plays center mid. Having won back-to-back USYSA National Championships, and a Maryland high school state championship, Grant earned a college career at Grant Mason. “I am excited to be playing forFC Baltimore because it is a great opportunity for me to grow under a good staff as well as a good player pool.”
Nate Hall joins FC Baltimore from Clemson University. The Baltimore native was a three-time All-State selection in high school. Nate said, “I am extremely excited about the team and coaching staff in place. I have grown up playing with and against these guys for a long time, and it is good to have the opportunity to join together. It has been a long time coming to get a team with this amount of quality players in this area, and I think this is just the thing that soccer players in the Maryland area need. Q is the best coach around and can develop and help players get the next level they aspire to get to. Overall, I am excited to get to work and get back with the coaches and guys that I started out with.”
Tre Pulliam hails from Baltimore. His attacking prowess led him to earn High School All-American status. He now plays for UMBC. Also joining FCB from UMBC is Colin Weyant. Colin won a club national championship with his youth side, a state championship with his high school side and was invited to play in the Senior High School All American game.
Chris DeMartino joins FCB from the University of Louisville. Another two-time youth National Champion, Chris will be an anchor of the team as a center back- along with Cale Thorne. Cale, who boasts a mesmerizing first touch for any player, plays at Clemson University. He too played in the Senior High School All American game. Cale said, “FC Baltimore has massive potential to bring quality football to a city that has long been a hotbed for youth success and production of countless players to top levels in this country.
The club is growing rapidly and has a great staff coming together to oversee the club’s success. Brandon has coached me as long as I can remember and is one of the best in the country at what he does. I first was coached by William Vanzela in 2015, and he was a massive part of inspiring my passion for the game and commitment to being a top-flight player. One of the parts I am most excited about is bringing some old faces back together that younger players and the city can get behind and be excited about. Growing up, it was often the edge and mentality of our teams that gave us success, and now to see us come back together with more development and quality is something that will be special. Baltimore never gets enough credit, and we want to open a lot of eyes to what we can do.”
Loyola University Maryland provides FC Baltimore with two key players this year: Jake Dengler and Joshua Fawole. Jake won a Youth National Championship before joining the college ranks. Jake said, “I’m very excited to get an opportunity to play with a great group of players and coaching staff that I’ve been playing against for the past few years and getting a chance to do something special this summer in the NPSL. This is a big step for Baltimore soccer and I’m glad to be apart of the Inaugural season for FC Baltimore. I think it will be a great atmosphere to be playing in over summer before my first season at Loyola.” Joshua has earned Patriot League Second Team All-Conference honors for Loyola. He was the Fan’s Choice Howard County Player of the Year as well. Joshua said, “ Excited to bring the competitive soccer atmosphere to Baltimore once again. Can’t wait to get started with the club and build a great culture.”
Tyler Gabarra, from North Carolina State, plays outside mid. He was a first-team All-American in high school- along with three first-team All-State selections, two All-Metro (Washington Post and Baltimore Sun), two All-South Region and three collegiate ACC honor roll selections. “I am very excited to play for FC Baltimore. Coach Brandon Quaranta has had a huge impact on both my soccer career and my character. I am happy to play for a Baltimore club with many players I grew up playing with.”
Brady O’Connor (George Washington University) and Benjamin Dao (James Madison University) also hail from Maryland. Benjamin stated, “FC Baltimore has the potential to do great things this coming year, with top-level players and coaching in the DMV. Our fast pace players and technical playing style help add excitement to the game while creating a huge threat in NPSL.”
FC Baltimore will be holding supplemental tryouts in the coming months. The team plans to announce a schedule and start selling season tickets in February. One thing is already clear- the passion and talent in the Baltimore soccer market are supreme.