Feature image source – roccityboom.com
The Roc City Boom are back for their fourth season in the UPSL Western NY Premier Conference. Founded in 2019, it’s crucial that any soccer fan in Rochester comes and watches them this season, especially after what we saw with RNYFC these past few weeks. Clearly, we can see how delicate soccer is here in Rochester where once it was one of the biggest and most important parts of our culture, it has fallen a great deal and we must do whatever it takes to protect it.
But protecting soccer in our city isn’t the only reason you should go out to watch the Boom this spring but also because the team is worthy of the viewership. After winning the UPSL Western NY Premier Conference three times in a row (2020, 2021, and 2022) and a near qualification for the U.S Open Cup, falling short after losing 2-1 to SC Vistula Garfield, they are the rising team in Rochester and a USOC appearance is inevitable.
Now what can we expect from the Boom this season? Well I think the obvious answer to that question is another deep run into the playoffs and hopefully a fourth title, and like I mentioned before I think a USOC berth would be a spectacular achievement for the club.
If you’re new to the Boom, you might be wondering who some of the teams that they will be facing this year are. Well to start off with someone you probably already know, there are the U23 RNYFC academy. That’s right, the academy, or what is basically the second team for RNYFC is playing in the same competition as the Boom. This will make for an interesting match and it is the only Rochester derby as there are no other Rochester-based teams. Hopefully, that game will be an exciting showing.
Next up we have the 5 teams based in Buffalo; FCY New York, Kilimanjaro Bandits FC, and the Sahara Gunners, and Chantilly Forever FC, FC Berlin who are Canadian teams that play in Buffalo.
I’d like to focus on the Sahara Gunners as I think they’re the most interesting club from Buffalo. The Buffalo-based football club is coached by Amy Villirani and was one of the top teams in the UPSL Division 1 last season. Last October they made it to the second round of USOC qualifying and played the Boom and lost 3-1. Off the field they’re known as one of the best and biggest teams in Buffalo even having their own academy system. Another interesting thing about the Gunners is their connection with Damar Hamlin. On February 17th, the club announced that the Buffalo Bills safety would be sponsoring the team.
Next up on the cities represented in the league this season is Albany which only has one team, that being FC Dutchmen Independence. The Dutchmen are a club that takes pride in its academy development. Founded in 2005 the Dutchmen have had over 2500+ players come through their academy over their 18 years of existence. And apart from their academy, they’re also one of if not the biggest clubs in the capital city, and have been competing in the UPSL since the Spring 2022 season.
We’re down to the last three cities represented in the league so how about we move on to Syracuse. Syracuse being a very important part of the soccer scene in upstate New York and New York as a whole. Syracuse University were the winner of the 2022 NCAA soccer championship, they accomplished this after beating Indiana 7-6 on PK’s. Lets talk about the UPSL entrants this year, and we have 2 teams this season. Syracuse FC is coached by Corey Fonseca and joined the UPSL in 2020, though they also compete in the NPSL which seems to be where a lot of their focus lies. The second team is Invictus FC.
Now we have two teams left, both being cities with only one team representing them, United Elite Krajsnik FC representing Utica and Greater Binghamton FC representing Binghamton.
Let’s start with Krajsnik FC. Coached by Tarik Mekic, Krajsnik are another team that focus and take pride in their academy system as they try to help players climb to the level of D.1 and D.2 colleges so they can become professional soccer players.
Finally, we have Greater Binghamton FC which yet again is another team that highly values and takes pride in their academy system. The lower upstate New York side is coached by Robbie Dickinson. Last time Roc City Boom played Binghamton the Boom won 2-1 with goals from DiLorenzo and Cunningham.
Now you’ve heard my thoughts on the upcoming season but what are some of Marc Mandell’s (part owner of the Roc City Boom) thoughts of the upcoming season? I asked him and he said “Our goals remain the same for this year. Win the division and qualify for the playoffs. Serving our community and further development of younger players to reach the next level in their careers whether that be pro or college.”
Another question I had for Marc was his thoughts and aspirations for making it into the US Open Cup, “It would be great to qualify for the USOC,” though also saying, “[We] wish there were more teams in our area trying to qualify to cut down on travel.” He also mentioned the issue of college players not being able to be available due to the college season happening at the same time as qualifications. “1 field player and a keeper sub just doesn’t cut it unfortunately.”
What am I looking forward to most this season? The hope of lifting a fourth in a row is a great prospect. I am also looking forward to growing the community and having more people come out to watch the Boom this season. This is why I ask you, the reader, to please join the community of the Roc City Boom if you haven’t already and come out to support your local club.