Penn FC kept their Announcement Week rolling on Thursday by confirming four players that they have resigned for 2018. These four represent the first confirmed signings for the team, so there’s still plenty of space for new faces. But the four players that were signed come from a range of different positions, so Penn FC is definitely keeping their bases covered.
Sean Lewis will be returning as goalkeeper after performing well in a few spot starts last season. Lewis spent much of 2017 backing up Brandon Miller, but he did manage six starts across all competitions. He even managed to pick up a USL Save of the Week for his double save at St. Louis. Check it out in this highlight reel:
Tiago Calvano returns on defense after starting at center back for most of 2017. At age 36, Calvano will be able to provide significant experience on defense as Penn FC will presumably bring in other, younger players to take advantage of the new collaboration with Rush Soccer. He’ll also provide a physical presence on defense, but hopefully he’ll be able to tone down the fouls after leading the league in yellow cards in 2017. Although that did win him my “Best at Fouling”award last season.
Drexel Soccer alum John Grosh returns to the midfield after a solid campaign with Harrisburg in 2017. His playing time mostly dried up after the City Islanders switched to the 3-4-3 formation late in the season, but it’s unclear what system the new coach will go with in 2018. Grosh did play at different positions in the midfield last season, and that flexibility should get him some playing time. His best moment was probably this assist to Ropapa Mensah during the Charlotte match.
Last but not least, Jake Bond will be returning to Penn FC after scoring 4 goals across all competitions in 2017. Bond is usually listed as a defender on the roster, but he found most of his playing time in a forward position in 2017, much like Jaime Thomas. But he showed a knack for getting open when it counted, allowing him to slip behind defenses for goals against Saint Louis and Toronto FC II.
Penn FC hasn’t said if these are the only returning players from 2017, but they may well be. Several other stand out players from last season have been announced with other teams for 2018, including Ropapa Mensah (Nashville), Pedro Ribeiro (Fresno), and Shawn McLaws (Oklahoma City Energy). In addition, Nick Noble announced his retirement and both Cardel Benbow and Paul Wilson have been playing in Jamaica.
So expect to hear about plenty more signings in the coming weeks. Although the organization has been typically pretty tight lipped about players until right before the season started.