Jay Mwamba of the Irish Echo writes a Cosmopolitan Soccer League column for the blog FirstTouchOnline.com. This is his preview of the new CSL season from September 6.
At the end of a successful campaign for most Irish squads in the Cosmopolitan Soccer League last June, Shamrock’s first XI remained the odd team out.
While Shamrock’s Over-30s joined Manhattan Celtic and Lansdowne Bhoys’ Metro Two and Division One panels in an impressive Irish title haul, the Rocks’ first team struggled badly in the CSL second tier and finished with an inauspicious 3-11-2 record.
They hope to put that nightmare behind them when the new season kicks off this weekend. Shamrock open Saturday on Roosevelt Island against FC Japan, another side that struggled in the Second Division.
Also in action Saturday evening are newcomers Flank United who make their CSL debut [6 p.m. reserves] against Tesoro Brooklyn Kings in a Division Two fixture on Randalls Island [field 70].
A full slate of matches in the First, Second, Metro and Over-30 divisions follow on Sunday.
“I believe [our] main problem was squad size,” the Rocks’ Glen Wrafter said. “We had a number of players who were not available until October due to commitments with their Gaelic football teams, which left us short of numbers pre-Christmas. This coupled with injuries and retirees, meant we had ‘the bare eleven’ on too many occasions.”
Shamrock reinforced their ranks over the summer.
“This season, we will [hopefully] be in a much better situation in relation to players,” Wrafter said.
Several players have joined from Central Park Rangers, among them Nikle Guzijan, a 28 year-old center half; striker Adam Amann who’s 24 and the 23 year-old midfielder Oscar Ivanissevich.
“They performed excellently during our recent pre-season friendly against Manhattan
Celtic, Wrafter noted. “Also in fine pre-season form [was] Paul O’Kane.”
A forward, O’Kane, 28, showed his quality against a Celtic side that earned promotion to the CSL top flight with a remarkable one hundred percent record. He struck early in a 3-3 draw.
Shamrock, he added, are also hopeful of signing a couple of players from defending First Division [East] champs Lansdowne Bhoys.