BUFFALO, N.Y. __ Over the next few weeks, we’ll be announcing blocks of players who will join FC Buffalo for the 2014 season, as head coach Brendan Murphy unveils his latest charges.
We begin with the return of a fan favorite before getting to three new, exciting commits from the West Coast.
Brian Knapp (University at Buffalo // Liverpool, N.Y.) returns to the fold for a second season under Murphy. “BK” was a vocal leader on-and-off the pitch as he picked up 2 goals and 2 assists over 12 games with the Wolves in 2013. Knapp is a former professional and international futsal player who spent the offseason as the assistant coach of the Buffalo State women’s soccer program. He was lauded last year, including as a member of this All-Great Lakes Second XI.
“We’re excited to have BK back on the roster for another year,” Murphy said. “He brings a wealth of experience, knowledge and maturity to our squad. We’re looking for Brian to provide the type of veteran leadership that every great team needs. BK learned a lot last year as a player going through his first full season in the NPSL. We believe he can have an even greater impact in 2014.”
Murphy also looked to his West Coast connections to identify strong talent from PacWest program Point Loma Nazarene University. Soon-to-be sophomores Nico Tagaloa, Tyler Allen and Val Doppenberg will join FC Buffalo for 2014.
“This trio from Point Loma Nazarene is going to come in and provide a spark and a fresh energy to the team this year,” Murphy said. “All three are capable of making an immediate contribution to our roster. Nico plays as an attacking midfielder with incredible defensive intensity. Tyler Allen is an attack-minded all-conference left back and Val Doppenberg is the quintessential holding midfielder, very simple on the ball but exceedingly quick and mobile.”
Tagaloa (Orange, Calif.) was named second team All-PacWest as a freshman, scoring four goals and an assist for the Sea Lions. The 6-footer started all 16 games as a relentless two-way midfielder.
A versatile player who comes from the Chivas USA Academy, Allen (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) started 20 games for the Sea Lions at left back. He posted a game-winning goal to go with two assists from the back. Doppenberg (Orange, Calif.) was recruited to Point Loma as a classic No. 6 but is considered extremely versatile.
“These four players are indicative of what our roster will look like this year,” Murphy said. “Carefully selected veteran players with experience and leadership surrounded by a stable of young, energetic, hungry college players who will give everything they have every day in training and can bring some magic on game days.”
The PacWest has produced top notch talent and most recently seen conference alum George Fochive selected by the Portland Timbers in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft earlier this month, while Fresno Pacific’s Paul Islas was drafted by Chivas USA in 2013’s supplemental draft.
Murphy said he was grateful for the help of the Point Loma staff in identifying talent.
“Point Loma assistant coach Ryan Carruth is one of my best friends and a lifelong coaching colleague,” Murphy added. “He gave me the highest recommendation on all three of these players and I cannot wait to get to work with them.”
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