Jacksonville Armada FC

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JacksonvilleArmadaFC.PNG
Full name Jacksonville Armada
Football Club
Nickname(s) Boys in Blue
Founded 2013; 4 years ago (2013)
Stadium Hodges Stadium (2017–present)
Community First Park (2015–2016)
Ground Capacity 9,400
Owner Robert Palmer
Head Coach Mark Lowry
League North American Soccer League
2016 Spring: 10th
Fall: 11th
Combined: 11th
Playoffs: DNQ
Website Club home page
Current season

Jacksonville Armada FC are a professional soccer team based in Jacksonville, Florida. They play in the North American Soccer League (NASL), the second tier of the American soccer pyramid, which they joined for the 2015 season. The Armada play their home games at Hodges Stadium on the campus of the University of North Florida.[1]

History[edit]

In May 2013, Jacksonville businessman Mark Frisch and former Major League Soccer player Darío Sala formed Sunshine Soccer Group with the intention of bringing professional soccer to Jacksonville. The effort was bolstered by several successful soccer matches held at EverBank Field, including two national team games that set records for international friendlies. The North American Soccer League invited the group to present a bid for a 2015 expansion team at their July 25, 2013 board meeting. The bid was accepted, and the NASL announced that Jacksonville and Oklahoma City FC would receive franchises for the 2015 season.[2][3][3][4]

The organization has announced that Sala would serve as general manager,[5] and former NFL Europe and Jacksonville Jaguars executive Steve Livingstone will serve as President.[6] On February 18, 2014, the team announced its name would be Jacksonville Armada FC, and that its colors would be navy blue, royal blue, gold, and white.[7] On June 11, 2014, the team announced it had hired former Argentine player José Luis Villarreal as its first head coach.[8]

The team began playing in the 2015 NASL Spring season.[3] After a few pre-season games in February and March, the club played its first league game, at home, on April 4, 2015, defeating FC Edmonton 3–1. On September 21, 2015, the club announced the dismissal of head coach Guillermo Hoyos, general manager Dario Sala and assistant coaches Edison Ibarra, Sebastian Fabres and Rafael Perez Nino. The Armada stood 11th and last in the North American Soccer League. The decision came just three months after the team had extended Hoyos' contract through the end of 2019. "Following an in-depth analysis of the team and operations, I am confident that a new direction is needed to turn around our team," Armada owner Mark Frisch said in a statement. Director of player development Eric Dade took over through the end of the 2015 NASL season.

On November 24, 2015, the Armada announced U.S. Soccer legend Tony Meola as the team's new head coach.[9] After nine-months in the job, Meola was fired on August 7, 2016, with Mark Lowry taking over as interim head coach for the remainder of the 2016 Fall Season.[10]

After the 2016 season ended, the NASL lost two teams to the then Div. III United Soccer League. At the time the USL had submitted to be promoted to Div. II with the NASL. Several NASL teams were then rumored to be shutting down or switching leagues as well as the possibility of the league losing its Div. II status.[11] In December 2016, there were several reports stating the Armada were about to fold and had released all their players due to mounting financial loses. The reports turned out to be false but the team did release five of their highest price players.[12] In January 2017, the NASL was approved to keep its Div. II status but Armada owner Frisch confirmed that he was looking to sell the team and that the league would likely be taking over the club.[13]

League and cup history[edit]

Season NASL Overall U.S. Open Cup Top goalscorer Managers Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor
Div. Pos. Pl. W D L GS GA P Name League
2015 Spring 6th 10 3 3 4 15 18 12 11th Third Round Guinea Alhassane Keita 7 Argentina José Luis Villarreal
Argentina Guillermo Ángel Hoyos
United States Eric Dade
Nike Winn-Dixie
Fall 11th 20 5 4 11 18 31 19
2016 Spring 10th 10 1 4 5 5 11 7 11th Fourth Round Cameroon Charles Eloundou
Guinea Alhassane Keita
6 United States Tony Meola
England Mark Lowry
Fall 11th 22 5 8 9 25 35 23
2017 Spring 4th 16 6 6 4 17 16 24 Fourth Round England Mark Lowry RP Funding
Fall

Stadium[edit]

On July 11, 2014, the Armada announced they would play their home games at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville (later re-dubbed Community First Park) in Downtown Jacksonville for at least three seasons. They hope to later construct their own expandable soccer-specific stadium.[14][15] In 2017, due to the high costs associated with playing at the Baseball Grounds, the Armada signed a lease to play at Hodges Stadium, a soccer and track and field stadium at the University of North Florida, in 2017.[16]

The team has also played games in EverBank Field, including their first exhibition game vs the Philadelphia Union, which set a modern-era NASL record for preseason attendance (13,934).[17] It was also the site for their first regular season game, which was a 3–1 victory over FC Edmonton. That game set the modern era NASL record for regular season attendance (16,164).[18]

Club culture[edit]

The Coastal Cup was established in 2010 and was originally contested between the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and Tampa Bay Rowdies, but with Jacksonville's entry into the league, the competition has become triangular.[19] The league has announced that beginning in the 2016 season a new Miami FC team will join the NASL.[20] This addition would make the Coastal Cup a four team affair.

The team is cheered on by Section 904,[21] the first supporters' group. Section 904 is known for their singing, drumming, and blue-and-yellow smoke; can be seen behind the goal at every home match.[22]

Players and staff[edit]

Current roster[edit]

As of July 13, 2017

No. Position Player Nation
1 Goalkeeper Patterson-Sewell, CalebCaleb Patterson-Sewell  United States
2 Defender Beckie, DrewDrew Beckie  Canada
3 Defender Doue, PeaboPeabo Doue  United States
4 Defender Jérôme, MechackMechack Jérôme  Haiti
5 Defender Pitchkolan, AaronAaron Pitchkolan  United States
6 Midfielder Maripuu, NicklasNicklas Maripuu  Sweden
8 Midfielder Blake, JackJack Blake  Scotland
9 Forward Glenn, JonathanJonathan Glenn  Trinidad and Tobago
10 Forward Banks, J. C.J. C. Banks  United States
11 Forward Johnson, JemalJemal Johnson  England
12 Defender Fisher, DevonDevon Fisher  United States
13 Goalkeeper Nasta, KyleKyle Nasta  United States
15 Defender O'Sullivan, MichaelMichael O'Sullivan  England
19 Midfielder George, KevanKevan George  Trinidad and Tobago
20 Midfielder Barrow, DannyDanny Barrow  Wales
22 Defender Ryden, KalenKalen Ryden  United States
23 Midfielder Steinberger, ZachZach Steinberger  United States
25 Midfielder Rebellón, BryamBryam Rebellón  Colombia
27 Forward Gebhard, DerekDerek Gebhard  United States
99 Forward Eloundou, CharlesCharles Eloundou  Cameroon

Developmental team[edit]

In 2016, the Armada announced that they had formed an under 23 team to play in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) as part of their development system. The team, Jacksonville United U-23, replaced Jacksonville United FC in the NPSL. The Armada retained Jacksonville United coach Pat Cannon.[23]

Individual records[edit]

Top goalscorers[edit]

As of Match played 12 July 2017
Name Years NASL U.S. Open Cup Total
1 Guinea Alhassane Keita 2015–2016 13 (42) 1 (2) 14 (44)
2 United States Zach Steinberger 2016, 2017–present 10 (34) 0 (1) 10 (35)
3 Haiti Pascal Millien 2015–2016 7 (37) 0 (2) 7 (39)
3 United States Jemal Johnson 2015–present 7 (63) 0 (3) 7 (66)
5 Cameroon Charles Eloundou 2016–present 6 (39) 0 (4) 6 (43)
6 United States J. C. Banks 2017–present 4 (14) 0 (2) 4 (16)
6 United States Derek Gebhard 2015–present 4 (32) 0 (3) 4 (35)
8 Colombia Jaime Castrillón 2015 3 (27) 0 (1) 3 (28)
8 Jamaica Akeil Barrett 2015 3 (23) 0 (1) 3 (24)
8 United States Matt Bahner 2015–2016 3 (45) 0 (1) 3 (46)
8 Scotland Jack Blake 2017–present 2 (12) 1 (2) 3 (14)

Most appearances[edit]

As of Match played 12 July 2017
Name Years NASL U.S. Open Cup Total
1 United States Jemal Johnson 2015–present 63 (7) 3 (0) 66 (7)
2 Haiti Mechack Jérôme 2015–present 44 (2) 3 (0) 47 (2)
3 Mexico Miguel Gallardo 2015–2016 43 (0) 3 (0) 46 (0)
3 United States Matt Bahner 2015–2016 45 (3) 1 (0) 46 (1)
5 Guinea Alhassane Keita 2015–2016 42 (13) 2 (1) 44 (14)
6 Trinidad and Tobago Kevan George 2016–present 41 (0) 2 (0) 43 (0)
6 Cameroon Charles Eloundou 2016–present 39 (6) 4 (0) 43 (6)
8 Argentina Lucas Scaglia 2015–2016 40 (2) 2 (0) 42 (2)
9 Haiti Pascal Millien 2015–2016 37 (7) 2 (0) 39 (7)
10 United States Zach Steinberger 2016, 2017–present 34 (10) 1 (0) 35 (10)
10 United States Derek Gebhard 2015–present 32 (4) 3 (0) 35 (4)

Managerial records[edit]

As of Match played 12 July 2017
Name Nat. From To P W D L GS GA %W Honours Notes
José Luis Villarreal  Argentina June 13, 2015 11 3 3 5 15 21 027.27
Guillermo Ángel Hoyos  Argentina June 14, 2015 September 21, 2015 13 3 2 8 10 20 023.08
Eric Dade  United States September 21, 2015 November 24, 2015[9] 7 2 2 3 8 11 028.57
Tony Meola  United States November 24, 2015[9] August 7, 2016[10] 20 3 6 11 14 29 015.00
Mark Lowry  England August 7, 2016[10] 30 10 12 8 36 35 033.33

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Jacksonville Armada FC has new home at Hodges Stadium". www.NASL.com. NASL. Retrieved February 6, 2017. 
  2. ^ Freeman, Clayton (July 25, 2013). "Jacksonville awarded NASL team to begin play in 2015". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "NASL Board of Governors Unanimously Approves Expansion To Jacksonville And Oklahoma City". North American Soccer League. Retrieved July 25, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Pro soccer coming to Jacksonville". Action News Jax. July 25, 2013. Retrieved February 18, 2014. 
  5. ^ Matt Soergel (September 9, 2013). "Jacksonville's new pro soccer team has big plans, much work to do". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved October 11, 2013. 
  6. ^ Pepper, Cole (October 8, 2013). "Jaguars Steve Livingstone To Head New Jax Pro Soccer Team". news.wjct.org. WJCT. Retrieved October 11, 2013. 
  7. ^ Soergel, Matt (February 18, 2014). "Jacksonville soccer team to be called the Jacksonville Armada FC". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved February 19, 2014. (Subscription required (help)). 
  8. ^ "Villarreal named first head coach of Armada FC". Financial News & Daily Record. June 11, 2014. Retrieved June 11, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c "LEGENDARY U.S. SOCCER HALL OF FAME GOALKEEPER TONY MEOLA HIRED AS ARMADA FC HEAD COACH AND TECHNICAL DIRECTOR". 
  10. ^ a b c "ARMADA FC PARTS WAYS WITH HEAD COACH/TECHNICAL DIRECTOR TONY MEOLA, ASSISTANT COACH JIM ROONEY". armadafc.com. Jacksonville Armada FC. 7 August 2016. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  11. ^ "Decision on future of Jacksonville Armada's league on hold". First Coast News. December 23, 2016. 
  12. ^ "Armada soccer team lays of staffers, future uncertain". First Coast News. December 15, 2016. 
  13. ^ "CEO Mark Frisch Issues Statement About Armada's Future". OurSports Central. January 7, 2017. 
  14. ^ "ARMADA FC 2015 SEASON TICKETS GO ON SALE STARTING AT JUST $10 PER MATCH". Jacksonville Armada FC. July 11, 2014. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Soccer fans! Jacksonville Armada FC to play Baseball Grounds". The Florida Times-Union. July 11, 2014. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  16. ^ Freeman, Clayton (February 6, 2017). "Armada to play 2017 season at UNF". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved February 6, 2017. 
  17. ^ "Armada FC sets preseason attendance record in 3–1 win over Union". Jacksonville Armada FC. Retrieved April 4, 2015. 
  18. ^ "FT | Armada FC 3, Eddies 1". North American Soccer League. Retrieved April 4, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Rowdies NASL: NASL Releases 2015 Fall Season Schedule". rowdiessoccer.com. Retrieved March 1, 2015. 
  20. ^ "MIAMI FC BECOMES 12TH NASL CLUB". NASL.com. May 20, 2015. Retrieved May 20, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Section 904 Home". 
  22. ^ "Section 904 Backs 'Boys in Blue' to Milestone Victory". 
  23. ^ "Armada FC announce launch of U-23 team". www.news4jax.com. WJXT. February 10, 2016. Retrieved February 15, 2016. 

External links[edit]