The season starts here! Boston City FC kicks off the club’s fourth season in the National Premier Soccer League on the road this Saturday, April 27, before opening a seven-match home schedule in Revere on May 4.
New head coach Michael Bustamante, whose midfield inspiration propelled Boston City to the NPSL playoffs back in the 2016 inaugural season and won him all-league honors, introduces a new-look squad to Lions fans this weekend.
A visit to rival Hartford City FC on Saturday, April 27, at the University of Hartford (kickoff 7pm) is followed by a return fixture at the club’s new home of Harry Della Russo Stadium in Revere the following Saturday, May 4, at 7pm.
Season tickets for seven NPSL home matches and one special event are now available at www.BostonCityFC.com with prices frozen for the fourth straight season.
Coach Bustamante, who was raised in Chelsea and now lives in Revere, has retained a handful of players from previous seasons, while introducing players with local ties and from the college ranks, alongside those given an opportunity to progress from the club’s second team.
“This is going to be really special for all of us, playing our first match as a new group and then being at home for the first time in Revere,” said Bustamante. “For me, I’m excited to coach a really competitive match with our team against Hartford, and for the guys, they’re ready for the challenge of looking to get three points.
“I think we have key players in all positions and now it’s a question of how we make them work together as a unit. I’m excited to see our squad perform at the level I believe they can, with the instruction I give them. We need to focus in this first game on playing the game on our terms.
“We’ve talked a lot about creating a new identity for Boston City and the professionalism of our team in terms of our approach and attitude and that’s what I believe our supporters will see from this team.”
Saturday’s match facts:
Hartford City FC vs. Boston City FC
Al-Marzook Field, University of Hartford, 200 Bloomfield Ave, West Hartford, CT, 06117
Boston City FC head coach Michael Bustamante (first season)
Hartford City FC head coach Nick Balistierri (first season)
Selected Boston City FC player information:
Striker Jhonata Batista was averaging a goal per game in 2017 when he suffered a season-ending injury. The hard-working forward rejoined the Lions in the fall after a spell with Greater Lowell and is chasing the club’s all-time scoring record of 17 goals, with his total currently standing at nine. Batista has been scoring freely for the Boston City FC II team, including four goals in a recent Bay State Soccer League win.
Goalkeeper Jake Wagmeister was named the Ironsides Crew supporters’ player of the year in 2018, having been ever-present in the line-up once he earned the starting job between the posts. He is the only keeper out of nine in club history to record a shutout on his debut, as the Lions beat Hartford City 2-0 on June 9, 2018. Revere’s own Santi Cardona is a tricky midfielder who celebrated his promotion to the first team from Boston City FC II with a stunning goal in the last home match, a 3-1 win over Greater Lowell.
Defender Peter Borboh Kargbo joined the Boston University men’s soccer program in 2017 and earned Patriot League All-Conference third team honors as a freshman. He played at the Craig Bellamy Foundation Academy in his native Sierra Leone before coming to the United States. At the Santa Barbara soccer club, he won three Coast Soccer League championships and a U.S. Youth Soccer national title.
Defender/Midfielder Zion Balogun transferred from Texas Wesleyan to the Boston University soccer program in 2018, though the defender / midfielder hails from Tottenham in London. He started his career with Tottenham Hotspur as a schoolboy before joining Leyton Orient and then Enfield Town.
Haitian midfielder Chris Gilbert impressed at last year’s tryouts and joined Boston City FC II for the second half of the 2018 Bay State Soccer League Season, also playing in the U.S. Open Cup qualifying rounds. In the spring of 2019, Chris was one of three Lions players who traveled to the Boston City FC academy in Manhuaçu to spend three weeks training with the club’s professional team.
Midfielder Mateus Araujo has impressed for Boston City FC II in the Bay State Soccer League. He scored the equalizing goal in the first BCFC II match of 2019 as the Lions won 2-1 in the McKenzie Cup. In his native Brazil, he played at Botafogo-SP and Monte Azul-SP.
Boston City FC notes: This is the 2019 opening match for both teams… this is the first time Boston City has opened a season away from home (2016, 2017 and 2018 were all played at Brother Gilbert Stadium in Malden vs. NY Cosmos)… the Lions’ opening day record is 0-2-1… Boston City FC and Hartford City FC have met four times previously with Boston City edging the series 2-1-1… the teams met once in 2018 with goals from Rigoberto Jimenez and Isaac Addai earning a 2-0 win… Goalkeeper Jake Wagmeister made his Lions debut in that win… In 2017, the Colts knocked the Lions out of the NPSL playoffs with a 2-1 victory… During the 2018 regular season, Boston City won 3-1 at home on the back of an Isaac Addai hat-trick and drew 3-3 away with goals from Addai, Gabriel De Souza and Kevin Herrera… that draw is the only time the sides have met in Hartford with the other three matches played in Boston… only four members of the current squad have played against Hartford City before and all in home matches: Jhonata Batista, Jake Wagmeister, Rigoberto Jimenez, Santi Cardona… former Lions defender and occasional striker Filipe Dutra, who played 734 minutes in 10 matches for Boston City in 2017, scoring 2 goals, will line up for the Colts against his former team… this is one of two matches opening the NPSL Northeast Regional Conference North Atlantic Division season, along with New York Cosmos vs. New York Athletic Club.