Reigning Buffalo & District Soccer League Tehel Cup champions Clarence Yotes will get their first crack at regional cup competition this weekend.
The BDSL representatives kick off their Werner Fricker Cup quarterfinal match against Hammers FC (Metro Washington, DC) at 1 p.m. April 23 at Robinson Secondary School (5035 Sideburn Road, Fairfax, Va.). The other three quarterfinal matches can be found here.
The Yotes and manager David Martinez finalized their cup roster Wednesday, naming an 18-man side that looks remarkably similar to their expected BDSL roster for the coming season.
Fourteen of the players were regulars on Clarence's cup-winning squad, while two key parts - midfielder Chris Berardi and forward Sam Sutherland - are marquee acquisitions heading into this summer. The only guest pieces are brothers Prince and Anthony SaySay (BUSS), who add pace and tenacity to the defense and midfield, respectively.
The Yotes are littered with Canisius College alums, including standout defenders A.C. LaFlore and Ryan Schroen. Speedy wingers Derek Maier and Andrea Conte spread out opposing defenses, while Berardi, J.J. Hughes and Gary Boughton anchor the heart of the midfield. Veteran 'keeper Len Previte brings decades of experience between the pipes.
Andrew Incho, Jose Perez and Sutherland are candidates to start up front.
Clarence's adversaries are the older side by a touch, and they're a bit more diverse. Two players represent Sierra Leone, two are from Honduras and one is from Moldova. Hammers FC has qualified for the last two Werner Fricker Cups, losing in the first round each time.
Christian Caulker, a goalkeeper for Hammers, is the most-capped player at his position in the history of the Sierra Leone Men's National Team, although he was barred from international duty due to match-fixing allegations in a 2008 World Cup Qualifier. The complicated and controversial situation is laid out here. Nicu Titei, the Moldovan former professional, is another option in goal.
Hammers' two leading scorers, Max Banziger (ex-Marymount University) and Chris Moehler (ex-California University of Pennsylvania), are on the roster.