By Scott Adamson
If the weather forecast is correct, Friday in McDonough, Georgia, will be a beautiful night for The Beautiful Game.
And that means the stars will finally come out for the Greenville Football Club.
Five and a half months after it was formed, the Upstate of South Carolina’s entry in the National Premier Soccer League begins its inaugural season with a road match against Georgia Revolution FC.
The contest is set for 7:30 p.m. at Henry County High School Stadium.
“I think we have some strong leadership and experience, particularly down the spine of the team,” Greenville FC head coach Lee Squires said. “(Defender) Willie Hunt has played professionally for years and has great leadership qualities. And then the Furman guys, (defender) Dalton Souder and (midfielder) Danny Kierath, will be key with leadership and their home field advantage early on.”
The club rolled out its roster late last month, which includes goalkeeper Paul Tyson, defenders Lewis Norvock and Aiden Wixted, midfielders Miguel Teos, Julien Coulomb and Laurence Wyke, and attackers Ignacio Monchetti, Lee Wattam and Malcom Frago.
Hunt, a Greer native, has spent time in the North American Soccer League and United Soccer League. He played for the Atlanta Silverbacks from 2011-13.
“Of course we need our goalkeeper to be a big presence, too,” Squires said. “But each guy will be aiming to step up in their own way.”
The mixture of youth and experience sets the stage for a club that should be competitive – and entertaining – from the outset.
“I think we have a very balanced roster that is capable of adapting to different challenges and has the ability to win games in various ways,” Squires said. “All that matters early on is wins, and we’ve stressed to the players this week that we can add layers to our performances and create our identity or brand throughout the season.
“Bu with such limited time together before Friday’s opener, winning is all that matters. But I do think we will be very exciting to watch.”
The Revolution was formed in 2010 and began play in the NPSL a year later.
Last season the club struggled to a 3-4-11 overall record and was 0-3-9 in the NPSL, but looks to bounce back in 2018.
The squad is led by midfielder Scott Redding, a Wofford product, and features three other players who were on last year’s team; forward Devon Patterson, defender Adam McCabe and 2017 team MVP, defender George Rodriguez.
Steo Magennis, boss of the Georgia Gwinnett College Grizzlies, is in his first season as head coach of the Revs.
Both the hosts and visitors compete in the Southeast Conference Division of the NPSL South Region.
So how much scouting has Squires done on his club’s opening night foe?
“Honestly, very little,” he said. “Not to be disrespectful to the Revs, but we have so much going on with ourselves which has taken all our efforts and attentions. We know the Revs will be strong opposition and well-coached and we need to be ready, but everything has been about bringing us together quickly. Also, every summer league team is largely different year to year, and no one has all of their players available yet, so there’s not too much to go on.
“We’ll be well prepared and ready for the challenge.”
Greenville FC begins the home portion of its schedule May 12 when Inter Nashville FC comes to Stone Stadium for a 7 p.m. start.
For ticket information, go to www.gvlfc.com.