Dilly Duka, holding an NPSL conference championship trophy with his brother, would love to add another one. (FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)
By Michael Lewis
After besting the best of Eastern New York State Soccer Association in the Rapaglia Cup Sunday, Cedar Stars certainly isn’t resting on its laurels.
The Cosmopolitan Soccer League club has added former Major League Soccer midfielder Dilly Duka for this season, according to reliable local soccer sources.
Duka, who played for the Red Bulls, Columbus Crew SC and Montreal Impact, was a key player for FC Motown as it reached the National Premier Soccer League final this summer before falling to Miami FC 2, 3-1. Just about everything went through the 29-year-old Duka when the New Jersey side was on attack.
Cedar Stars certainly is bulking up for the fall season. Earlier Wednesday, it announced it had signed Cosmos B captain Danny Szetela for at least for the next several months.
The acquisition of Duka is only the latest signing of high-profile players. The club also has added Cosmos B striker Bledi Bardic, and a pair of FC Motown defenders — former Trinidad & Tobago defender Julius James and Hani Nasr — and teammate Matt Nigro, who was voted NPSL MVP.
The club also added former Lansdowne Bhoys head coach Austin Friel.
“What we’re trying to do is to put together a team that can win in the Cosmopolitan League,” said team owner and president Oliver Papraniku said after his club won the Rapaglia Cup Sunday. “We won here in the Rapaglia Cup and also go into the [Lamar Hunt] U.S. Open Cup with a fresh team because we also have the Motown team. We’re already in the Open Cup because of our positioning in the NPSL. What we’re looking to do is to just make a team for the Amateur Cup, the Fricker cup, have a pool of 60 players and be able to compete in everything. That’s our goal right now.”
Papraniku is also the president of FC Motown.
Cedar Stars kicked off the CSL season two weeks ago with an emphatic 6-1 win over Zum Schneider FC 03. The side followed that up with three consecutive wins in the Rapaglia Cup, which featgured 60-minute matches. It defeated CSL powerhouse Lansdowne Bhoys in its opening match, 4-1, and downed Kosmos United (Long Island Soccer Football League), 6-1, in its second group match before downing Grenada (Central Brooklyn Soccer League) in the final, 6-1.
Cedar Stars is scheduled to play N.Y. Shamrock SC at Ramapo College Sunday at 11 a.m.