The fullback position has undergone an almost complete overhaul from 2016. Alex Isaevski and Tyler Stephens are both off pursuing professional careers overseas – Isaevski in Macedonia, Stephens in New Zealand. Matt Nance, who made 4 starts a year ago, will also not return.
The lone constant is mainstay Zach Schewee, now one of just two City players who have been around since the beginning (the other being Cyrus Saydee). Schewee is a rock-solid two-way player who usually flies under the radar, except for the occasional moment of pure swagger.
He began his City career playing left back opposite of Zeke Harris, then moved over to the right with the emergence of Isaevski. He may be better-suited to that spot, but I think he’ll slide back to the left with the addition of…
Adam Spinks, who has to be the most unique recruit Pirmann has ever brought in. We’ve seen him go get guys from Washington and Iowa, but he truly went off the beaten path to find an English national playing professionally for Europa Point FC of the Gibraltar Premier Division. Thankfully, Spinks isn’t a total mystery since he has a recent, non-grainy highlight video:
He’s a right back all the way and looks really good going forward to join the attack. And while Gibraltar doesn’t exactly have one of the top leagues in the world, it still gave him the valuable experience of playing against paid professionals. Unless something changes, he’s probably the starting right back come May 12th.
Spencer Glass is a highly-touted left back who plays at traditional college soccer powerhouse Indiana. He’s coming off of his freshman season in which he redshirted. Before that he spent time with the Indiana Fire Academy, which is part of the US Soccer Development Academy (not to be confused with the now-defunct Indiana Fire NPSL team).
Side note: The Indiana Fire made the NPSL semi-final in 2015. I have nothing to add to this, it just boggled my mind.
I can’t speak much to his playing style or strengths since the only video I could find on him is youth team footage from 4 years ago, but he obviously did something right to become a four-star recruit to Top Drawer Soccer and earn a scholarship to IU. Although he’s untested at this level, his addition to the roster speaks to the faith Ben Pirmann has in him. We’ll have to wait and see.
A late inclusion to the team is Kervin Kenton Fadel, a teammate of midfielder Louis Dargent at Coastal Carolina. Fadel was capped 7 times for the Costa Rican U-20 national team…
…and has appeared for LD Alajuelense (Costa Rica) and RW Oberhausen (Germany). Last summer he made 8 NPSL starts for Myrtle Beach Mutiny. He has the size (6’2″) to play centerback if called upon, but given the numbers at fullback I think that’s where he’ll spend most of his time – specifically on the left side.
All four of these players bring plenty of skill to the team, and Schewee’s ability to play both on the left and right should allow Pirmann to try out a variety of back lines in search of the best starting four. The late addition of Fadel bolsters the depth and any minor concerns in that area should be mitigated by the fact that midfielders Aaron Franco and Luke Hauswirth can both play fullback, as well as Seb Harris and, in an emergency, Tyler Moorman.
One Reason to Be Excited 🙂
The overall level of experience. Zach Schewee has been around forever, but he’s still in his athletic prime (he’ll be 25 in July). Adam Spinks and Kervin Kenton Fadel, though both just 21, have each played professionally. The lone outlier is Spencer Glass, but he’s one of the most well-regarded college defenders City has ever added and has a ton of potential.
One Reason to Worry 🙁
I hate to punt, but punt I must. I was a little concerned about the numbers here, but adding Fadel alleviates that. Fullback may not be loaded with out-and-out stars the way the midfield is, but as long as they play solid defense and help maintain possession, the team doesn’t need them to be spectacular. Finding the right two, as we’ll see with the centerbacks, is the key.
Player to Watch
Spencer Glass has the pedigree, all he lacks is experience. The early part of the season will be crucial for him to get up to speed. As we saw with Schewee in 2012, and Alex Isaevski in 2014 & 2015, young players can not only be successful at the left back position but can thrive there. If Glass can be a strong contributor by midseason, it will help City’s overall defense in a massive way.