Two months after FC Buffalo signed a contingent of promising local youth, the Wolves made a bigger splash Monday with the announcement of 15 more players to their roster.
Hartwick College star Jamie O'Grady and St. Bonaventure's Kieran Toland, both from Scotland, headline the attacking talent added to the mix. O'Grady, the reigning Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Year, is a three-year starter who potted a league-leading 11 goals en route to the NCAA Tournament.
Although Toland plodded through a dismal season with the Bonnies, his two goals and two assists were good enough for second on the team in points, and he should prove more effective with a better collection of talent surrounding him.
An underrated signing is Louisville goalkeeper Nick Jeffs, who backstopped the Cardinals to a 3-2-1 record in his six starts, posting a solid 1.11 goals against average. The 6'2 Ottawa native, who will be a junior this fall, appears to be the favorite for the Wolves' No. 1 role.
Here are short blurbs on 14 players confirmed to the Wolves' roster:
*Kendell McFayden, defender from Medaille College, Rochester Rhinos: Voted to the All-NPSL first team in 2015 -- a massive accomplishment in a league boasting over 50 teams -- the former pro and three-year FC Buffalo veteran returns to the Wolves' back-line after a forgettable finish to the last campaign.
*Steve Casey, goalkeeper from Niagara University: Played briefly for FC Buffalo during summer 2014 before suffering an injury that's allowed him to play sparingly over the last 18 months. Standing 6'6, the Williamsville South High School alum should push Jeffs for the starting keeper role.
*Ross Suitor, defender/midfielder from St. Lawrence University: The fleet-flooted blonde-haired flank player from Lew-Port hasn't carved out a significant role yet with FC Buffalo, but he's a regular starter at outside back for the Saints, an NCAA Division III powerhouse that lost in the Sweet 16.
Previously announced returning players:
NEW PLAYERS (in subjective order of likely impact):
*Jamie O'Grady, midfielder/forward from Hartwick College: Although the Scot's accomplishments have been discussed at length above, he's capable of playing anywhere in the team's spine. Expect him in either the No. 10 or No. 9 role for the Wolves this summer, and don't be shocked if he wears the armband for a few matches. He scores the second goal, a header, in the highlight below:
*Keith Traut, defender from Albany University: The America East Conference first-team selection is the jewel of the defensive additions. The physical 6'2 Great Dane -- from the same college as former FC Buffalo players Anthony Rozzano and Jordan DiLapo and a product of the New York Cosmos youth system -- has experience at fullback and center back.
*Nick Jeffs, goalkeeper from Louisville University: The 6'4 Canadian backstop will likely inherit the starting role from Andrew Coughlin, who's in preseason with Harrisburg City Islanders of the United Soccer League. Jeffs started the first six games of the Cardinals' season before ceding the job to two other keepers. He'll be hungry to win it back.
*Romario Guscott, striker from LIU-Brooklyn: The Jamaican forward with a memorably Brazilian first name was efficient and productive as a Blackbirds freshman, poaching seven goals on just 15 shots on target. He tallied one in the Northeast Conference (NEC) championship victory over usually stingy St. Francis (PA) to propel the squad to the NCAA Tournament.
*Ian McGrath, midfielder from Evansville: At 6'4, 185 pounds, McGrath profiles as a ball-winning holding midfielder, similar to former FC Buffalo player Dylan MacVane. Despite Evansville's 3-13 record and a woeful 10-game losing streak, the Illinois native registered two goals and three helpers during the 2015 campaign.
*Andres Vega, midfielder-forward from St. Francis University: The diminutive Nicaraguan surged as his junior year progressed, playing over 74 minutes in each of his last three matches, including the NEC Championship, after never reaching 60 minutes in his first 17. Expect Vega to be a winger for the Wolves if he proves able as a two-way player.
*Kieran Toland, midfielder from St. Bonaventure: He won't win many foot races, but the sturdy center midfielder is outstanding with his feet, boasting a soft touch, the ability to strike any ball and test the keeper from the distance. Beat up often in the center of the park for the Bonnies, NPSL foes won't be able to commit the same level of attention.
*Jack Fisher, defender from St. Peter's: The Leeds, England native scored twice for the Peacocks in fall 2015, both in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play. He spent the first two years of his college career with NCAA Division II Barry University in Miami, Fla., before garnering D-I interest. Fisher is described as a "hard" English-style defender who won't relent in his tackles.
*Bayley Winkel, midfielder from Robert Morris: Less heralded than his college teammate Bennett Jull at the second FC Buffalo tryout, Winkel stood out with smooth possession skills and sharp turns with the ball at his feet. It's curious that he was a bit player at Drexel, but the Toronto FC Academy alum will be looking to make an impression in his first year at Robert Morris.
*Austin Dilts, midfielder from St. Lawrence University: Dilts made an impact at the second FC Buffalo tryout, showing grit and energy as well as an absurd "sombrero" over a defender's head. It took some real guts to pull that off in a tryout setting. Don't expect him to start off the bat, but he could earn time quickly with a string of good training sessions. We know he won't back down to anyone.
*Brian Paredes, midfielder from LIU-Brooklyn: A teammate of Guscott, Paredes is a sophomore defender who started four matches for the Blackbirds. Four contributors on the LIU-Brooklyn backline will graduate this spring, so Paredes could buoy a strong summer into serious collegiate minutes.
Read about previously announced new players, confirmed by the team for first time on Feb. 29:
Hassan Abdi Sabtow
Story topics: Andres Vega/ FC Buffalo/ FC Buffalo roster/ FC Buffalo signings/ Hartwick soccer/ Ian McGrath/ Jack Fisher/ Jamie O'Grady/ Keith Traut/ Kendell McFayden/ Kieran Toland/ Nick Jeffs/ Romario Guscott/ St. Bonaventure men's soccer