In its second season of play, Kingston FC has enjoyed a complete reversal of fortunes.
The pro soccer team, which features four current and former Gaels players, sits first in the Canadian Soccer League (CSL) at 9-3-1, past the season’s midway point.
They’ve already doubled their point total from 2012 — the club’s first-ever season, which yielded just four wins in 22 games.
Two additions to this year’s squad are amateur defenders Joe Zupo and David Tom, who play for Queen’s during the school year. Two former Gaels, midfielders Jordan Brooks and Nathan Klemencic, are on professional contracts.
Zupo said he signed on with Kingston FC to develop as a player alongside his regular centre back partner at Queen’s.
“I came here to improve my abilities for the Gaels,” he said, “but at the same time form a good partnership with David Tom … so that when we return to Queen’s, we have a better relationship than we did before.”
Zupo is a fixture in Kingston’s starting lineup, appearing in all 13 games so far. He scored his first goal of the season on July 13, in a 2-2 draw against the Windsor Stars.
Tom has mostly played with Kingston’s reserve side — a developmental team that plays in the CSL’s Second Division, primarily composed of players aged 23 and younger.
He said having a taste of professional sports has helped him hone his skills against greater competition.
“I like to think that we’re definitely more skilled now,” Tom said. “Training at a really high level all summer obviously helps keep your touch really good and makes you a better player.”
According to head coach Colm Muldoon, the import of quality international and university players explains the team’s turnaround.
“Queen’s has been a good source of players,” Muldoon said. “Both David and Joe have brought great spirit to the whole group and great work ethics, making us stronger.”
Kingston will be without Zupo and Tom’s services come September, when the Gaels’ season begins. Muldoon said losing them will make the team weaker.
Kingston currently leads the CSL in scoring with 42 goals, with striker Guillaume Surot netting a league-best 15. Although Surot was sidelined for the team’s most recent home game on July 20, his teammates raced to a 6-0 blowout win.
“I’m very happy with the team. The players are giving everything,” Muldoon said. “It’s clear we’re one of the better teams [in the CSL].”
As the club enters the second half of their season, Muldoon said for his team to maintain their high calibre play, they “need to continue to have a constant search for improvement and not rest on [their] laurels.”
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