Cedar Stars Academy captain Christopher Katona during a match with F.C. Motown.
By Ralph 'Onz' Chery| @onz_11
Sept. 27th, 2018
Cedar Stars Academy forward Christopher Katona played his first game alongside the club’s new signing, former U.S. international, Danny Szetela and under new head coach Austin Friel on Sunday. Katona showed how happy he is to have them on board, he won Player of the Week.
The forward earned the selection for scoring a brace and registering one assist in a 5-0 win over Shamrocks in his side’s home-opener at Ramapo College Athletic Center.
Katona was pleased the club was victorious under reigning Region I Coach of the Year Friel’s first game in charge.
“It was great to get off to a good start under the realm of new head coach Austin,” he said. “He has a high intelligence for the game as well and put great preparation into this game. We look forward to playing and being around him more and continuing to grow towards our goals.”
Szetela and Daniel Cordeiro started the 27-year-old’s first goal as they completed a neat one-two after Hani Nasr forced a giveaway. Cordeiro then played the ball to Bledi Bardic, who took a shot from the left side of the box but only to warm the keeper’s gloves. Katona was there to bang the rebound home.
As for his assist, the New Jersey native sent Walter Calderon on goal to the right flank after another smooth one-two between Szetela and Cordeiro in the middle of the pitch.
Katona expressed how delightful it was to play alongside Szetela.
“Adding Danny and being able to play alongside of him makes the game even more enjoyable. He kept us composed in the middle defensively as well as going forward offensively,” the striker said.
“Over the past year we were fortunate to have signed professional players such as Dilly Duka, Julius James, Hunter Freeman, and Bledi Bardic. Having those kind of caliber players and their intelligence on the game is rewarding. Not to mention, filling out the rest of our roster everyone is clearly professional talent. I'm enjoying the ride and trying to take in as much as possible to learn and grow daily.”
Cedar Stars Academy midfielder Danny Szetela in his time with the U.S. national team. USA TODAY Sports Images
Katona steered Calderon’s diagonal’s pass in the net from inside the box to score his second goal.
The American leads the league in scoring with six goals and was selected Player of the Week the most times this season thus far, winning the accolade twice in two matches played.
Katona touched on his drive to help his side be victorious week in and week out by finding the net or assisting one of his teammates.
“At the end of the day whether it is playing goalie, defense, midfield, or forward as long as I can make an impact for the team winning is all that I care about,” he said.
“Scoring goals and creating opportunities for others to score is definitely rewarding for not only myself, but for my teammates whom work just as hard during those 90 minutes. We have a great group of guys, I haven't been this excited going into a season ever before until this year.”
Doxa S.C. forward Kareem Joachim-- 2 goals versus Central Park Rangers Whites in 3-2 win
Cedar Stars Academy forward Bledi Bardic-- 1 goal, 1 assist versus Shamrocks in 5-0 win
Doxa S.C. player Kosta Pappa-- 2 assists versus Central Park Rangers Whites in 3-2 win