FC Buffalo is an American soccer team based in Buffalo, New York, United States. Founded in 2009, the team plays in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL), a national amateur league at the fourth tier of the American Soccer Pyramid, in the Midwest Division.
|Full name||FC Buffalo|
|Nickname(s)||Blitzers, Wolves, Buffalonians|
Buffalo, New York
|Head Coach||Frank Butcher|
|League||National Premier Soccer League|
|2019||4th, Midwest Region, East Conference|
The team plays its home games at All-High Stadium. The team's colors are blue, gold and white.
FC Buffalo participates in the Erie County Derby against Erie Commodores FC, a regional NPSL rivalry featuring two clubs in different states but counties of the same name. FC Buffalo also participates in the Western New York Derby against Rochester Lancers and the I-90 Derby against Syracuse FC.
Founding and inaugural season
FC Buffalo joined the NPSL as an expansion franchise in 2009 and took part in its first competitive season in 2010. While not a continuation of either franchise, FC Buffalo follows in the footsteps of two other recent Buffalo-based teams that competed in the NPSL: Queen City FC and Buffalo City FC. The team is owned by a group of five Buffalonians: Joshua Batten, Scott Frauenhofer, Donny Kutzbach, Nick Mendola and Ray Siminski.
The club had a contest for fans to submit a nickname and after much debate and thousands of votes cast, "Blitzers" was chosen. The vote was aided by Buffalo native and CNN broadcaster Wolf Blitzer airing an interview with owners Nick Mendola and Scott Frauenhofer discussing the contest.
ESPN correspondent Vincent Thomas commented: "Although the 'Blitzers' nickname has ended up being a pretty deft marketing move, it's more legit than a ploy. The term blitz comes from the German word for lightning, which is all over the team's logo and the city's municipal flag. And, of course, there's a mutual fondness between Blitzer and his hometown."
The Blitzers finished their opening campaign with six wins, two draws and four losses. They were the only team to defeat the Keystone Conference champion FC Sonic.
On Dec 8, 2010, the Blitzers announced they had parted ways with head coach Jim Hesch. Ten days later, they announced via their web site that they had inked Daniel Krzyzanowicz to coach the club into the future. Krzyzanowicz helmed a Medaille College program that has made the NCAA tournament five times and reached the Sweet Sixteen in 2010.
The 2011 season was up-and-down, with the Blitzers winning five, drawing one and losing six. During the season the Blitzers took on the Bedlington Terriers F.C. in a friendly match at All High Stadium in the inaugural Bedlington Cup. Due to the connection of Robert E. Rich Jr. to Buffalo, NY and Bedlington, England. The friendly was arranged and the Terriers traveled to Buffalo for the match. The Blitzers won 5–1 in front of a sell out crowd. The match was filmed and later made into a BBC documentary called Mr Rich and The Terriers
The team's mascot Wolf Blitzer was unveiled at the Winter Wolves fund raiser. 2012 Season tickets were sold at the event. The unique feature of the 2012 season ticket is that it consists of a special season ticket holder's scarf that will function as admission to the season's home matches.
FC Buffalo saw its first player drafted into Major League Soccer on January 17, 2012 when midfielder Krystian Witkowski was claimed in the second round of the supplemental draft by the Philadelphia Union. The team then saw a player drafted into Major League Soccer for the second-consecutive year, as second-leading scorer Mike Reidy was selected 71st overall in the 2013 MLS Supplemental Draft by Sporting KC.
On November 20, 2012, FC Buffalo signed its third head coach, Brendan Murphy. The Buffalo native was a national champion as a player at St. Lawrence University. He led the team to a playoff spot in his first season, where they lost 5-2 to rivals Erie.
MLS called again in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft, when Liam Callahan went 24th overall to the Colorado Rapids and Russell Cicerone was selected by the Portland Timbers with the 76th pick. Weeks later, head coach Brendan Murphy was hired as goalkeeping coach by the Rochester Rhinos, and FC Buffalo hired University at Buffalo alum and Grand Island High School coach Frank Butcher as manager, tabbing former players John Grabowski and Casey Derkacz as assistants.
Butcher was the fastest coach to 10 wins in club history, and led the team to Germany for the 2019 preseason. The club played three matches including one against FC St. Pauli II, and also welcomed the Liga MX reserva side Monarcas Morelia and FC St. Pauli's first team for international friendlies.
The team take inspiration for their colors, royal blue and yellow gold, from the classic Buffalo Sabres uniforms. The badge features a crest with a soccer ball inside a circle of electric flashes under the team name and founding year. The logo is reminiscent of the municipal flag of Buffalo, NY. In 2015, the team returned to a Nike manufactured shirt and introduced three sets of uniforms. One all blue, one all yellow, and one all white. The kits can be mixed and matched on game day to create multiple unique and colorful looks.
The front jersey sponsor is Rich Products, a multinational food production corporation headquartered in Buffalo, New York. Rich's also owns and sponsors the local Triple-A International League baseball team, the Buffalo Bisons. Més Que, Buffalo's premier downtown soccer bar, and Batavia Downs Gaming & Casino are the two other shirt sponsors.
- 2010: Papa Jake's Saloon
- 2011–2016: Rich Products
- 2017: Lif Dental
- 2018: Soho Buffalo / Frankie Primo's +39
- 2019–: Hofbrauhaus Buffalo
Players and staff
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
|Year||Division||League||Regular Season||W-L-D||Playoffs||Open Cup|
|2010||4||NPSL||3rd, Keystone||6–4–2||Did not qualify||Did not enter|
|2011||4||NPSL||5th, Keystone||5–6–1||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|2012||4||NPSL||5th, Midwest-Great Lakes||1–7–4||Did not qualify||Did not enter|
|2013||4||NPSL||2nd, Midwest-Great Lakes||8–5–0||Conference Semi-Finals||Did not qualify|
|2014||4||NPSL||4th, Midwest-Great Lakes East||5–8–1||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|2015||4||NPSL||5th, Midwest-Great Lakes East||6–2–4||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|2016||4||NPSL||3rd, Midwest-Great Lakes East||5–3–2||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|2017||4||NPSL||5th, Midwest-East||5–4–3||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|2018||4||NPSL||4th, Midwest-East||6–4–2||Did not qualify||Did not enter|
|2019||4||NPSL||4th, Midwest-East||4-4-2||Did not qualify||Did not enter|
- Supporters of FC Buffalo, Detroit City and AFC Cleveland formed the Rust Belt Derby modeled after the Cascadia Cup. The winner of the Derby is based on the head to head record of the Midwestern Conference clubs during regular season NPSL matches. Cleveland won the inaugural Rust Belt Derby on June 23, 2012 following a 1–1 draw with Detroit.
- FC Buffalo claim as their top rival Erie and the sides compete in the EC (Erie County) Derby. To Date FC Buffalo have four wins, eight losses and three ties against Erie and is unbeaten in its last five.
- "Buffalo soccer team to be named after Wolf Blitzer". ESPN.
- http://www.buffalonews.com/city/article472847.ece%7CFC%5B%5D Buffalo tops Bedlington in a friendly soccer match
- "Mr Rich and the Terriers". BBC One. BBC. Retrieved December 14, 2012.
- http://home.buffalo.com/sports/gallery/fc-buffalos-winters-wolves-at-town-ballroom/%7CFC%5B%5D Buffalo’s Winter’s Wolves at Town Ballroom
- http://www.fcbuffalo.org/uncategorized/2012-scarves-hit-streets-weekend/%7C2012%5B%5D Season Ticket Scarf NOW Available For Online Order
- Di Veronica, Jeff (January 17, 2012). "Aquinas' Krystian Witkowski drafted by Philly-MLS". Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Archived from the original on May 23, 2013. Retrieved December 12, 2012.
- "MURPHY NAMED HEAD COACH AT FC BUFFALO". National Premier Soccer League. National Premier Soccer League. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved December 12, 2012.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 8, 2012. Retrieved May 8, 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "The Rust Belt Derby". Soccer News Day. Soccer News Day. Archived from the original on May 8, 2012. Retrieved June 26, 2012.
- "Seven Minutes from Heaven". FC Buffalo. Retrieved June 26, 2012.