Niagara Gazette

Sports

May 10, 2013

The Other Football: FC Buffalo opens season tonight

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — By simply having a fourth season, FC Buffalo has outlived its two soccer predecessors combined, Buffalo City FC and before that Queen City FC, which collectively played for only three seasons until FC Buffalo came along.

So how has FC Buffalo been able to survive when the previous teams did not? For one thing, the ownership team is made up a half-dozen local natives, with Nick Mendola serving as its president. They're all passionate soccer fans who were simply willing to make it work, one way or another. 

They've certainly not made a fortune on this venture.

"When you look at what we've been able to do, we had some really trying times," said Mendola. "Even last year, we were awful (the team finished in last place with just one win) but our fans showed up and they sang and they were loud. They've even made, I believe, a 15-foot by 12-foot flag that they wave at our games." 

The players are most appreciative.

"I really like what this organization is trying to do," said defender and Grand Island native Kolby Banker. "The professionalism of them all. We're all a tight-knit group. A lot of us know each other from high school. We just wanted to get together and do something really serious. This organization has done a great job of it."

For being a small local club, they've had a couple of moments in the national and even international spotlight. When they first began operations, FC Buffalo hosted a contest to come up with a team mascot name. The winning entry was "Blitzers", a salute to Buffalo-area native and CNN journalist Wolf Blitzer. The name helped the team earn some air time, with Mendola and chief operating officer Scott Frauenhofer appearing on CNN to enjoy the moment.

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