The USL 2 comes back to New Jersey as NJ Copa FC returns to the pitch on Saturday, May 21st at Mount Saint Mary’s College against the Hudson Valley Hammers at 7 pm EST. Coming off of a 5-6-3 2021 campaign, the club looks to rebound in 2022 to take all three points in the opening weekend, and get off on the proper foot heading into the summer schedule.
This coming season you will see many new and familiar faces both on the touchline and on the pitch as New Jersey Copa FC, the top of the player development of FC Copa Academy, prepares to play in the USL 2 Metropolitan Division with all eyes on making it to the playoffs. Head Coach and Technical Director Fernando Barboto returns to lead the team with Matt Yu as Associate Head Coach, Sam Roca as Assistant Coach and Andre Vieira as Operations Manager for the 2022 campaign. Sporting Director Roberto Aguas stated “I’m very excited to have enhanced our staff even further for our second year in the USL 2. The level of experience and dedication this group of leaders have shown leading up to preseason gives us a glimpse of what is to come.”
There is a lot of promise for the team in 2022 and it starts with the staff, as they look to get the team ready for the summer of soccer in New Jersey. Coach Barboto is eager to get started, “I think me and the coaching staff have built a roster that will compete at the highest level of the league. After completing a successful inaugural 2021, we return even stronger for 2022.” When asked about the previous year Coach Barboto added, “My experience last year was fantastic. I enjoyed the level of play and as a head coach, the ability to have unlimited subs and no re-entry added an exciting layer to technical changes through substitutions.”
NJ Copa Associate Head Coach Matt Yu is also ready to get going in May saying, “I am excited to be a part of the USL2 staff and looking forward to the season. FC Copa is building something special, and I am thankful for the opportunity.”
Another familiar face to NJ Copa FC is Sam Roca who returns for 2022 and whose experience as a player brings another element to the staff to help players understand and navigate their potential careers is ready for the whistle to kick off the season says “I appreciate the faith and belief of Coach Barboto and Sporting DirectorRoberto Aguasin asking me to return and continue the project we all started together last year.” Roca, who also serves as the Head Varsity Soccer Coach at Saint Joseph High School in Metuchen, NJ added “I’m looking forward to continuing to build the culture, passion, and performances as a member of the staff for the 2022 USL 2 season.”
NJ Copa FC will start the season off on the road after the first fixture and head to Fairleigh Dickinson University on Wednesday night to take on the Cedar Stars Rush with an 8 pm EST kickoff for its second game of the season. This match is an important fixture to look at as last year FC Copa was 0-1-1 against the Stars and wants to return the favor this year as they play twice in a matter of a week with NJ Copa FC hosting the Stars Wednesday, June 1.
The June 1st opener is a special day for NJ Copa FC as they host matches this year at St. Joseph’s High School for the 2022 season where they will host 7 matches with the last 6 scheduled games to be at home for Copa as they look to use the home-field advantage to help them finish the end of the season strong.
The USL 2 regular season takes place during the summer months from May to July with each team playing 14 matches against regional competition The top-seeded club and the division's runner up will then have an opportunity to play a team from another division in the playoffs that will take place later in July and continuing to play for a possible USL 2 Championship in early August.