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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Familiar Faces Returning to the Silverbacks? - By Taylor Peyton

The first Set of Tryout dates at Silverbacks Park has come and gone. They took place at 9 am on December 20th and 21st. As you would expect, not many people showed up. However, there were some familiar faces in attendance. One of them being photographer Dave Williamson who took a few pictures at the tryouts. Members of last year’s Silverbacks team that were present included Abdul Bangura, Abraham Lansana, Kemar Brown, Fabio Fernandes, and Avery Shepherd.

There still are tryout dates left, but given the number of players from last year’s team at the first dates, it leads fans to believe that the core of the 2017 Silverbacks won’t be too different from that of the 2016 Silverbacks. Last Year's captain Mitch Garcia has gone, but apart from that, there haven’t been any significant moves by Silverbacks players that have been announced by the club.

Given his history with the Silverbacks Reserves, as well as the first team in the NASL days, Abdul Bangura seems like a likely candidate to take over the captaincy in Garcia absence. It was reported that he was supposed to be the captain last year but ended up missing the entire season due to injury. Obviously, the decision is in the hands of Phoday, and/or the Coaching staff, and the roster is still taking shape, but Bangura as captain seems like a reasonable guess.

To say that the Silverbacks have gone through high turnover the last few years would be an understatement, but if the Silverbacks can retain a big part of last year’s team, it will make it easier to build on the success of last year’s team. The Silverbacks new opponents in the Southeast are bound to make the Silverbacks path to a Conference Championship more difficult, and the season is still very far away, but given the talented players that are most likely coming back, and Phoday’s sharp eye for talent,  there just might be reason to believe that the Silverbacks can compete in the new Southeast Conference.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Conference Realigment and Tryout Dates Announced - By Taylor Peyton

After dead silent months of September, October, and November; news about the Silverbacks have finally come out. Three big pieces of news were confirmed within a span of a week. Realignment of the NPSL Southeast Conference, dates for Tryouts, and confirmation that Season Tickets will soon be on sale. 

With the withdrawal of Myrtle Beach Mutiny, Tobacco Road FC, and almost certainly Carolina Railhawks Reserves from the NPSL, the South Atlantic Conference is no more. It was announced on Sunday, December 4th, that the Silverbacks would instead be playing in the newly-realigned Southeast Conference. It will be split up into two divisions. The Silverbacks will be playing in the East Division with Asheville City, Carolina Discoveries, Georgia Revolution, and Knoxville Force. The West Division will be composed of Birmingham Hammers, Chattanooga FC, Inter Nashville FC, Memphis City, and New Orleans Jesters. There will be a total of 13 games for the Silverbacks, which is three more than they played last year. There will be a home and away game against each of the teams in our division, and one game each against the teams in the West Division that could be home or away. The Southeast playoffs will be composed of the top 3 teams from each division. On the same day that the realignment was announced, the Silverbacks confirmed via Twitter that Season Tickets would be going on sale soon. 

On Wednesday, October 7th, the Silverbacks Announced three sets of tryout dates. The first set of dates taking place on December 20th and 21st, the second being on January 3rd and 4th, the third being February 1st and 2nd, with an “Invitation Only Tryout” taking place on May 1st. All tryouts will be held from 9 am to 12 pm at Silverbacks Park. Players trying out will have to pay a fee of $50 if they register online in advance, and Walk-In Registration will cost $60. A Free Silverbacks T-shirt is included in the registration fee.

It’s been a pretty boring offseason up until now, but this has been a very exciting week that might have made it all worth it. New opponents, a reignited rivalry with Chattanooga, new Cities to travel to for fans that enjoy going to away games, a longer schedule, and the possibility of a new group of exciting, locally based players are all worth getting excited about. Let’s hope the string of exciting news continues.