Soccer In Our Area

Soccer In Our Area: Kings Hammer FC

Club Background

In 2013, Kings Soccer Academy and Hammer FC merged and created Kings Hammer. Kings Hammer has two organizations; Kings Hammer SC, the youth side of their organization, which fields their U4 to U19 age groups. They also have the pre-professional side, Kings Hammer FC, which fields their U20 to U23 age groups.

Kings Hammer has successfully partnered with existing clubs and now services close to 12,000 players and over 45 events of all levels across four states: Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and Florida. However, Matt Shisler of Kings Hammer said that the club has aspirations to grow nationally.

In 2020, Kings Hammer introduced Kings Hammer FC as a pre-professional division of Kings Hammer Soccer Club. With the addition of pre-professional programming, they are the only club in Greater Cincinnati to offer a full player development pathway for both men and women.

The academy booms with success, as the trophy cabinet holds two national championships, four regional championships, 71 state championships and multiple coach of the year awards. 

The club has also placed thousands of players into college programs and currently has a plethora of players on youth national teams.

Kings Hammer FC plays in USL League Two, making the playoffs in 2021 and 2022. The roster holds a lot of talent, including 11 FC Cincinnati Academy alumni: Jack Moxom, Caleb Frakes, Nolan Brice, Owen Noverr, Bennett Gerak, Daniel Samways, Darrell Turcios, David Garcia, Matt Dreas, Silas Borgman and Alen Kapic. They also roster Henri Kumwenda, who plays on the Malawi National Team.

The expectation for Kings Hammer FC in 2024 is to make the playoffs and help provide their players with an opportunity to advance to the next level of their professional career or for younger players to have experience playing against collegiate players.

The Atmosphere 

Kings Hammer FC plays at the Northern Kentucky University soccer field for their home match days. The stands were filled with family members of the players and youth players who play in the academy. The club finds a way to implement all age groups into the matchday with the U4-U9 players walking out with the senior team pre-match. The youth teams also help on the sidelines during the game by gathering loose balls for the players. There was a good showing from the supporters, and even for a smaller team, they still made it a tough place to play for the opposition. The club sells tickets on their website for $5 each.

The Match 

Kings Hammer FC, 1-1-1, hosted Fort Wayne FC, 3-0-0, for the second time this season. The two clubs met on May 22 when Fort Wayne FC came away with a 1-0 victory. Both clubs were coming off wins in their last matches.

The match started with KHFC playing a suffocating press which rewarded them with threatening possession in the attacking third for the first 10 minutes of the game. After a few good looks and crosses into the box, KHFC was finally rewarded with a goal. In the ninth minute, Caleb Frakes made an unreal strike from 30 yards out that found the back of the net and put Kings Hammer up 1-0.

FWFC was determined to find an equalizer quickly, though, and almost got one in their first threatening sequence, as in the 16th minute Aaron Sanchez from Fort Wayne put a shot on target, but the shot was comfortably saved by the Kings Hammer keeper, Jack Moxom.  

However, the FWFC pressure to find a tying goal paid off in the 19th minute when a challenge in the box by Ekene Okeke resulted in a yellow card that also sent FWFC to the spot. Aaron Sanchez took the penalty for FWFC and perfectly placed it in the bottom left corner and tied the game 1-1.

The pace of the match from the start could be described as a track meet by the way both of the teams generated chances. However, after the first two goals, the game started to slow down and the physicality started to pick up. 

The game started to settle in the midfield, and after a couple of yellow cards paired with a lack of offensive output from either side in the last quarter hour, the match remained tied 1-1 going into halftime.

Coming out of halftime, the second half replicated the start of the first half. FWFC got the first chance out of the half in the 51st minute when a pass by Aaron Sanchez found Brandon Bermingham in the box, after which he put a shot on goal that was denied by Moxom.

KHFC got their first chance of the second half in the 53rd minute after a flurry of passes in the attacking third found Silas Borgman, who crossed the ball into the box. The cross, however, sailed behind the net. KHFC fans came to their feet in the 60th minute when a poor giveaway by the FWFC back line found Brock Kiper all alone in the box. He successfully chipped the keeper, but the ball rolled just right of the post. The match remained 1-1 after the best chance of the half.

Fresh legs came on for KHFC in the 62nd minute when Tyler Murphy, Lucas Schofield and Bennet Gerak came in for Brock Kiper, Caleb Franks and Douglas Fajardo.

The intensity didn’t go down a notch, though, as a yellow card was issued to Anthony Hernandez of FWFC in the 67th minute for shoving a KHFC player.

Another optimistic set of chances came for KHFC in the 72nd minute. A cross by Anthony Samways got deflected by an FWFC defender, which then found the feet of Tyler Murphy in the box. He then shot it on target, but it was saved comfortably by the FWFC keeper. A minute later, Murphy got another shot on goal from distance at the top of the box, but the keeper once again made the save.  

The optimism stopped shortly after for KHFC in the 75th minute. A run in the midfield by Aboubacar Traore found him 1-on-1 with the keeper after a KHFC defender misplayed the run. Traore put a shot on goal that deflected off Moxom and found the back of the net, giving FWFC a 2-1 lead.

KHFC pushed for an equalizer late in the game with another pair of substitutions in the 80th minute. Ali Kazin Nakid and Bennet Gerak came in for Anthony Samways and Daniel Samways.

Gerek immediately made an impact on the match in the 84th minute, as he put a ball perfectly in the middle of the box but, unfortunately, there was too much traffic to find the body part of a KHFC player. 

KHFC fought until the end and got some possession in the attacking third but couldn’t find a shot to tie tie the game. 

The final whistle sounded, and Kings Hammer FC fell to Fort Wayne FC 2-1 in a very physical game. 

Though a disappointing result, Kings Hammer midfielder Matt Dreas was optimistic about the future of the team.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t win but it seems everything we are doing in training is clicking in the right direction,” he said. 

Head coach Paul Nicholson also echoed that the breakthrough for this club is on the horizon.

“To come away with nothing is disappointing, but the quality is there,” Nicholson said. “The guys are working incredibly hard and they’re buying into what we are doing. We are competing with the darlings of USL League 2 and playing them off the pitch for a majority of the game.”

Kings Hammer FC drops to 1-1-2 and travels to Krenzler Field on June 8 to battle against Cleveland Force FC for their next match. Fort Wayne FC remains undefeated at 4-0-0.

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