Niagara Gazette — BUFFALO — Tonight, local soccer fans will gather at All-High Stadium in Buffalo to cheer on FC Buffalo, the semi-pro team that opens its fourth season this year in the National Premier Soccer League.
Though based in Buffalo and featuring an official slogan "For Our City," FC Buffalo — that's Football Club of Buffalo — features a roster including players from all over Western New York.
Among them is 21-year-old goalkeeper Jeremy Figler of Grand Island, who also plays for the University at Buffalo.
"It's a good program," said Figler. "It's got good facilities. The guys and the people who came out this year are quality players, so it was definitely a big lure to come here."
Also luring Figler to FC Buffalo was the chance to work with Brendan Murphy, FC Buffalo's head coach and someone who worked with Figler for three years while as an assistant coach at U.B.
"I've followed the club for years and have been very interested in the progress they made," said Murphy, whose previous coaching experience also includes assistant roles at Niagara University and Buffalo State College. "I see the owners doing a great job marketing the club and building the interest.
"It's been something I've always wanted to be a part of, to coach players at this level, to be able to put a roster together of players of this caliber. It's a coach's dream, really."
The players Murphy will work with at FC Buffalo include current or former NCAA college players. Some former FC Buffalo players have gone on to brief professional careers domestically and internationally. One alumnus, Kendell McFayden, now plays for the Rochester Rhinos of the United Soccer Leagues Professional Division.
The team will open its season hosting Zanesville Athletic and then the following week welcomes Sparta Michigan to All-High Stadium. The NPSL has 59 member clubs broken down into ten regional divisions. Buffalo plays in the Midwest-Great Lakes division. Their biggest rivals are the Erie Admirals, the Buffalo soccer fan's version of the Miami Dolphins or Boston Bruins in terms of hate level.