NPSL Combine Notebook Vol. II, by Chris Walter

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Despite turning just 22 on Jan. 19, Chris Walter has played in four of FC Buffalo’s five seasons, amassing the most appearances in our club’s short history. His tough tackling and big crosses have earned him quite a fan following, and he was recognized with a spot on the MidWest team for the inaugural NPSL Combine this weekend in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where there are scouts from everywhere from Sporting KC to the New York Cosmos to former English Premier League players and others.

We caught up with Chris after the second day of games, which saw the MidWest win the championship 2-1 on another game-winning goal from FCB’s Bobby Ross, assisted by Walter, and good work from FCB teammates Jeff Thomas and Waleed Cassis. 

Here’s Chris, picking up where we left off in Saturday’s post:

“We had a team dinner with a guest speaker, and it was very interesting and quite helpful at the same time. Chris Ramsey is an Englishman who last year was second assistant at Tottenham Hotspur and this year is head of player development at QPR (in the Premier League). He also managed the England U-20 team and is the current assistant coach for the England U-17s, and played in the FA Cup final.

Ramsey (
Chris Ramsey (

“He’s been associated with soccer since he was 16 and he’s 52 now. He knows the game well and how to develop as a player. He had a lot of good pointers and I really took some of the things he said to heart and will work on them. Plus it all felt better after a win.

“Today we got up early and had a nice team breakfast before the Championship game. Our coach (Lansing United’s Eric Rudland) was incredible, really easy to talk to and there to help us. He was there to further develop us as players and he did a good job of managing us in order to win the championship.

“When we got to the stadium, the weather was an absolutely torrential downpour for all of warmups but that didn’t stop us, being from Buffalo and all.

“You could say same thing as yesterday for the first 10 minutes with nervous jitters today, but we settled in. We passed it around a lot and had a majority of possession again. I was honestly impressed with everyone on our team.

“Our first goal came off our striker (Lansing United’s) Tyler (Pasher). The ball went back to keeper and Tyler chased it down and put their centerback under pressure. He took it off him and went around the keeper. It was a good, hard work goal.

“The second half we came out a little slow and the other team got a free kick 20 yards out. Waleed couldn’t do anything about a nicely struck ball into the top corner.

“We knew we had it to pick it back up and take it to them, and we did. We got the goal with 15 minutes to go. We moved it up the field nicely and it swung to me. I found “Bobs” on the left, a little FC Buffalo connection. He took it left, then went around a defender and struck a strong shot near post. It helped us take home the championship . We achieved a lot this weekend.

“Bob got tossed around a lot today. Right back, then right mid, and scored his goal from left back. Wherever you need him to play, he’ll do it. It was a shame that Jeff Thomas got hurt at right mid when he beat their left back, who took him down on edge of 18.

“They keep it straight forward with the scouts. They’ll reach out to the guys they like this week and next. It was a good experience all around, and one we can bring back to FC Buffalo.”

We’ll catch up soon with Bobby and the rest of the crew. For more on the NPSL Combine, head here.