JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jacksonville Armada FC added another level to its developmental structure on Wednesday with the announcement of the new Armada U-23 squad, which will compete in the National Premier Soccer League.
Armada U-23 will replace Jacksonville United FC (JUFC) in the Sunshine Conference of the South Region, which currently includes Fort Lauderdale Strikers U-23, Kraze United (Orlando), Miami Fusion FC, Miami United, Storm FC, Tampa Bay Rowdies 2 and Weston FC. Led by JUFC president Barry Dixon and head coach Pat Cannon, Jacksonville United had a very successful run in the NPSL, highlighted by a 2011 league championship. The team also had multiple players go on to the professional ranks.
“I want to thank Barry for the tremendous job he did in building Jacksonville United into an organization with a strong culture of winning and success with developing players that have professional aspirations,” said Mark Frisch, Armada FC owner and CEO. “Armada U-23 will continue that mission and serve as another piece in our club’s long-term goal of providing a strong path from the youth-to-professional level for local talent.”
“We started the club to help develop local players and coaches that aspired to compete at the highest level, Dixon said. “I am very pleased that another piece of the soccer pyramid is in place and look forward to watching the Armada develop Jacksonville into a soccer powerhouse.”
Cannon will lead Armada U-23 as its head coach and work closely with Armada FC first team head coach and club technical director Tony Meola in player development initiatives. Cannon, who is currently the development academy director at Armada FC youth development partner Jacksonville FC, also served as an Armada FC first team assistant coach in fall 2015.
"I'm very excited to continue to work with a great organization,” Cannon said. “It will be a great opportunity to work directly with Tony to continue his vision for the club and expanding it into this team. The NPSL has been growing every year and it shows the quality of the league to attract professional organizations into it."
“It’s important to have a feeder system into the first team, and it was important for Mark to find an outlet for that,” Meola said. “And with Jacksonville United’s previous success, it just made sense to bring them on as our NPSL team. Rebranding as Armada U-23, I think it will help us attract more players and ultimately give us an opportunity to look at more players.”
Armada U-23 will play its home matches at Patton Park in Jacksonville, which serves as the Armada FC’s training facility and home of JFC. Armada U-23’s schedule and ticket information will be announced soon.
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