Pinch me! Been waiting for the season opener. Not only is this a sign that summer is near but a time we can finally look forward to on a weekly basis and enjoy the sport we all love.
Yemen Elite last season won the Championship Division with heart and determination. But going into Premier this year will take a lot more than heart to win it. Every year Coach Faress assesses talent and try his best to bring in the best he can find and this year is no different. Having a 50% turnover rate in the roster is no easy tasks as most of the talented Yemen players moved on to an even stronger FC Yemen team who are poised to win the First Division.
Yemen Elite retained the core players such as prolific keeper Semir Kadric, and the fearless defenseman in Guilford Sai, Mohamed Harhara and Ahmad Adil, the razzle dazzle moves of Ali Adil, the unstrippable Ramsey Abdulmalik, the non-stop attacking of Majed Mohamed, the smooth gliding ball control of Otmane Boussag, the turbolific Nigerian Nightmare James “Flipmeister” Ugorji and of course the “General” Mateo Escobar. Most of you know these players and what they bring to the team.
Now onto the new comers.
Coach Faress had to replace a depleted offense with the loss of Nageeb Ali and Waheeb Noman. He has added speed in and skill with George Yappa, Zein AbulAziz, Mike Raftu.
George Yappa was a rising star in the league a couple of years ago until an unfortunately tackle that torn his ankle. It took 2 years to recover from this injury but he is looking to continue his stardom. George has played for Yemen in the past and also for BUSS, hopefully he will receive a warm welcome back as he scores goals.
Zein Abdulaziz is an extremely fast and talented player who honed his ball playing skills in the Delaware Soccer Club. He has played with the former BBoyz team who were just reinstated by the league, his touch is amazing and can easily put goals in the back of the net.
Michael Raftu was a late signee who maybe here for a short time, but this guys bleeds soccer. His historical stats can be found on the internet. He has broken goal records at schools he has attended and is well recognized at Medialle for his swift attack in the last 3rd of the field.
Another area of concern was the midfield. We lost a ton of talented players in that position including Abdulqawi Mohamed who cleaned up a lot of open field during the 2013 season.
Added to the Midfield positions is new comer and fairly unknown to the region is Matthew Owusu. Matthew hails from the west African nation of Ghana. He has been through a few academies in Ghana and Germany. He is a possessive midfielder with strong field presence. His soccer IQ is high and works well with players around him.
Also added to the midfield ranks is Curt Nowack. Curt is originally from the rural area of Rochester and has played soccer for many years including the Rochester District Soccer League and intramural soccer while studying at UB. He is a unique player will unlimited stamina, his ball delivery is very precise, he can also strike low hard balls into the net from any angle.
You can never have enough midfielders on a team especially when you are playing 5 in a game. So to increase our depth we’ve added Racheed Agoro from African nation of Togo. Racheed bring tenacity to the midfield position, he is very fast and covers ground quick on counter attacks. He is a versatile player that can play most positions on the field.
Yemen Elite has always had a stingy defense and this will remain true for this season. Gil Sai has returned from a season ending eye injury along with Ahmad Adil. And also returning back from Yemen are one of our first iron curtain defenders Mohsen Hassain and Mo Harhara. But we are not done yet.
Coach Faress, during the preseason tryouts, spotted a young and talented Alex Pollak who also played for Medialle and PDL (Premier Development League) Mississippi Brilla FC. He is a very bright and vocal player whose field vision is unmatched. He will add strength and depth to the position, and should gel quite quickly with the current D-line.
Another returning member who played with our 2012 Yemen Elite team is non other than Mohsen Hassain. Mohsen is once of the smartest defenders you will find. He may look unorthodox at times, but teams find it very difficult to get past him. He is calm and cool with the ball and can counterattack just as fast. He is a very welcomed addition to the D-line and I know he will be a fan favorite.
Last but not least, the goalie position. Which is usually underrated. We have one of the best keepers in the league. Semir Kadric. Although he may not get many shots because of the great play of the defense, he stands on his head when tested. He may have the most highlights in the previous 2 season that Yemen Elite has played. His dedication and heart to the team has no bounds. He has played through injuries and even kept the team in games against high level opponents.
This season will be a very exciting season as the Cage will be rattling to a deafening roar when Premier opponents come marching in. The team schedule can be found at the top of the homepage. Prizes will be handed out during certain games such as game jersey, hats, t-shirts.
Come cheer on your beloved Yemen Elite this season as they fight to win the coveted Premier Cup.