Naples United FC continues to grow game in SWFL
NAPLES, Fla. – For most of the season fans had to sit on the grassy hill next to the field to watch semi-professional soccer in Naples. Starting this weekend they can move onto the grandstands at the Paradise Sports Complex Stadium to watch the best soccer team in Southwest Florida.
After taking a year off due to the pandemic, Naples United FC has come back in 2021 with a bang.
“Good, good overall I mean obviously starting out three and one you can’t complain about that,” Head Coach Matt Poland said.
The team returning to the field after one of the best seasons in team history in 2019 that saw them make a run for the US Open Cup. But even with that success the fans weren’t there to see it.
“We just play games where we have like one or two or 10 people and they were actually family,” striker Raul Sanchez said.
Sometimes the reasoning for that was that fans didn’t know about the team or didn’t know where they would be playing.
But that’s going to change this weekend as the team can pack their new stadium at the Paradise Sports Complex for the first time.
“For me personally as a coach now with fans behind me yelling it might be harder for me to talk to my players but again that is a wonderful problem to have as a coach,” Coach Poland said.
The team promising even casual fans a unique soccer experience that everyone can get involved in.
“We have an exciting team,” Naples United FC Club Director Enoch Showunmi said. “We have a team that is going to score goals, I know a lot of Americans are like you can’t play 90 minutes and it is like zero-zero but we are scoring a lot of goals in games.”
For the only semi-professional team in Naples as important as it is to gain that home-field advantage at this point in the season the players are as excited to introduce the game to a new crowd.
“It’s a good feeling to know that soccer is growing here in America and especially in Naples,” Goalkeeper Brian Arce said.
Because for this melting pot of a team that has players from all over the world, varying experience and varying end goals from this league they want to give back to Naples a winner as much as they want to continue to grow the game.
“Naples with this facility and everything I think it is the perfect recipe for success and for growing the game here stateside,” Coach Poland said.
Naples United FC will have six games left this season but just two at home. One this Sunday and the next July 3.