Akron City FC set to bring in nearby Division II products from Ashland University

Writer: Sideline and Beat Reporter, Cade Cracas

Akron, Ohio - The 2024 campaign is shaping up to be a strong season for Akron City FC (ACFC).

After the team competed hard in 2023, they came up short of expectations with an overall record of 3-1-8. Now, with a roster poised for greatness, the team is looking to flip the script and thrive in the coming season.

Head Coach of ACFC, Andy Hoggarth, has high hopes for the team in the new year.

“There were a few positives we can take from last season with the development of the team, but at the end of the day our priority is to put a team on the field that has the potential to win every game,” he said.

The organization went out in the offseason to build a team that is both ready to compete and succeed on the field, but also mesh well in the locker room.

From Division II Ashland University (AU), ACFC is set to bring in goalkeeper Ty Bowden, forward Pedro Faria and defender Aurel Veit.

“I think the Ashland players will be solid additions for us. Having known Nick [Roberts, AU’s head coach] for a lot of years, I know the quality of coaching the players get and the high expectations of them,” said Hoggarth. “Obviously playing against them with my Walsh team during the college season I also know they are the top quality type of people that we want at Akron City FC.”

Outside of Faria, the other two incoming players led AU to a conference championship in the 2022-23 campaign. That season the team amassed a 12-7-1 overall record.

“I believe I can help the team with my knowledge of winning since we won the G-MAC (Great Midwest Athletic Conference) last year,” said Veit. “Therefore I know what it takes to win in the playoffs.

“I get to play with my teammates and will have an instant connection with them. Knowing how they play and obviously knowing how I‘m playing will definitely help at the beginning of the year since we have to come together as a team.”

Leading the charge on the defensive end were Bowden and Veit. In goal, Bowden recorded 78 saves and six shutouts while allowing just 29 goals through 20 games.

“Everything about the club seems great,” said Bowden. “When talking to the ownership and coaching staff about the club, I could tell they have a good plan and vision for the club this summer.” 

In the most recent season, Faria, new to AU and ACFC from Kansas City State Community College, knocked in seven goals and recorded one assist.

“I think the quality and organization of Akron City FC that our owner provides gives us a good reputation in the soccer world which helps attract high level players from throughout the state,” said Hoggarth. “The connections within the game that our coaching staff have, has helped us create some good relationships with not just the players but their coaches from the different levels they play at.”

In the 2023 season, ACFC found just 15 goals while allowing 20, an average of 1.25 per game scored and 1.67 scored against. 

“Obviously one of our basic issues last season was the lack of goals we scored,” Hoggarth said. “As a staff we have worked hard in the building of the roster and feel that we have added some good quality attacking players to add some more goals to the team.”

Not only are the players excited to get to work with ACFC, but also be able to play alongside the coaching of Hoggarth.

“I‘m very excited to be coached by Andy,” Veit said. “He’s a very good coach and has a good system for Walsh.

“I can see myself fitting into that system perfectly and I also get to play with a few of my teammates, like Ty [Bowden] and Pedro [Faria].”

All three AU athletes look to help bring plenty of wins to the ACFC organization in the new season. 

“I am very excited to be helping out this summer,” Bowden said. “With the talent the club is bringing in, and the local support from the Akron community, I feel that we will have a successful season.”

The team will kick off the 2024 campaign on the road against Cleveland SC, who went 6-2-4 last season. That contest is set to begin at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 18.

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