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Madison 56ers ring in the changes heading into 11th NPSL season

05/13/2015, 3:30pm CDT
Madison 56ers NPSL logo

The Madison 56ers have been preparing for their 11th season in the National Premier Soccer League, and kick off their schedule tonight with a friendly against Milwaukee's Bavarian SC.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. on the new turf field at Breese Stevens Field, and 56ers fans will want to make sure to grab a program.

That's because Madison's 37-player roster includes only seven players who have played for the team before: midfielder Keenan Newallo, forward Jed Hohlbein (Middleton/UW), defender Josh Thiermann (Stoughton/UW), Marquette midfielder Driton Zyteja (Sun Prairie), forward Max Campos and the Maranatha Baptist duo of forward Wira Wama and midfielder Taylor Pill (Watertown).

Newallo has been with the 56ers for every one of their seasons in the NPSL, along with manager Jim Launder, while Hohlbein has played all but one year and is the team's all-time leading scorer with 61 goals.

Thiermann has had a few stints with the team – he was a sophomore in high school when he played on the inaugural 2005 team. He started his college career at Notre Dame before finishing up at UW in 2011. Launder said he approached Thiermann about coming back to the NPSL team after watching him play at the President's Cup indoor tournament in February, and has been impressed with his form during preseason practices.

"He looks very good," Launder said of Thiermann, who struggled with injuries during his college career.

The roster features players from 12 countries: Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, England, Ghana, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Spain and Venezuela in addition to the U.S. It also has 11 Wisconsin natives, including one high schooler: goalkeeper Noah Heim from Cambridge.

Launder said approximately 25 players have arrived in Madison, though not all of them are ready to play. He said all players who are available will play against the Bavarians, which is the 56ers' lone warmup match before Saturday's NPSL Midwest Region opener against the Minnesota Twin Stars in Minnetrista, Minn.

"I'm really going to treat it like a training game," Launder said. "Because if we go all-out and try to win tonight and get beat up, then it doesn't do us any good for Saturday."

Some of the new players to watch tonight include goalkeeper Joe White; defenders Callum Glen, Sam Della Monica, Ian Sagstetter and Felipe Mattar; midfielders David Martinez, Johnnie Longmore and Felipe Lillo; and forwards Tony Amolo and Gideon Asante – he played with the Charlotte Eagles in USL Pro last season.

Another intriguing newcomer, Romanian attacking player Lucian Pârvu, is out due to injury. The 32-year-old Pârvu has played professionally since 2001, most recently with Gloria Buzău in Liga II. Launder said that Hohlbein and Campos, who played with the 56ers in 2013, might not play tonight as they are coming back from injury.

Among the players who aren't yet with the team, Launder pointed out a quartet of midfielders – Venezuelan Carlos Martinez, Englishman Jordayne Henry, Spaniard Miguel Izquierdo and Drew Whalen from Western Illinois – as potential key contributors.

The 56ers have another home friendly next Wednesday against the Croatian Eagles, and their NPSL home opener is May 29 against the Minnesota United FC Reserves. The Midwest Region is being contested as one, 13-team competition this season.

Last season, Madison finished third in the Midwest Central Conference with a 4-3-3 record and went 4-4-5 overall – it was the first time the 56ers didn't have a winning record since their inaugural 2005 season. Madison is 90-45-23 overall and 62-23-15 in NPSL play all-time.

Madison 56ers 2015 NPSL schedule


No. Player Pos. Current team Previous team Hometown
00 Noah Heim GK Cambridge-Deerfield HS Cambridge
0 Scott Sibik GK UW-Platteville Eau Claire Aris Onalaska
1 Joe White GK Warner Pacific (Ore.) William Carey London, England
2 Callum Glen D
3 Felipe Mattar D Southeastern (Fla.) Sao Paulo, Brazil
4 Sam Della Monica D Jamestown (N.D.) Doncaster, England
5 Michael Barry D Hartford Wethersfield, Conn.
6 Jacob Scotte-Hatherly M Jamestown (N.D.) Devon, England
7 Johnnie Longmore M Aldershot Town England
8 Miguel Izquierdo M William Carey (Miss.) Burgos, Spain
9 Jordayne Henry M Epsom & Ewell FC England
10 Carlos Martinez M Caracas, Venezuela
11 Lucian Pârvu F Gloria Buzău Craiova, Romania
12 Ryan Shogren D UW-Parkside Madison La Follette HS Madison
13 Roger Rodriguez D
14 Jack Hagstrom D Brown Middleton HS Middleton
15 Keenan Newallo M Madison
16 Julius Goedhart M Hastings (Neb.) Amsterdam, Netherlands
17 Carlos Rodriguez M Venezuela
18 Tony Amolo F Kenyon (Ohio) Lagos, Nigeria
19 Drew Whalen M Western Illinois Peoria, Ill.
20 Gideon Asante F Charlotte Eagles Sunyani, Ghana
21 Samuel Novak F UW-Whitewater Milton HS Milton
22 Wira Wama F Maranatha Baptist Hekari United Kimbe, Papua New Guinea
23 Ian Sagstetter D Faulkner (Ala.) Moulton (England) Montgomery, Ala.
24 Zacc Roelke D Wisconsin Madison East HS Madison
25 David Martinez M Missouri Valley Pto Ordaz, Venezuela
26 Jose Oirdobro M Venezuela
27 Felipe Lillo M Missouri Valley Puerto Montt, Chile
28 Jed Hohlbein F Wisconsin Middleton
29 Driton Zyteja M Marquette Sun Prairie HS Sun Prairie
30 Taylor Pill M Maranatha Baptist Watertown
31 Max Campos F San Jose, Costa Rica
32 Shae Bottum F St. Thomas (Minn.) Stillwater, Minn.
33 Brandon Reyes M
34 Josh Thiermann D Wisconsin Stoughton
39 Tim Rogers F Maranatha Baptist Willmar, Minn.

Manager: Jim Launder, 11th season (90-45-23).

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