August 29, 2020
After months of being unable to play soccer as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Potros FC finally return to play this Saturday, August 29th.
Five months have passed since Potros took the field against Sting Black on March 8th in what would unknowingly become their final game of the season. Now they are back and are optimistic about what’s in store for them in this second half of 2020.
Since the last time Potros played, some new changes have occurred. Firstly, they are no longer a part of the Atlanta District Amateur Soccer League (ADASL). Potros, who were on track to finish 1st in the Division II standings of the ADASL for the 2019-2020 season, ended up finishing 4th due to it being cut short as a result of the pandemic.
Potros have now officially moved up to the United Premier Soccer League (UPSL), which is an American professional development soccer league that was founded in Santa Ana, California, where teams compete at the national level and are split into regional conferences. Teams play against opponents in their region first (by state) and then move on to play against teams in other regions until potentially reaching the national championship. As of right now Georgia only has one division, but is expected to add another one next season.
The excitement of entering this pro-development league is something that can be helpful towards motivating and accelerating the growth of talent among the team. Left-back defender Peter Ayo-Ajibike states,
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Potros, it’s that we like to look for challenges, we don’t like to settle we like to improve every year every month, every day, every week. We are always trying to improve and look for that “Okay, where are our flaws?”. You know we didn’t leave out of ADASL because we thought it was too easy, we just wanted to look for something that would make us sweat, and you know make us fight harder so I love the idea of going into UPSL, it’s a great opportunity for all of us.”
However, making it into the UPSL is no small task. There is a screening process that takes place where you have to meet the requirements of the league. You have to go through interviews, and even after getting accepted the league continues to monitor the way the team is run in order to ensure that each member is serious about looking to improve the league.
The level of competitiveness at this level is a step higher because the teams Potros will encounter are from the entire state of Georgia as opposed to going against teams who are from the Metro Atlanta area like in the ADASL. Potros FC players however, say that they are up for the challenge. As midfielder Gerard Forges states,
“It’s more intense you know, especially playing against guys that want to go pro, and that want to succeed in soccer. So of course the intensity is going to be much higher and there will be much younger competition also.”
Try Outs-New Roster
Potros held their 2020-2021 season tryouts on July 19, 2020 at the Franklin Gateway Sports Complex in Marietta, in which 50+ aspiring candidates showed up ready to prove themselves for a spot on the team.
The tryouts consisted of small group warm-up, then potential candidates were split into groups and took turns going 11v11 in front of club co-founders Christopher and Benjamin Uranga.
With so many people showing up for tryouts the process took over about two to three hours. This is an inspiring sight to see, if you are a club founder or team manager. The idea that so many people took interest and time to come and try out for the team, surely must feel reassuring that not only is the team becoming successful in the sense of its competitiveness, but also how it’s becoming popular and sought after.
Potros FC has only been around for three seasons, and players are already so grateful for the experience of having played on the team. As left-back defender Peter Ayo-Ajibike puts it,
“The team teaches you a lot about life, it’s not just only about soccer. The coach is very motivated to do good outside of the field, and I like that because there are a lot of soccer players that they feel that coaches only focus on their soccer life and no their outside life, so it kind of gives you a family feel. This team is very motivated in our outside life or outside of the game but very motivated within us as well, like if one of us were to get sick or if anyone is hurting we are always there to motivate each other and to uplift each other’s spirits.”
Aside from expecting talent and hard work from the players, club co-founder Christopher Uranga also expects seriousness and dedication as well,
“We are looking for players that are going to help us solve the problems on the field and compete. If that means an entire new team, then nobody from last season has a secure spot. We want to encourage competition within the team, that way nobody gets comfortable and continue to work hard and improve.”
The final roster was released earlier this month find the link here: https://www.potrosfc.com/roster
Goals and Upcoming Matches
This upcoming season will be one that redefines Potros FC, as it takes on the new challenge of competing at a larger regional and national level. The coach and team managers will be tested on how well they can prepare the new and returning players to their desired style of play. They will also have the task of preparing for their new regional conference opponents. The winning mentality and never stop-trying attitude is something that is very much present within the team, which becomes very influential during games. According to the 2019-2020 Potros FC leading goal-scorer Antonio “Chino” Carrero,
“I like how the guys coexist and interact with each other, I like their positivity and there never give-up attitude. That even if you are losing you still have to give it your all to catch up and win, they always have a great desire to win each game and I think that is something that greatly influences us during each game.”
It is that kind of positivity and desire that leads them to believe that they can make it far in the UPSL. When defender and co-founder Benjamin Uranga was asked how far he thought they would go this season (all before having finalized the roster) he stated,
“I’m going to say first place. Manifestation.”
Potros FC begin their 2020-2021 season away with a match-up against LSA Limeño at the Silverbacks Floor and Decor Field on Saturday, August 29, 2020 at 3:00pm. The game will be available to stream through this link: https://mycujoo.tv/view/event/ckdw3pjoj3c1f0gazjixtafag?src=iOS_BC
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