As we finish up the power rankings season in the UPSL divisions we cover, it’s time to add some new ones in as well!
For local midwest league NOSL, Gary Wiggins himself guest writes and gives us an idea of what to expect in the days leading up to the summer season.
Old and new clubs unite to make an interesting lineup of clubs and some difficult work in choosing, but Gary gives it a go here:
- Ambassadors FC Ohio (-): With the entire season yet to start, it stands to reason that this Ambassadors U23 side could easily be one of the surprise sides of the season. Despite the defeat against NPSL side Cleveland SC, Ambassadors showed a very organized defense that will give some NOSL teams fits. And Ambassadors young keeper Carson Young showed serious skill in stopping repeated shots on goal by the Cleveland SC veterans. Ambassadors FC Ohio is a side worth keeping an eye on in the upcoming season.
- Forest City FC (-): Perhaps a dark horse pick this far up the rankings, Forest City FC represents one of the more interesting new sides for the 2021 season. With no game film to go on, this ranking is purely based on what the NOSL staff thinks that we could see this year. The team is meant to act as a feeder team for NPSL side Cleveland SC, so it would make sense that the players that take the field this season should be really promising, if not a bit raw to start.
- Mansfield Liederkranz (-): Mansfield Liederkranz ends up in third place in this week’s power rankings due largely to our expectation that the club will be one of the most organized teams in the league this season. In addition to a roster packed with college talent, most of these players will have known each other for years. This level of familiarity and coach Jeff Huggins’s over 30 years of experience at the club should make the German club one that is hard to beat.
- Ambassadors FC (-): The Ambassadors senior side comes in at number four in our rankings this week. While this may come as a surprise to some fans, the NOSL staff feel like the youth and speed of the Ambassadors FC Ohio give them the edge over the senior side (we’ll find out if we’re right in week one). With the senior side, we are again expecting a very organized and well-coached side that should give them the edge on many teams.
- Stark County United (-): NOSL veterans Stark County United come in at fifth on this week’s power rankings. There is something to be said for the experience that having a year of league play under your belt gives you. While they ultimately ended up falling to the eventual champions in the playoffs in 2019, the team is returning an experienced roster that includes 2019 leading scorer, Nate McFeaters. Can Stark County return to its high-scoring ways in 2021? We’re excited to find out!
- Amish Country United (-): The league’s other returning team this season comes in at sixth in our week two rankings. Amish Country is an interesting team to try to rank currently. If the club can get their preferred starting XI on the field, they will be a hard team for most to beat. Our staff’s questions are really about the back half of the team’s roster. If there are scheduling issues or a pile-up of injuries, Amish Country could struggle later in the season.
- Team Vulpine (-): The lower half of our rankings this week contain some of our newest clubs. Team Vulpine falls to the upper part of this list because we do know some of the players at this club. Ex-Wayne County Rovers players Jakob Taggart and Bryce Blair helped to start this team. What we don’t know yet is what Vulpine’s level and style of play is. Don’t be surprised if any of the teams at this end of the table make some big jumps in next week’s rankings.
- Delaware Rising FC (-): Delaware Rising has come out of the gate flying as a club. Their logo and kits easily put them among the top of the league. What we don’t know yet is what they will look like on the field. It’s this uncertainty that has the NOSL staff listing Delaware Rising in eighth place this week. If their on-the-field play ends up like their FIFA e-cup play, don’t expect Delaware to stay down here for long.
- The City of Ohio SC (-): The City of Ohio finally gets to break-in their new home at St. Ignatius High School this weekend. This game may represent the best chance for any team in the rankings to prove our staff wrong this week. With many of the same roster unknowns as are pointed out above, The City of Ohio has a great chance to open league play with a bang in Cleveland this weekend.
That’s all from Gary this week, and it’s all from us at smallworld until Monday with our UPSL power rankings! Thanks as always for reading.
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