Murphy Agrees with Four Players; Tryouts Upcoming

Have you purchased your season tickets yet? Because it’s party time

New FC Buffalo head coach Brendan Murphy has made four early signings ahead of the upcoming tryouts (Dates and times released later this week). Among the group are two Canisius College products and three players with NPSL experience.

The name least familiar to FCB supporters may be Asani Samuels (pictured leaping above). The 6’5″ Jamaican forward just completed his sophomore season at Canisius where he scored four times, leaving his two-year totals at five goals and an assist.

“Asani Samuels is a dynamic striker with great feet and a knack for scoring big goals,” Murphy said. “He is very athletic, has incredible pace and makes intelligent runs off the ball.  He holds the ball up very well and combines with the players around him.  I think the fans will absolutely love watching Asani play and I am ecstatic about the opportunity to coach him this summer.”

Kareem Gray joined FCB midway through the 2012 season and put in some stellar showings for the Blitzers, including a strong performance in the team’s 1-1 draw at Erie. He recently completed his Canisius career this Fall with a 7-3-2 record in his senior season for the Griffs.

“I am extremely excited about the opportunity to work with Kareem on a consistent basis.  He is a very technical and explosive goalkeeper,” Murphy said. “I have coached against him for the last three years that he has been at Canisius and each time we’ve played them it has been incredibly difficult to score on Kareem.  He makes big saves and his distribution is top-notch.  He can ping the ball 70 yards on a rope so not only is he a great asset defensively, I anticipate Kareem generating quick counter attacks with his distribution.  Kareem brings great leadership and maturity to the team and he communicates very effectively with the players in front of him.  I am confident that Kareem will have a tremendous positive impact on the team throughout the year.”

Murphy added that the tandem additions make sense.

“Kareem and Asani have a great connection already and I can see the two of them linking up on a regular basis to create the type of exciting style of play that we are trying to cultivate.”

Murphy also connected with two of FC Buffalo’s longtime leadership core in Cornell defender Jake Rinow and veteran jack-of-all-trades John Grabowski.

Rinow has started all but two games in his first three years at Cornell, playing left back. This season saw the Big Red make the NCAA tournament, losing just two games all season. He has one goal and two assists in his three seasons.

“Jake is representative of the person and leader we want at FC Buffalo,” said general manager Nick Mendola. “I was thrilled that Coach Murphy was able to keep Jake for another season. He’s an extremely physical tackler, tenacious competitor and brilliant teammate.”

Grabowski is a catalyst with terrific pace and heart who can play on the right and left sides, on defense and in the midfield. He is one of only a few players to be rostered in all three seasons of FC Buffalo’s existence and has spent his winter training with the Rochester Lancers of the MISL.

“Johnny is the sort of player every coach wants on his team,” Mendola said. “He’s relentless and exciting. His vision is strong and his soccer IQ is invaluable. Quite frankly, FC Buffalo’s spirit can be traced directly to players like Johnny.”

“All four players show that Coach Murphy wants everything we do,” Mendola added. “He’s going to do some special things.”