The National Premier Soccer League Tuesday announced that Annapolis, Md. will field a team beginning in 2023.
The club will be led by owner/managing partner Michael Hitchcock, owner Kyle Beckerman, a former U.S. international and MLS all-star, and owner Alex Yi.
“The NPSL is thrilled to enter this market,” NPSL Managing Director Cindy Spera said. “Annapolis has many of the attributes indicative of a successful grassroots soccer market: a community of sports enthusiasts, several college campuses, and a plethora of family-owned businesses.”
Hitchcock is the founding partner of Playbook Management International (PMI). He has been involved in the active ownership of five NPSL teams, including Appalachian FC, Denton Diablos FC, Fort Worth Vaqueros, Napa Valley 1839 FC, and Lubbock Matadors. Through PMI, Hitchcock has successfully consulted and managed over 85 soccer leagues, teams, facilities, and events in the U.S. and around the world. He successfully launched the San Antonio Scorpions, consulted in the rebirth of the Tampa Bay Rowdies, and built and managed Appalachian FC through a successful inaugural season. In MLS, he worked at every level from entry-level ticket sales representative to General Manager.
“We’re excited to bring minor league soccer to Annapolis in a meaningful way,” Hitchcock said. “We want to provide opportunities for local players to pursue their dreams of playing soccer at the highest level while developing the next generation of sports management executives and providing an affordable, fun gameday experience for area sports fans and soccer supporters in Annapolis.”
A nine-time All-Star and 2009 MLS Cup winner, Beckerman became one of the best defensive midfielders in league history and is the league’s all-time leader in regular-season games played (498), games started (461), and minutes played (41,164) among field players. The Crofton, Maryland native was named as one of MLS’s 25 Greatest in December 2020. Beckerman accumulated 58 senior caps with the national team from 2007-2016, winning the 2013 Concacaf Gold Cup and making the 23-man roster and starting three matches at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Beckerman is the current head coach at the men’s soccer program at Utah Valley University.
“I’m excited to be part of this ownership group to bring a soccer club to Annapolis, a place so close to where I grew up,” Beckerman said. “I’m sure it will be another great team that Maryland fans will be able to get behind and enjoy, and I know it will be a team that inspires the next generation of local kids who have dreams to play soccer at the highest levels.”
A former midfielder and defender, Yi played three seasons (2002-05) with Antwerp FC of the Belgian Jupiter League, a feeder club of Manchester United. He made his Antwerp debut against Club Brugge in 2002 and the next season was voted as the Man of the Match for his outstanding play in a game against Mons-Bergen. He was picked up by FC Dallas in an MLS weighted lottery in January 2005 and went on to play three seasons with FC Dallas. Yi made his MLS debut on Sept. 24, 2005 with a start against San Jose. He earned a total of 57 career caps with various U.S. youth national teams, including six with the U-23 team, 12 with the U-20 team, and 39 with the U-17s.