Lansdowne midfielder Craig Purcell charging at the ball to perform an interception during the game against Southie F.C on May 2nd, 2016. Hess Boys Photography
March 10, 2017
Irish based clubs Lansdowne and Shamrock look to fight each other for first place, NY Athletic is hopeful they will get out of relegation zone, Cedar Stars Academy acquire former Ligue Haitienne player and more.
Three months after a mesmerizing Fall season, the Cosmopolitan Soccer League returns in action this Saturday for the second half of the campaign, the Spring season.
The first game of the second half of the season is a matchup between Lansdowne Bhoys and Polonia SC Gwardia NY Saturday at 8:00 p.m. at Tibbet Brook Park Field 3.
Lansdowne converted right back Craig Purcell is over-excited about the start of the second half of the season.
“We can’t wait. It’s a long winter without being able to play soccer,” Purcell said. “This time of the year you kind of feel like a kid on Christmas Eve again.”
The Bhoys’ Irish rivals Shamrock SC finished the first half of the season one point above them on top of the table. A much-anticipated battle for the top playoff spot between the two Irish based clubs await in the Spring season.
Purcell is proud of the growth of his compatriot club but expresses that Lansdowne is still the best team in the league.
“First and foremost, as a football supporter it’s been good for the league to see them up there,” the defender said. “All credit to them as a club.”
“[...] But without trying to sound arrogant, we believe we are the best team in the league. We just try to focus on ourselves. If we do that we know we will be there or thereabouts come June.”
Shamrocks head coach Kevin Grogan—and former Lansdowne coach—is proud of how his team performed in the Fall but understands how tough the Spring season will be.
“We have worked hard and we gained some momentum in the fall season and played some decent football but we are under no illusions to how hard every game will be in the Spring,” Grogan said.
Shamrock SC head coach Kevin Grogan. Shamrocks Images
When asked about the Irish battle for first place, Grogan uttered that his focus is not on Lansdowne at the moment.
“We haven't even thought about the Lansdowne game,” the former Manchester United youth player said. “Our priority is the next game against Zum.”
The Rocks lost their topscorer during the offseason, Jamie Clarke, who returned to Ireland to resume his Gaelic career with Armagh.
“Jamie is a big loss, Grogan admitted. “He did extremely well for us in a short period of time."
He later added: “With Jamie leaving it now gives another player in our squad an opportunity to play and impact the games.”
Shamrock SC topscorer Jamie Clarke left the club during the offseason to resume his Gaelic career in Ireland with Armagh. NY Shamrocks Images
The Irish derby will be vital in determining who will finish at the summit of the table at the end of the season. The derby is scheduled on May 13th and will take place at St. Michael’s Playground.
Elsewhere at the bottom of the table NY Athletic Club will be fighting to get out of relegation zone. NY Athletic is the most decorated active team, winning the league seven times—last time they bagged the title was in 2012-13.
NYAC head coach Erik Bagwell is assured that a club with such prestige will dig themselves out of the dropzone.
“I feel pretty confident about the second half of the season,” Bagwell said. “[…] The plan is to be better in the final third and not let our guard down when we are up by a goal or two. We'll be out of the relegation zone quite quickly.”
Another team worth keeping an eye on during the Spring season is promoted side Zum Schneider FC 03. Zum will be battling to make the playoffs in their first year in the top flight as they sit three points below the last playoff position.
Two points behind them is the other promoted side, Doxa SC, who will also be fighting to make the playoffs.
The last playoff spot holders, NY Pancyprian Freedoms will look to regain the dazzling form they had in the last two years after a rough Fall season, in which they lost four games.
Third placed Cedar Stars Academy scored the most goals in the first half of the season, they’re looking to score even more goals in the Spring as they added former Ligue Haitienne player, Clifford Augustin, to their roster.