After entering the inaugural fall season with many expecting them to win the Mid-Atlantic Conference, the Philadelphia Fury fell short, finishing second. Now the team will open this Saturday with many changes and many high hopes.
One of the big changes was in the front office. Team owner Matt Driver stepped down from being head coach to focus more on team business, as well as being ASL CEO. Taking his place will be goalkeeping coach Cris Vaccaro, whose resume lists many years of coaching on the collegiate and professional level.
For Vaccaro, the expectations are simple. "Winning the championship. My expectations are high," he said. "We will get better each and every game, and strive to be the best team in the league. The ultimate goal - win the championship."
Another change was the General Manager position. Victor Malagisi comes to the position after being the assistant coach for sister club AC Crusaders. For him it’s about building a winning culture around the team. "When you’re building a (winning) culture you need everyone to go into the same direction," he said. "We look at the players within that culture and want to see if the new pieces fit into the pieces that already exist."
On the field the team was slightly overhauled, with a finished product of new players with veterans ready to lead the team to a playoff berth. For new player Roger Sampah, joining the Fury was about winning the championship. "That’s why we came here. We came here to win. We want to make the playoffs, and if possible win the championship."
For the veterans on the team, the new players have been gelling well and the players are on the same track. "I feel with everyone on the same page and the same goal," said team captain defender Josh Danza. "Coach Vaccaro has made it very prevalent that a championship is mandated. We all on the same page on keeping the Fury tradition intact."
The team will open this Saturday on the road against Icon FC, who won the Mid Atlantic division in the fall and won their opener last weekend against the Evergreen Diplomats. They will then have the home opener the following Saturday vs Evergreen at Washington Township High School.