The National Premier Soccer League has announced that Florida Roots Futbol Club has joined the league as an expansion team.
The Panama City, Fla. club will begin competition in the South Region in 2021.
“The announcement of another expansion team in the South Region is exciting and satisfying,” NPSL managing director Cindy Spera said in a statement. “Given the struggles with COVID-19, we are finding that the teams joining the NPSL are high-level, professionally-run teams whose businesses have weathered the pandemic and are healthy enough to invest. The Class of 2021 is shaping up to be the strongest and most stable group of new teams that we have had in years, maybe ever.”
The club is led by several individuals, including owner and president Jonathan Hammond and director of operations and general manager Larry Cecchini.
Hammond holds a USSF National “C” License and a Level 1 Futsal Diploma with 10 years of coaching experience at the club level and five years at the high school level. He serves as the director of coaching at Florida Roots Futbol Club, director of coaching at Bay County Youth Soccer Association and the director of soccer at Arnold High School.
Cecchini holds USSF National “B” and NSCAA Goalkeeping Level I licenses and has more than 25 years of experience in club and high school coaching and administration roles. He also has spent time as a staff coach, trainer, and evaluator for the Minnesota Youth Soccer Association Olympic Development Program and served as Minnesota Youth Soccer Association tournament director and board member.
“This NPSL team will provide our youth players something to rally around and aspire to, even as future players, right in their hometown,” Hammond said in a statement. “We believe having an NPSL soccer team will only motivate more kids to be interested in playing soccer, thereby increasing our pool of potential players both at a club and NPSL team level over the coming years. We feel strongly that the timing is right for a team in our area.”
The club was formed in 2018. It’s main goal was to provide an alternative for young soccer players who sought an advanced approach to skill development and training opportunities in the Panama City and Panama City Beach area. The concept caught on in the community and the club continued to grow. The team has competed primarily in the I-10 League as well as multiple regional level tournaments.
Home matches will be played at Tommy Oliver Stadium in Panama City. The facility was renovated in 2018. It has a grass field and a seating capacity of 7,000. It also boasts a state-of-the-art scoreboard, multiple lockers rooms, an enclosed press box and reserved seating options.