Two Stockade Players Up for NPSL Goal of the Year — Vote Today!

 

One was a wonder-strike from distance. The other was a skillful turn-and-shoot match-winner.

Either way, both were huge moments for Kingston Stockade FC's successful 2017 campaign. And both are up for the NPSL Goal of the Year.

As seen via the tweets below, Stockade FC forwards Pedro Espindola and Michael Creswick have had golazos nominated for the Staples Make More Happen Goal of the Year.

Voting is measured by retweets and likes on Twitter, so please open the tweets below in your account and RT/❤️ the heck out of them to help us get our players some national recognition!    (Yes, you'll need to have a Twitter account in order to cast a vote.)

And while we encourage you to pick your fave, if you're having trouble deciding 🤔, then we advise you to just retweet and/or like both of them and see where things go from there! 

 
 

Dear Fans, Go Vote for Your Favorite Stockade Players for 2017 All-NPSL Team!

By Randy Kim, Kingston Stockade FC General Manager

Kingston Stockade FC might have lost in the playoffs, but that doesn't mean we're completely out of the running when it comes to end-of-season glory.

On Thursday, the NPSL announced via Twitter that fan voting will be used to determine the league's "National Best XI" (a.k.a. "All-NPSL Team"), which is pretty awesome. You can click here to vote in the awards. Please note that voting is now open and only goes until this coming Sunday, July 30!

Now, naturally, we at Stockade FC encourage you to vote for the best players in the league overall. But we'd also like to make it as easy as possible for you to vote for as many of your favorite Stockade FC players as well. So with that in mind, we have listed all of our players below in the format the league is asking fans to submit names in their ballot ("Player/Club"). All you have to do is copy the Stockade player you'd like to vote for (make sure to include back-slash and team in the field), paste it into the corresponding field on the voting page, and then submit when you've picked all 11 players (1 goalkeeper, 4 defenders, 3 midfielders and 3 forwards).

And again, please pick the best players in the league. But if you happen to be of a mindset that the top 11 players in NPSL this season were all Stockade players ... well, that's completely fine with us. ;-)

(Note: Players are listed below in rough order of appearances coupled with minutes played for the 2017 season.)

CLICK HERE TO VOTE FOR ALL-NPSL TEAM

GOALKEEPERS:
Steve Skonieczny/Kingston Stockade FC (#1)
David Giddings/Kingston Stockade FC (#12)
TJ Zehner/Kingston Stockade FC (#0)

DEFENDERS:
Jamal Lis-Simmons/Kingston Stockade FC (#17)
Juan Gatti/Kingston Stockade FC (#25)
Scott Zobre/Kingston Stockade FC (#22)
Matel Anasta/Kingston Stockade FC (#24)
Brandon Curtis/Kingston Stockade FC (#10)
Phil Barrett/Kingston Stockade FC (#20)
Tom Steigerwald/Kingston Stockade FC (#21)
Joe Bogart/Kingston Stockade FC (#14)
Kevin Kappock/Kingston Stockade FC (#2)

MIDFIELDERS:
Matt Koziol/Kingston Stockade FC (#8)
Marco Kloster/Kingston Stockade FC (#33)
Ross Macklin/Kingston Stockade FC (#4)
Mikey Lanzetta/Kingston Stockade FC (#18)
Ernest Mitchell/Kingston Stockade FC (#6)
Josh Maley/Kingston Stockade FC (#28)
Mike Konicoff/Kingston Stockade FC (#16)
Eamonn Conway/Kingston Stockade FC (#29)

FORWARDS:
Pedro Espindola/Kingston Stockade FC (#13)
Eric Fortier/Kingston Stockade FC (#11)
Michael Creswick/Kingston Stockade FC (#9)
David Nkansah-Siriboe/Kingston Stockade FC (#3)
Bruce Jeter/Kingston Stockade FC (#23)
Victor Guirma/Kingston Stockade FC (#19)
Mike Corbi/Kingston Stockade FC (#7)

Despite Playoff Loss, Stockade and Fans Don't Go Quietly Into the Night

MADISON, N.J. — At the end of the day — or at the end of the season, rather — only one team in the league actually finishes in precisely the fashion they'd hoped for, with that "finish" being a championship trophy. For the rest, the end of the season is met with some measures of both disappointment and accomplishment, with the balance depending on what the stated goals were from the outset of the campaign.

For some clubs, success is a title at all costs. For others, it's turning a profit at the gate or selling massive quantities of club merchandise. And for others, it's simply staying afloat.

For Kingston Stockade FC, success is about an upward trajectory on the pitch that is matched by the connection to the club felt by the local Hudson Valley supporters. 

So viewed from this vantage point, the initial take on Stockade FC's 2017 NPSL season is that the positives outweigh the negatives. And by a heavy measure, at that.

That said, Stockade FC's 2017 campaign ultimately did come to an end on Saturday night in New Jersey, courtesy of a tough 6-3 road loss to Clarkstown SC Eagles in the 2017 NPSL Playoffs Powered By Mitre.

But the results on the pitch tell just a sliver of the story for the second-year Hudson Valley club. The ultra-rare bond between players, staff and fans is what truly dominated the mood on this humid July night.

Yet the final score is always the foremost storyline in sports. As it should be. And in this one, while Stockade FC showed plenty of ability on the turf early on, Clarkstown's skill and physicality ultimately outdid the visitors.

Stockade opened the scoring in the 11th minute, when star attacker Pedro Espindola did his best Arjen Robben impersonation — only with his right boot rather than his left — by cutting inside from the left off of a short corner kick and sending a scorching shot past the Clarkstown goalkeeper to give Stockade a 1-0 lead.

Espindola then doubled Stockade's lead in the 41st minute, courtesy of a penalty that was earned by forward Bruce Jeter. Jeter and Espindola had proven to be a handful for the Clarkstown defense for much of the first half, so it was a tough blow for Stockade FC when Jeter had to be subbed off moments later in the 42nd minute.

Kingston nearly went in to the locker room with a two-goal lead, but Clarkstown scored in the 45th minute to make it 2-1 going into the half.

The goal seemed to give Clarkstown a good bit of confidence, and despite some spirited play from Stockade, the home side mostly took control of proceedings from that point forward. The Eagles scored in the 55th, 60th, 79th, 89th and 90th minutes to reel off five unanswered goals and put the score at 6-2.

It was at this point that the Stockade FC players and 274 traveling fans — a wildly impressive number at this level — could have packed up their boots and drums and slinked quietly away into the night. But that wasn't the case.

And what unfolded from there was truly remarkable, indeed.

After the sixth Clarkstown goal, with the match nearly over and any chance of Stockade making a comeback completely gone, the visiting fans from the Hudson Valley didn't grow quieter in the face of defeat. They somehow managed to get even louder. They began singing with renewed vigor and passion. Led by the Dutch Guard supporters group, it was the fans' way of saying thank you to a hard-working Stockade side that had accomplished more than anyone expected in their sophomore season.

Seemingly boosted by the traveling fans, Stockade captain Jamal Lis-Simmons gave these loyal supporters something legitimate to celebrate. The 35-year-old captain collected the ball off of a corner-kick clearance and confidently blasted a daisy-cutter from some distance to cut the score to 6-3. The lovely strike didn't have much, if any, chance of leading to a Kingston comeback, as it came after the 90th minute. But to see the heart and soul of the team score such a lovely goal with what was nearly the team's final touch of the season seemed a very fitting way to wrap up the 2017 campaign, one that saw the Hudson Valley club defy all odds by winning the Atlantic White Conference title and reach the regional playoffs over clubs from bigger cities like Boston, Providence and Hartford.

Shortly after this point, the final whistle blew and play stopped. 

But the Stockade fans didn't. 

After the referee's whistle had signaled the end of the match, and both sets of players were shaking hands on the pitch, the away fans continued to sing. 

The Stockade players huddled with head coach David Lindholm as he addressed them emphatically in the aftermath of the loss. The away fans continued to sing.

Some of the players tended to tired limbs with the trainer. Others hydrated after a long night. A few chatted politely and shook hands with rival opposing players they knew from the Northeast soccer circuit, as is customary after these matches. 

Yet the Stockade fans continued to bang their drums and sing.

The Kingston supporters sang for a good 10 (15?) minutes after the final whistle. Finally, after proper post-match proceedings had been tended to, coach Lindholm and his players were able to walk over to the traveling contingent.

The players then clapped to the fans. And the fans sang back even louder still.

 

The scene was truly one to behold, and stood for all that's good in the beautiful game. For, this is semi-pro soccer, after all, where players are unpaid and fans sit in metal bleachers in the rain, in small, Jumbotron-free stadiums that don't always have concessions, let alone proper permanent restrooms. 

Yet amazingly the scene still didn't stop there. Stockade fans young and old then lined the railing of the stands and the players walked by in single-file fashion, shaking hands with every fan along the way.

At this point, it finally looked like things were over — stadium security had driven over in a golf cart to say the drumming and singing had to stop; they had to turn off the lights and lock up the stadium, after all. But then the players suddenly wheeled around and started gesturing towards the fans. Lis-Simmons and Lindholm and club chairman Dennis Crowley began motioning for everyone to head to the center of the stands. At first it was unclear why, but then it became apparent why they were asking everyone to join together.

It was time for a massive group photo.

You can see the photo at the top of the story. It's a terrific shot; the players standing tall despite the exhaustion of a long night and season; the fans close behind them, still smiling and waving, in full support of the Kingston club no matter where they travel and what the outcome.

(More: Crispin Kott on Stockade's amazing away support)

It's a photo for the club trophy case, to be certain. One that will stand proudly next to the conference trophy, a piece of hardware that was won in just the club's second season of existence.

Given what was on display in New Jersey on this summer night, one shouldn't be surprised if there's additional silverware to be put on display in Kingston soon. But whether that's the case or not, expect the Stockade fans to show up every time their club takes the pitch. Home or away.

By Randy Kim, Kingston Stockade FC General Manager

Playoff Preview: Stockade FC Travels to Clarkstown for Northeast Regional Semifinals

Kingston Stockade FC takes the pitch again on Saturday in New Jersey, as part of the 2017 NPSL Playoffs Powered by Mitre. (Photo by Leanne Keator at Ride The Tide Photography)

Kingston Stockade FC takes the pitch again on Saturday in New Jersey, as part of the 2017 NPSL Playoffs Powered by Mitre. (Photo by Leanne Keator at Ride The Tide Photography)

By Randy Kim, Kingston Stockade FC General Manager

KINGSTON, N.Y. — One week after the self-proclaimed "biggest match in club history," Kingston Stockade FC now has to dust itself off and go it again. No time to bask in any glory; the next "biggest match ..." is already on the calendar. And naturally, the trend will continue should the club win yet again this weekend.

Such is the nature of playoff soccer.

By virtue of an impressive 2-1 home win over Hartford City FC in the Atlantic White conference championship this past Saturday, Stockade FC now travels to Clarkstown SC Eagles in an NPSL Playoffs Powered by Mitre Northeast Region Semifinal showdown. The match takes place on Saturday, July 22 at 7 p.m. ET at Ranger Stadium on the Drew University campus in Madison, New Jersey, and the winner of the one-off showdown advances to the Northeast Regional finals against either Elm City Express or Legacy 76.

(NOTE: Stockade FC has booked a Trailways bus to take fans between Kingston and Madison. Schedule and pricing details can be found here.)

But perhaps just as importantly, the winner of Saturday's match in New Jersey would be one of the last eight remaining teams in the playoffs, meaning the winner would be guaranteed a spot in the 2018 U.S. Open Cup — a long-stated goal of Stockade chairman Dennis Crowley — as the NPSL gets a minimum of eight U.S. Open Cup spots.

"When we first created Stockade, we were open about the fact that one of our big goals was to qualify for the U.S. Open Cup," said Crowley. "To have the chance to pull this off in just our second season has to be seen as a tremendous accomplishment for all involved. I'm very, very proud of the coach, the players, the volunteers, and, most importantly, the fans in the Hudson Valley that have come out to support the club."

Stockade captain Jamal Lis-Simmons echoed Crowley's pride in all the team has achieved so far.

"It's just unbelievable. To think that we just started this last year and that we've reached this level in our second year, it's just unbelievable," said Lis-Simmons. "I've been in this community my whole life. Talent has always been here, and just hearing this first from Dennis and having this vision, I knew that there was enough talent here to make some noise. I knew the community would come out and back us, and this is just unbelievable at this point."

It's worth noting that falling in the regional semifinals wouldn't necessarily mean that Stockade won't take part in the U.S. Open Cup, a competition that was founded in 1914 and is the world's third-longest-running open soccer tournament. It only means that the club wouldn't have a guaranteed spot, as the NPSL is still unsure of how many of the league's teams will qualify for the esteemed domestic competition. In years past, up to 18 NPSL teams have made it into the U.S. Open Cup, so, again, Stockade's fate wouldn't necessarily be sealed with a loss.

That said, Cup qualifications aside, the club has aspirations of taking this run in the NPSL postseason as far as they can, even if the competition is going to get tougher and tougher from this point forward.

"There are a lot of good teams left. Everybody's going to be good at this phase," said Stockade coach David Lindholm. "We're going to need to play our best soccer, and we're going to need to get a little luck, and if we do those things, it's just four wins to the national championship. So, we're going to do our best to prepare, but it's just going to be putting out there what we have and seeing if it's good enough."

The Stockade captain also feels as though this playoff run still has some life left in it.

"We feel great," said Stockade captain Jamal Lis-Simmons. "We feel like we have a deep team, lots of talent, and we're not done. We've got games left in us for sure."

Stockade's next playoff opponent, Clarkstown SC Eagles, haven't lost a match since June 10. Here's a closer look at Clarkstown's 2017 season:

- Clarkstown finished the regular season with a 6-2-2 record (wins, draws, losses) in the Keystone Conference, good enough for 2nd place.

- Clarkstown advanced to the Northeast Regional Semifinals by virtue of a 3-1 win at New Jersey Copa FC in the Keystone Conference championship. The match actually featured a literal kiss-the-baby goal celebration by the home side that made it on to ESPN's SportsCenter.

- Clarkstown's losses came at home against New Jersey Copa FC (1-0 on May 31) and away at Buxmont Torch (2-1 on June 10).

- Clarkstown has a +31 goal differential over its 10 regular-season matches, with 40 goals scored and 9 goals allowed.

- Clarkstown has a +19 goal differential courtesy of two matches — a 10-0 win at home against Greater Binghamton FC and a 9-0 away win at Hershey FC. That said, Binghamton and Hershey only won a combined 3 of 20 matches this season, with Binghamton losing every one of the 10 matches they played this season.

Stockade Captures Division Title With Win Over Hartford City

KINGSTON, N.Y. — It was a long road to glory, but in the end it was well worth it for all involved.

Kingston Stockade FC triumphed over Hartford City FC, 2-1, on Saturday evening in the Atlantic White Conference Championship. The match, which went to extra time, was played at Dietz Stadium in front of a club-record 1,393 fans.

The win gave Stockade its first trophy in the club's second season.

Just as they did upon their first visit to Kingston, Hartford opened the scoring early. Sebastian Stezewski slotted home from close range after a Stockade defensive miscue in the 5th minute to give the visitors an early 1-0 lead.

Stockade FC responded relatively quickly, however, as Bruce Jeter managed to nod home a long cross in the 15th minute to level the score at 1-1.

The remainder of the first half was played without either side asking too much of the other.

The game livened up in the second half, however, as both sides stepped up the pace, intensity and skill. Despite numerous chances going both ways — including a lovely strike from distance by Stockade midfielder Ross Macklin that was skillfully saved by Hartford goalkeeper Hami Kara — neither team was able to break through.

Until the 94th minute, that is.

In the first stanza of extra time, Stockade forward Michael Creswick, who was subbed on in the 69th minute, collected the ball on the right side of the field and struck a lovely, spinning half-volley from some distance. The ball struck the far post and found its way into the back of the net, giving the thousand-plus fans a moment to celebrate.

With the win, Stockade advances to the regional semifinals against Clarkstown SC Eagles. The match will take place on Saturday, July 22 at 7:30 p.m. in Madison, New Jersey.

Man of the Match: Ross Macklin

Kingston Stockade FC in the 2017 NPSL Playoffs: Everything You Need to Know

KINGSTON, N.Y. — It's a grand occasion for the second-year Hudson Valley soccer club, made even bigger by the fact that the home fans will get to share in the historic moment as well.

Kingston Stockade FC will make its first-ever appearance in the NPSL Playoffs on Saturday, July 15. The match will be at home at Dietz Stadium, with kickoff scheduled for 6 p.m.

- For the full 2017 NPSL Playoff bracket, CLICK HERE

By virtue of finishing with the best regular-season record (7-1-4, wins-draws-losses; click here for the complete NPSL standings) in the Atlantic White Division of the Northeast Conference, Stockade FC gets a bye in the first round and will host the winner of the 2nd vs. 3rd place match between Boston City FC and Hartford City FC (Boston hosts the one-off match on Wednesday, July 12).

Stockade FC has found some degree of success against both of their potential playoff opponents this season, as they beat Boston City at home, 2-1, on June 10, but lost to Boston City on the road, 2-0, on July 8. As for Hartford City, Stockade FC lost to the Connecticut club at home, 3-1, in the first match of the season on May 6, but then drew with them on the road, 2-2, on May 27.

Should Stockade FC win the home match on July 16 and advance to the next round, they will face the winner of the Atlantic Blue Division playoffs. Elm City Express is the top seed in the Atlantic Blue, with Brooklyn Italians in second place and TSF FC in third place. Stockade FC fell at the last gasp at Brooklyn, 1-0, on June 17, and also lost a late one to TSF FC, 4-3, at Dietz Stadium on July 3. Kingston has not played Elm City yet.

Dietz Stadium will host its first-ever NPSL playoff match on Saturday, July 15.

Dietz Stadium will host its first-ever NPSL playoff match on Saturday, July 15.

Here are a few more key facts about the 2017 NPSL Playoffs:

- The Northeast Regional semifinals would take place on Saturday, July 22. The semifinals would consist of the winners of the Atlantic Blue, Atlantic White, Keystone and Mid-Atlantic Divisions. The highest seed of the four (based on points per game; in order to see NPSL points-per-game standings, click on this link, then click on the "Power Rankings" tab) would host the lowest seed, with the second-highest seed hosting the third-highest seed. (The full 2017 NPSL Playoffs bracket can be seen here.)

- The Northeast Regional finals would take place on Saturday, July 29. The finals would be hosted by the highest remaining seed of the four above divisions.

- The winner of the Northeast Region advances to the NPSL National Semifinals on Saturday, August 5, with the highest remaining seed hosting the fourth-highest remaining seed, and the second-highest seed hosting the third-highest seed.

- The 2017 NPSL National Final would take place on Saturday, August 12. AFC Cleveland won the 2016 NPSL National Final.

- The winners of the four regions are guaranteed spots in the 2018 U.S. Open Cup, a national U.S. tournament that involves teams from MLS, NASL, USL, PDL, NPSL and amateur clubs as well. Beyond that, the number of NPSL clubs to qualify for the 2018 U.S. Open Cup is still to be determined (last year, 18 NPSL teams qualified for the US Open Cup). The 2017 U.S. Open Cup is still being contested. MLS side FC Dallas won the 2016 U.S. Open Cup.

- The winner of the U.S. Open Cup earns a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League against teams from Mexico, Canada and various Central American leagues. C.F. Pachuca of Mexico won the 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League in April of 2017.

- The winner of the CONCACAF Champions League earns a spot in the FIFA Club World Cup, a seven-team tournament involving winners of the Asian Champions League, African Champions League, CONCACAF Champions League, Copa Libertadores Champions (South America), Oceania Champions League and UEFA Champions League. The current FIFA Club World Cup champions are Real Madrid from Spain.

By Randy Kim, Kingston Stockade FC General Manager

Stockade Falls on Road in Final Match, But Finishes Top of the Division

Stockade's Starting XI at Boston City FC. (Photo: Dan Hoffay)

Stockade's Starting XI at Boston City FC. (Photo: Dan Hoffay)

MALDEN, Mass. — In soccer, and sports in general, you never hope for the end result to be a loss when you take the pitch. But if you do fall, you at least hope to have gained something from the experience. That can certainly be seen as the case for Kingston Stockade FC from their travels over the weekend.

Stockade FC fell to Boston City FC, 2-0, on Saturday, just outside of Boston. The loss was the final match of the regular season for Stockade, who finished the 2017 campaign with a 7-1-4 record (wins, draws, losses), a good enough record for first place in the Atlantic White Division of the Northeast Conference.

While the result was ultimately a disappointment, Stockade FC was able to use all seven subs for the match and give plenty of players some valuable minutes — as well as the starters some valuable rest — just one week before Stockade's first-ever playoff match.

Play was extremely even for the entirety of the first half, as both sides showed high levels of intensity in what has become a growing rivalry between the two clubs. Boston City broke through just before the half in the 45th minute, though, courtesy of a long set piece, which was ultimately converted by Isaac Addai.

Stockade then made five subs at the half, bringing David Nkansah-Siriboe, Mike Corbi, Joe Bogart, Victor Guirma and T.J. Zehner on for Bruce Jeter, Marco Kloster, Ernie Mitchell, Eric Fortier and Steve Skonieczny.

Tommy Steigerwald then came on in the 56th minute for Juan Gatti, and Mike Lanzetta was subbed for Pedro Espindola in the 67th minute to complete the substitutions on the day.

Stockade kept the pressure on Boston throughout the second half, and was the better bet to score in the final 45. Yet Boston managed to break through on the counter in the 90th minute to make it 2-0, as the Stockade defense was stretched thin due to the visitors pushing so far forward in the hopes of leveling the match.

Stockade's next match will be a playoff tilt at Dietz Stadium against the winner of the Boston City-Hartford City match to be played this week. The club's first-ever playoff match is scheduled for Saturday, July 15 at 6 p.m. in Kingston.

Man of the Match: Brandon Curtis

Stockade Starting XI: Skonieczny; Curtis, Gatti, Mitchell, Zobre; Koziol, Macklin, Kloster; Jeter, Espindola, Fortier

Despite Historic Occasion and Packed Stands, Stockade Falls to TSF

Stockade's Brandon Curtis goes up for a header against TSF FC. (Photo by Leanne Keator, Ride the Tide Photography)

Stockade's Brandon Curtis goes up for a header against TSF FC. (Photo by Leanne Keator, Ride the Tide Photography)

KINGSTON, N.Y. — On a historic day filled with much to celebrate for Kingston Stockade FC, the only thing missing for the home side was a victory on the pitch.

Getting the bad news out of the way first, Stockade fell to TSF FC on Monday, 4-3, in an entertaining, high-scoring affair.

And while the result might not have been exactly what the hosts wanted, it at least provided great entertainment for the 1,129 fans in attendance at Dietz Stadium, which was the largest home crowd in Stockade history, and also the first time the club has ever broken the one-thousand mark.

Stockade was also able to celebrate the fact that the club had wrapped up the top spot in the Atlantic White Conference, as results elsewhere meant that Kingston had the best record in the conference for the 2017 NPSL season with one match to play. This also meant that Stockade had secured its first-ever playoff spot.

As for the match itself, while it was a very exciting game, the end result wasn't exactly what the hosts were hoping for. (Full match highlights below.)

TSF opened up the scoring in the 37th minute to take a 1-0 lead.

Stockade's Eric Fortier missed a golden opportunity in the 39th minute, as he sent a close-range shot directly into the TSF keeper's chest.

Fortier showed himself to have quite the short memory, however, as he quickly redeemed himself in the 45th minute, with a powerful strike to level things at 1-1.

TSF then scored their second goal in the 52nd minute, only for Fortier to level things yet again with a goal in the 58th minute to put it at 2-2. The goals were Fortier's 3rd and 4th of the season.

Play went back and forth for the next 10 minutes before Matt Koziol scored his 5th goal of the season off of a lovely shot from distance to make it 3-2. TSF then scored in the 81st and 86th minutes, however, to complete the scoring on the day and leave the final tally at 4-3.

Stockade's next match is on Saturday, July 8 at Boston City FC.

Stockade then will host its first ever playoff match on Saturday, July 15 at Dietz Stadium (or Sunday, July 16 in case of a rain delay). Kingston will play the winner of the 2nd vs. 3rd place playoff match earlier in the week.

Man of the Match: Eric Fortier

Stockade Starting XI: Skonieczny; Curtis, Lis-Simmons, Gatti, Zobre; Koziol, Lanzetta, Mitchell; Fortier, Espindola, Jeter