NYAC starts the season with two wins after a rough campaign last year

By Ralph Chery

A game-picture of NY Athletic Club's match versus NY Greek Americans last season. Picture by Dinos Avlonitis

 

Sept. 23rd, 2017

 

Although they saved their spot in the first division by three points last year, NY Athletic Club is off to a breathtaking start this season as they won their first two games, conquering powerhouse NY Shamrock SC 4-2 and Manhattan Kickers 2-0.

NY Athletic is the only team that won their first two matches.

The club signed 14 new players during the offseason, including ex-MLS defenders Anthony Arena and Patrick Slogic. Slogic featured in both of NYAC’s matches and Arena in one.

New signing Jason Lampkin has also been a vital force in NYAC’s early success, leading the team and the league in scoring with three goals, alongside James Whyte (Shamrocks) and Paul Nittoli (Cedar Stars Academy).

Lampkin is delighted with the beginning of his career with NYAC.

“It’s been a great start,” the former LIU Post Pionners striker said, “two solid wins in which everyone pulled together and made a contribution.

“Obviously, it’s pleasing to have been the one to have stuck the ball in the back of the net a couple of times, but it wouldn’t have gotten there without the ten teammates behind me doing their jobs. We’re all on the same page and there’s a great camaraderie in the group—we’re gelling well both on and off the field.”

NYAC’s next game is against Central Park Rangers Whites home at Travers Island on Sunday at noon. The club hasn’t won their first three games of the season since 2013. NYAC head coach Erik Bawell is eager to collect a third win this Sunday.

“I would be very happy to rack up a third straight victory this weekend,” Bagwell said. “We have the talent to keep adding points and to be at the top of the table throughout the season. In my coaching experience thus far, adding points early in the season is important but playing consistently well throughout is what really determines how successful you'll be.”

The 34-year-old coach joined the club last season. He explained that last campaign was a year of reformation and is assured that his team will end the season in the top four.

“I definitely foresee us finishing in the top four this season,” Bagwell said. “Last year was very much a rebuilding year as the prior coaches didn't leave the club in a good place and injuries really plagued us, especially in the spring. We have a much stronger and dedicated group of players this year."

To add to Bagwell's goal of finishing in the top four, Lampkin expressed that he and his teammates are aiming to win the league.

“We’ve already got our eyes on winning the league after an impressive start,” the Englishman said. “We’ve just got to keep the ball rolling - pun intended.”

Lampkin noted how important it is for the team to bring their A game to every match regardless of their opponents.

“We’re confident but we’re not taking any games for granted," he said. “For instance, we just played against Manhattan Kickers who I’d been told were promoted to the top division only this season so I was expecting a relatively easy game, but they gave us a really good run for our money and left a few of our boys with some nice souvenirs; scrapes down the shin and alike.

“We’ll head into this weekend’s game with the same mindset that we’ve had from the start of the season - to give it our all - and we might also invest in some larger shin pads.”

The CSL newcomer is eager to face giants Lansdowne Bhoys and NY Greek Americans.

“We haven’t played Greek Americans or Landsdowne yet, but I’m told they’ve both got strong groups too. It’ll be an interesting match-up when we come head-to-head with those teams.”

 

NY Athletic Club defending a corner kick against NY Greek Americans last season. Picture by Dinos Avlonitis

 

Despite staying in D1 by three points last season, NYAC won the League Cup. Furthermore NY Athletic is the active team with the second most CSL titles, owning seven. Last time they won the league was in 2013.

 

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