Questions From Lester Townsend/Answers from Jake Catanese
1) What is the makeup of the Newtown Pride roster? Professionals, amateurs, a healthy mix of both? Do any of the players have serious potential?
1. Most of the players on this roster have played at a high level of competition before, whether it be former professionals, semi-pro or college players. Goalkeeper Drew Nucifora was an all-conference keeper at Fairleigh Dickinson and played in the A-League with the Puerto Rico Islanders back in 2004 so Newtown certainly has quality players. The difference is these guys all have full time jobs, families and are only training once a week and it's requires a big commitment to even play in the state league. They're the reigning state amateur champions. Striker Mauricio Turizo lead the state league in scoring as well.
2) The Newtown Pride recently won the Connecticut Soccer League and came close to an Open Cup berth and is successful on the field. How successful are they off the field? Do they connect with and are they supported by the community?
2. Absolutely, this team played in a host of charity matches back in 2013 the first season after the shootings at Sandy Hook that affected not only the town but many communities surrounding it, and myself. My mom is a teacher in the Newtown district (not at Sandy Hook) and this team and soccer in particular has been part of a long healing process for the community. This team knows it's representing a strong community and the the people appreciate what they and the sport have done in the years recovering from Sandy Hook. The Bridgeport Bluefish, the usual home baseball team at Harbor Yard, dedicated 26 seats inside the ballpark for those lost on that fateful day and everyone is looking forward to a wonderful event.
3) They lost a charity friendly to the Cosmos two years ago, 6-0. Have they improved? Will the score be better this time?
3. I was at that Cosmos game and I will say Newtown held their own for a bit, they saved a penalty in the early stages but they had their own league match on the schedule to contend with and the second half turned into a blow out aided by a red card and a lot of substitutions. This time Newtown is in an "offseason" spell so it's more a question of who can they get to show up to play based on availability for work/family/etc. and conditioning. The Red Bulls are training everyday as opposed to Newtown's once a week, but if the Pride have the legs for ninety minutes to hang with the youngsters I think they can surprise a few people. Or I'm hoping at least score, just once, cause I'd never let you guys live that down ever.
Questions from Jake Catanese/Answers from Aaron Bauer
1) It's the first year of Red Bulls II so seeing them in 5th place doesn't seem all that bad, but how is the team progressing overall as far as the MLS team is concerned?
1) The team has made giant strides since the beginning of the year. After starting as a hodgepodge group of USL signings, who didn't really have a chance to gel with all the MLS players being loaned down. That was great for 2 reasons because it helped the MLS side, and eventually the team did bond through training and is now doing very well and very much in the playoff picture. MLS players Anatole Abang, Sean Davis, Manolo Sanchez, and Shawn McLaws have all improved leaps and bounds this year, with 3 of the 4 featuring in MLS play.
2) How many of the RBNY II players featured in that International Champion's Cup win over Chelsea and how important of a game was that for the Red Bulls?
2) Tyler Adams and Franklin Castellanos are two USL players that scored against Chelsea. Sean Davis, who scored the other two, has spent time with NYRB II this season. In the game though, 12 total USL players featured, as did some MLS players that have played for NYRB II. Basically, the whole team beat chelsea. A USL team beat chelsea. I think it was an important game for the Red Bulls, because it is really cool that NYRB II is really working well. Also we may win the ICC, which is just an added bonus.
3) Who are a few of the younger prospects that might feature against Newtown and how excited are you as Red Bulls fans to see them develop?
3. Academy players have been rotating in and out of the NYRB II squad all year. I don't know who would feature against Newtown but if any did it is always great to have a look.
4. This isn't a formal question, but anything you want to add personally for yourself or OaM on the Newtown charity game as a whole.
4. I think this is a really cool charity game and I hope it continues.