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The Next Crop of Ocean City Marksmen: Forwards Preview

An Abundance of Experienced Strikers Lead the Noreasters into 2015

May 18th, 2015
By Eric Klenofsky
Byron Carmichael (Left) & Dwayne Reid (Right)

Whether it be the goal scoring prowess of Ocean City Nor’easters Hall of Famer Byron Carmichael or the pace of 2013 Eastern Conference Champion Dwayne Reid; the Nor’easters have a history of goal scorers.

After countless hours of recruiting, the 2015 season is just days away. And while the new season approaches, the Nor’easters begin the process of welcoming in a new class of strikers.

“The group of forwards that we have brought in this summer will allow us to play a variety of ways and give teams different looks in transition and throughout the run of play,” said Ocean City Head Coach Tim Oswald. “We have a great mix of pace, athleticism, possession oriented guys, and guys that can finish in the final third. I am excited about the class coming in.”  

Ryan Peterson of North Carolina State, Alex Ridsdale of Xavier University, John Manga of the University of Cincinnati, Matt Vasquenza of Xavier University, Harry Swartz of Northeastern University, and Khesanio Hall of Oklahoma Wesleyan will be led by Ocean City veteran, Mitch Grotti of Rutgers-Camden.

“It’s looked good for the first week,” said Grotti, a 2013 NSCAA All-American at Rutgers-Camden. “Everybody came in working hard with one goal, to win and gel as a team.”

Grotti returns for his 3rd season
at the "Beach House"

Grotti, who first debuted for the Nor’easters in 2011, enjoyed success in the 2014 season after receiving a PDL Honorable Mention for the National Team of the Week following his 79th minute game-winner against F.A. Euro last July. The all-time leading goal scorer for Rutgers-Camden allotted 47 goals and 24 assists over his four year collegiate career.

The Ocean City attack will consist of numerous all-americans and national teamers with Jamaican International Khesanio Hall coming in as most notable. Hall made his senior team debut for Jamaica in a 2013 friendly against fellow Caribbean side, Trinidad and Tobago.

Khesanio Hall

While in Jamaica, Hall suited up for St. Elizabeth’s Technical High School and collected 32 goals in his final season at St. Elizabeth’s before moving to Oklahoma Wesleyan of the NAIA. Hall will look to continue that success in his first season with the Nor’easters.

“I think we just have to play together; do the basic things that we know how to do and just defend how we know how to defend and the results will come,” said Hall.

Assisting the Nor’easters front line will be New Zealand International and current Xavier University striker, Alex Ridsdale. As a teenager, Ridsdale was called up to the New Zealand Under-17

Alex Ridsdale

 World Cup qualifying squad before featuring in the academy system for arguably the biggest club in his home country, Auckland City.

Closing out this star studded group of international strikers is Cincinnati’s John Manga. Manga, a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo, had a season for the record books with the Bearcats gathering ten goals in 18 matches securing First Team All-American Athletic Conference honors in the process. Manga’s ten goals made him the first Bearcat to reach double-digit tallies since 2007.

John Manga

“Training has been at a really high intensity,” said Manga, a 2011 NSCAA All-American in High School. “So far it’s going great, I love this place; it doesn’t get much better than this.”

Three U.S. Soccer Development Academy products conclude this year’s class of strikers for the Nor’easters; Matt Vasquenza of Oakwood, Harry Swartz of the Boston Bolts and Ryan Peterson of PDA round out the Ocean City attack.

Vasquenza is coming off a freshman season at Xavier littered with accolades. After netting seven goals and six assists over the course of the season, Vasquenza was named to both the BIG EAST All-Rookie

Matt Vasquenza

Team as well as the College Soccer News All-Freshman team respectively. Vasquenza was also selected as the BIG EAST Rookie of the Week on three separate occasions.

Before his collegiate exploits began, Vasquenza left his mark at Oakwood Soccer Club. Vasquenza scored 15 goals in 25 games in the 2013 installment of the U.S. Development Academy before being called up to the Under-18 U.S. National Team camp in August of that year.

Harry Swartz

Northeastern freshman, Harry Swartz got to campus and immediately made an impact appearing in 17 games and starting 12. A top-150 recruit by College Soccer News in 2013, Swartz will add legitimate depth for the Nor’easters this summer.

New Jersey native Ryan Peterson completes this season’s collection of goal scorers for Ocean City. Peterson was named a four-star recruit by TopDrawerSoccer heading into his first season with the Wolfpack of N.C. State and saw time in all 17 matches during his freshman season in Raleigh, North Carolina.

“Training is going really well; the competition level is really high, the guys are loving it and were
Ryan Peterson
 molding together great,” said Peterson, a resident of Mount Olive, N.J. “It’s not about us individually; we have to come together as a team and maintain a high level day in and day out.”

The front men for the Nor’easters seem to be primed and ready for action as they kick off the PDL regular season this coming Saturday, May 23rd in Leesburg, Virginia at Evergreen Sports Complex against the recently instated D.C. United Under-23s.

2015 Individual Match and Season ticket packages are on sale now. For more information, call (609) 432-8271 to speak with a Nor'easters ticket representative, email us at tickets@oceancityfc.com, or visit www.oceancityfc.com/tickets for ticket package information.

Text "FORWARDS" to (609) 432-8271 to receive an exclusive promo code, for ticket purchases made online via www.oceancityfc.com/tickets.

For more information on the Ocean City Nor'easters or to "Follow the Storm", check us out at www.oceancityfc.com/followthestorm or text "FOLLOWTHESTORM" to 22828 to join the "Storm Watch" e-newsletter.

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