When Penn FC kicked off their preseason last week, they had only officially announced four players as part of their 2018 roster. Social media posts confirmed that they wouldn’t be fielding a four-player side, but it wasn’t clear when the remainder of the roster was going to be announced. Fortunately for the curious Penn FC fans out there, the team has been dropping player announcements during the last few afternoons. In all, three new midfielders and a goalkeeper have been officially announced since last Friday.
The first player announced was Jorge Rivera, formerly of Puerto Rico FC in the NASL. At age 21, Rivera is the youngest of Penn FC’s recent signings. However, he has been active in the professional ranks for several years already, making 25 appearances for Puerto Rico FC as well as eight appearances (with one goal) for the Puerto Rico national team. While playing with the national team he would have shared the field with Manolo Sanchez, who suited up for the City Islanders last season.
Rivera’s a skilled and accurate passer who should end up in more of an attacking midfield position. Harrisburg struggled offensively during a few stretches last season, and adding a player who can complete more passes in the final third will be a big help.
Former New York Red Bulls midfielder Dan Metzger should be a familiar face for fans in Harrisburg. He has suited up on City Island before and he even scored a goal against the Islanders during an unfortunate 5-0 thrashing in 2016. Metzger was officially most recently signed to the Red Bulls, but he spent the majority of his playing time out in Montclair with NYRB II.
Metzger started off in the NYRB academy before playing collegiate soccer at the University of Maryland. His achievements in college led to him being drafted by DC United in the second round of the 2015 MLS Superdraft (one pick behind Philadelphia Union’s Eric Bird). He ultimately wasn’t signed by United and found his way back to the Red Bulls. While there he lifted the USL Cup as a part of the 2016 championship NYRB II team.
Next up was another midfielder, Calvin Rezende, formerly of Miami FC. Rezende played some of his collegiate soccer locally, taking the field for the St. Francis University Red Flash in 2014 and 2015 alonside his twin brother Conner. Before that he had actually spent some time training in Europe, where he worked with Crotone FC in Italy as well as Cadiz CF in Spain.
Rezende also played a more offensive role early in his career, but he has been more of a holding midfielder during his time in Miami FC. That positional flexibility will be useful as it’s currently undetermined what formation new Head Coach Raoul Voss will use. It’s good to know that Rezende could fit as an attacker or as a deep lying play-maker as the situation requires.
The most recent signing is former OKC Energy goalkeeper Jacob Lissek. As you can see in the above tweet, Lissek also briefly played for FC Dallas. However, that was just a short call-up to cover for an injured Chris Seitz. Before he went to OKC, Lissek played for Charlotte Independence, so it’s fitting that he ended up with Penn FC after Charlotte signed former Harrisburg goalkeeper Brandon Miller.
Lissek is also an important signing for Penn FC as he represents the first Rush Soccer alum to officially join the team for 2018. He previously played for Colorado Rush as a youth, and he even made a brief shout-out video for Penn FC when the partnership with Rush Soccer was first announced back in November.
Expect to see these players and more as Penn FC prepares for their first preseason match on Friday night. They’ll be kicking off against the LIU-Brooklyn Blackbirds at 6pm at the Lower Daupin Middle School. The match is one of five scheduled preseason matches for Penn FC, only two of which will be local. It will also be free and open to the public.