Memphis, Tenn. – Memphis 901 FC Head Coach Stephen Glass arrived in the Bluff City after being named the new boss with the two tasks of maintaining the momentum from 2022 and making the necessary tweaks surpass that success.
After spending the offseason meeting with supporters, it was apparent that after the club’s best season in franchise history, the community is eager to get behind a winner.
Saturday’s matinee battle with Loudoun United marks the start of 2023 regular season with 901 FC looking to go beyond that highmark from 2022 by retaining much of the talent that led to a Conference Semifinal appearance.
2022 USLC All-League players like Phillip Goodrum, Aaron Molloy and Graham Smith are back along with key pieces like Jeremy Kelly, Leston Paul, Luiz Fernando, Laurent Kissiedou, Lucas Turci and Rece Buckmaster. Exciting young additions in Nighte Pickering and Dylan Borczak also return to add to the attack.
That attack was further bolstered by a few blockbuster signings in Bruno Lapa and Sebastian Velasquez while the back four was revamped with veteran newcomers Carson Vom Steeg, Akeem Ward and Jelani Peters.
While the retooled club looks on at the 34-game season hoping to make setting franchise records a habit, the only focus will be raising a trophy in November.
Memphis opens the season with an afternoon matchup against Loudoun United FC on March 11 at 4 p.m. CT at AutoZone Park. The two clubs split the series in the 2022 season with the away team winning in both meetings. Memphis won the first matchup 3-0 with goals from Kissiedou, Kelly and Goodrum.
“It’s been a good preparation. We were very good attacking last year. That needs to continue. We could probably shore up a little in the back, and we’ve added some new defenders. It was a good season last year, we can’t forget that. So there’s not a huge overload required but I think if you let in less goals and score more, it’s always a good recipe for success.” – Stephen Glass
“We want to do better than we did last year. We want to entertain the fans as well as they did last year. Hopefully the fans will come out in number because I know the players are excited to go out and win games in front of them again.” – Stephen Glass
“This team has been very successful, so for me, it’s all about being able to join the team and add as much as I can offensively, create chances and help guys score goals. Obviously, I’m continuing that defensive work as well. I’m just here to do my best and help the city of Memphis get the trophy they deserve.” – Bruno Lapa
NEWS & NOTES
Building A Contender
2022 marked Memphis 901 FC’s most successful regular season in club history, surpassing the regular season club records for points in a season (68), wins (21) and goals scored (65). Memphis notched the club’s first postseason win with a 3-1 victory of Detroit City at AutoZone Park in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal.
Starts at the Top
Memphis was second in the league only to Tampa Bay in goals scored in 2022 with 70, and a lot of that has to do with top goal-scorer Phillip Goodrum, who scored 22 times last season. Goodrum finished second the Race for the Golden Boot and earned USL Player of the Week honors twice. Memphis was unbeaten in 17 of 18 matches Goodrum found the back of the net.
Use Your Head
Memphis 901 FC led the USL Championship with 17 headed goals in 2022 using Aaron Molloy’s pinpoint accuracy off the set piece and goal scoring ability from the striker to the back line. Phillip Goodrum found the back of the net with a header seven times while all five of Graham Smith’s goals were headed in, including the winning goal in the club’s first playoff victory.
Monsters in the Midfield
Led by captain Leston Paul and last season’s MVP runner-up Aaron Molloy, the midfield is set to be a key strength for 901 FC in 2023 with many tools that can serve many different roles. The supporting cast features premier USLC players like chance creators Jeremy Kelly and Bruno Lapa as well as Luiz Fernando and Laurent Kissiedou on the flanks.
Memphis 901 FC spent the offseason gathering newcomers with a wealth of experience in the USL Championship. The club has added over 350 USLC caps worth of veteran presence to the roster to supplement the young talent that flashed in the 2022 season
Let the Kid Cook…
18-year-old Forward Nighte Pickering became the club’s youngest signing ever before turning in two goals in seven appearances last season. Pickering returns from a domestic camp call up with the United States Youth National U-19 Team looking to make his mark in one of the league’s most feared attacking groups.