| The Enterprise
In the United Premier Soccer League, Brockton FC United was one of 129 teams that began the season on a quest for a championship.
Unlike many of its counterparts, the relatively new semi-professional soccer club from Brockton, which came into existence in 2018, almost completed its mission last weekend as one of four teams left standing at the National Finals in Atlanta.
Brockton didn’t produce the desired results it craved with a third-place finish, but by competing and showcasing its high-end talent on the elevated stage, it allowed Brockton to grab a share of the spotlight as it keeps building its program.
“For the club, probably very few people knew of it before this,” said Brockton coach Herminio Furtado. “Now we are getting all this exposure and this is exactly what we need to take the club to the next step.”
Entering the Final Four, Brockton felt the impact of not having played a game since defeating New York Contour United on Dec. 13 when Nilton de Andrade provided late-game heroics, scoring two goals in the final six minutes of regulation to lift Brockton to the UPSL East Region title.
Without any games scheduled throughout the better part of the winter and having to deal with the harsh New England weather, Brockton resorted to practicing at indoor facilities twice a week and often training sessions didn’t occur until late at night due to a lack of available fields.
It all caught up with Brockton, especially the nearly three-month hiatus in-between games, in its 3-2 semifinal loss to Ginga Atlanta, who advanced to defeat Olympians FC for the USPL title. Despite Antonio Correia netting two tallies, Brockton couldn’t completely shake off all the rust it accumulated with the time off.
“We certainly feel we did not have the opportunity to prepare enough to win that game and the game was within our reach,” Furtado said.
Brockton salvaged its trip by coming through with a 3-2 win over Capital City SC in the consolation bout. de Andrade, Alejandro Goncalves and Kevin Depina staked Brockton out to a 3-0 lead before hanging on in the final minutes.
It wasn’t just Brockton’s goal-scorers leading the way. Brockton also received sizeable contributions from Erick Alves and Ronaldinho Diaz, who were both named to the Best XI All-Tournament team.
And while Brockton yielded split results in its two games, it was a still a beneficial experience Brockton needed to help the club continue to grow.
“That opportunity we were looking for to promote soccer in the city of Brockton and in the state of Massachusetts and to provide the community with a club at a semi-professional level where players can play when they’re finished with college or high school,” Furtado said. “To be a part of that tournament will help accomplish that goal and the community will have a team that it will embrace and can represent them.”
It is a quick turnaround now for Brockton as the USPL spring season is tentatively slated to begin in less than a month on April 10.
However for Brockton, it currently doesn’t have a permanent venue for its home games. In a normal season, the soccer club would host teams at Brockton High’s Marciano Stadium, but Furtado said the school isn’t renting out the facility due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That has forced Brockton into trying to rent privately-owned fields for the upcoming campaign.
Nonetheless, Brockton is focused on rising to further prominence in the semi-professional soccer ranks. Brockton will have a chance to do so early on in the season by participating in the Regional Amateur Cup.
Brockton is tentatively scheduled to face Connecticut-based Newtown Pride FC in April and the Pride, which won the 2019 National Amateur Cup, are a formidable, measuring stick opponent.
“That’s a tournament we’re also looking at as a little bit of a test to see how much potential we have to win the National Amateur Cup,” Furtado said.
Brockton isn’t fully satisfied even after a remarkable season that concluded with it being one of the top teams in the USPL.
There’s no plans from Brockton to remain stagnate as it looks to use its terrific run to attract other skilled players in the area to join the club. And as it resets with a new season on the horizon, Brockton begins another quest in hopes of more.
“Now we will look and assess to see the areas we need to improve,” Furtado said. “A lot of players are interested in joining the movement. They see the benefits. We’ll sit down and see how we can recruit to improve the squad and accomplish our objective, which is a national championship.”