Expansion side Kings Hammer FC open with their first match of the season this Saturday at the Dayton Dutch Lions. As soon at the USL League 2 schedule was released, both sides have given this game significant attention.
Dayton and Cincinnati have had a USL League 2 rivalry that has had some very physical matches. After the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the season in 2020, there was concern that rivalry was going to go by the wayside. Years of “friendly banter” went down the tubes as the Cincinnati Dutch Lions FC went on a hiatus last year and fans of both teams were disappointed that the rivalry was coming to an end.
Then, in steps Kings Hammer FC to fill that Cincinnati void and bring new life into the rivalry. Opening the season against a rival can start your season off in one of two ways. New head coach of Dayton, Sid van Druenen, looks to return the Dutch Lions to their winning ways, while KHFC gaffer Paul Nicholson looks to start Dayton off with a one in the loss column.
Since the announcement that Kings Hammer FC would be joining USL League 2 this season, it has been extremely active in trying to get up and running. Usually, teams have an entire off-season to prepare and start scouting players. That was not the case for KHFC. Cincinnati fans are excited to have Kings Hammer carrying the city’s USL 2 banner in 2021. KHFC has signed a number of quality players as it prepares for the season who are expected to perform well. Several of the players are homegrown talent, including Chris Workman, who was part of the Kings Hammer program growing up.
The Kings Hammer FC Roster Build:
Kings Hammer FC has put together a solid roster in a very short time. Five players from Horizon League regular-season champion Northern Kentucky have joined, as well as four players from James Madison. James Madison had a solid appearance in the NCAA Tournament this spring. Competition to get into the starting XI will be fierce, as the entire roster is going to be working to get time on the field.
While a number of people will tell you USL 2 is about the development of these young players, there’s also a drive to get results. The club has committed a good amount of financial backing to make the USL 2 side competitive and attractive to amateur players. Nicholson’s USL 2 record before joining Kings Hammer FC was a respectable 12-7-9 in one of the toughest divisions in the league.
2021 – Kings Hammer FC Roster
0- Jared Brown
1- Eduardo D’Avino (duh uh-vee-no)
2- Quinn Thompson
3- Nathan Heath
4- Melker Anshelm
5- Karson Kendall
6- Reece Hands
7- Danny Barlow
8- Lalas Ayertey
9- Sam Robinson
10- Luca Erhardt
11- Bradan Allen
12- Jalen Brown
13- Sam Slocum
14- Parker Grinstead
15- Ryan Dougherty
16- Ben Hegge
17- Rodrigo Robles
18- Marcello Jones
19- Michael Wampler
20- Roberto Burlew
21- Timmy Ennin
22- Zach Sauer
23- Alex Krakowiak (krak-o-vee-ak)
24- Ethan Garvey
25- Matic Pavlic (matice pavlich)
26- Cameron Territo
27- Zach Powell
28- Brayden McNitt
32- Chris Workman
34- Kenney Walker
99- Daniel Bermingham
##- Scott Williams
Players to look out for on the Kings Hammer FC Roster this Summer:
The obvious choice to watch this summer is Kenney Walker. Walker’s return to Cincinnati is great for the game in the city, and he will offer KHFC that veteran experience that a number of USL League 2 teams lack. Opposing fans, including the Five Rivers Faithful, will look to get into the veteran’s head early on to try and get him off of his game. Walker will be rocking the familiar No. 34 in his return to the pitch this weekend.
Reece Hands returns for another season under Nicholson. In 2019, Hands played 1,064 minutes for Nicholson. Reece played 90 minutes in 11 of his 13 appearances in 2019. He’s a solid presence on the field no matter what position Nicholson decides to play him in.
The goalkeeper position could very well be goalkeeper-by-committee in 2021. All four keepers that are on the roster are very good and could battle for time. Daniel Bermingham is coming off of a great regular season with Northern Kentucky and could be the starter in the first match. All four keepers got time against the FC Cincinnati U-19s in a preseason friendly last week.
This weekend’s opponent — Dayton Dutch Lions FC
Dayton finds itself with a new but old head coach in Van Druenen. This is Van Druenen’s third time with the club. He was the head coach in 2013-14, 2016 and now in 2021. The Dutchman is also the assistant coach at Wright State, which means we won’t see any familiar faces from Wright State on the Dayton Dutch Lions roster this Summer. Former Wright State player Austin Kinley will be joining the squad this season, the club announced on Wednesday.
Dayton looks to return to its division championship form of the 2018 season. In 2018, Dayton went 8-3-3 and fell in the conference semifinal. In 2019, the last full season under former gaffer Dan Griest, the team went 5-6-1 and finished fourth in the division. Dayton had a friendly against FC Columbus 95 earlier this week, and it came away with a 2-0 result. Dayton is a familiar opponent for Kings Hammer’s coaching staff, and the game will probably be very physical.
Saturday’s match is open to the public and is being played at 7 p.m. at Doc Stadium at West Carrollton High School.
Single-game ticket pricing is as follows according to the Dayton Dutch Lions Website:
- Adults: $5
- Youth (4-17): $4
- Under 3: Free
- Seniors (55+): $3
- Military: $3
For more coverage on Kings Hammer FC during the 2021 season, be sure to continue to follow Cincinnati Soccer Talk on Twitter under the handle @cincysoccertalk. We will be bringing you pre-match and post-match KHFC content.