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Semi pro soccer team lands in Cedar Springs

Semi pro soccer team lands in Cedar Springs

L to R: Dominic Siclunia, Detroit Waza Flo; Joe Brefczynski, Great Lakes Wanderers co-owner; Pedro Sanchez, Great Lakes Wanderers co-owner; and Mario Siclunia, Detroit Waza Flo. Courtesy photo.

The Great Lakes Wanderers, a new semi pro arena soccer team in Cedar Springs held their final exhibition game, Saturday, June 30, at the Cedar Rock Sports Plex, where they faced off against the Lansing City Futsal, and came away with an 11-0 win.

According to co-owner and head coach Joe Brefczynski, the roster for the game was made up of players whom have tried out for the Wanderers and have been selected to participate in team camp. The current prospects include players from Cedar Springs, Rockford, Sparta, Grand Rapids, and Muskegon. Some players are international emigrants from Mexico, Liberia, Guatemala and Columbia. 

“Camp is scheduled in August with our final roster being released then,” he explained. The season will start in the fall. The team is part of the Premier World Soccer League (PASL) and will play in Division 3. 

Owners Brefczynski and Pedro Sanchez have placed an emphasis on developing local talent from our surrounding communities for the emerging sport of Arena Soccer. They plan to showcase their talent to Major Arena Soccer League teams  in the first and second division, hoping to see some of them take the step to full professional when they are ready. Currently there are is Division 2 teams in Muskegon and Detroit, and Division 1 teams as close as Milwaukee and St. Louis.

Helping Brefczynski with coaching duties are assistant coaches JR Burnett and Mike Booggart. 

The Great Lakes Wanderers won over the Lansing City Futsal 11-0. Courtesy photo.

Brefczynski and Burnett grew up together in Park Forest, Illinois, playing, coaching, and refereeing together. Brefczynski is a former professional arena player himself, winning an AISL national title with the Cincinnati Excite in 2005. Burnett coaches for Midwest United Full time. Booggart played on one of the original semi pro teams in Grand Rapids—The Explosion in the old USISL, and most recently led the Byron Center Boys HS varsity program.

Co-owner Pedro Sanchez grew up in Kent City and played locally. He has continued to stay involved coaching at various clubs in the area and most recently accepted the Head Coaching role at Algoma Christian for boys and girls.

The Wanderers hope to fill a sports entertainment void for soccer fans over the winter months and provide an option for families north of Grand Rapids. All home games will be played at the Cedar Rock Sportsplex in Cedar Springs. Every game will feature additional entertainment options for youth and adult as well as several opportunities for young athletes to interact directly with the semi professional player. 

Brefczynski said that the Great Lakes Wanderers are open to soccer players 16 years and older. “Since we are semi-pro, it doesn’t affect their eligibility to play in high school or college,” he explained. 

Anyone interested in trying out should email pedro@greatlakeswfc.com.

Follow their Facebook page for updates on the team at www.facebook.com/glwanderers/.

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Ray Winnie
Kent County Credit Union


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