One of the best parts of digging deep into the regional leagues that fill this country is finding clubs you never heard of before. Sometimes these clubs are powerhouses on the field, sometimes they are experts in branding, sometimes both. The reality is that every club has a story that should be heard. Today, we learn the story of a club with an amazing crest and name, playing in the Buffalo and District Soccer League (BDSL): Bangarang FC. We sat down with Cullen Dedrick, Manager/Owner of Bangarang FC, to learn more.
So I'll start where I have to start. What's the story on the name?
We originally joined the Buffalo and District Soccer League (BDSL) in 2016 as FC Aftershock as an off-shoot of the now Division 1 side FC Quake. After two years I decided to re-brand and create my own club/brand and Bangarang FC was formed.
Beyond the name, love the crest. Backstory there? Who designed it?
For a while I wanted to do a spinoff of BSC Young Boys of the Swiss Super League and call ourselves “FC Fun Boiz” but that got shut down by the powers that be. After a while of talking with some of the guys on the squad we had talked about potentially rebranding into FC Stampede or The Buffalo Yetis. Scrolling through the internet I saw a skeleton version of Rufio (RIP) and thought that it would make a sick soccer crest. I hit up my good friend Devin Jeffery (Mr. Smith Agency out of Buffalo) and he did the rest. For a while, we were going to be Lost Boys FC, but at the last second, I thought Bangarang FC would be cooler.
You play in the BDSL, a strong regional league, can you talk about the league, pros and cons, what's the level of play?
The BDSL is amazing and something I feel a lot of us take for granted. Not a lot of areas have a 70 team league that offers high-end competition from top to bottom week in and week out. As for pros and cons:
Pros- from top to bottom it’s high end competitive soccer. Even though a lot of the higher divisions rag on D3 as being “bar league” it’s still competitive and has quality talent. Not a lot of places have a league like this to play in.
Cons- I could whine about a ton of stuff but ultimately, I’d say the travel. Every team has their own home field so on some Sunday’s you’re driving an hour/ almost two hours to get to a game. Honestly that’s home field advantage though (Looking at you Olean 1854 FC).
Your club is currently in the 3rd division, so there's clearly a high level of interest locally in the game, what makes your city such a strong soccer spot?
Honestly, I don’t know. I’d have to say for a lot of guys it’s the variance in competitiveness. Top of the league is your top-tier talent which a lot of the high-end college guys and a handful of FC Buffalo guys play in. On the other end of the spectrum in D3 you have more of a competitive “bar league” atmosphere. We also have an over 35 league that plays on Friday nights which has grown over the last two years as well.
How did your club perform last season?
Man, I knew we’d eventually get to this, haha. We finished mid-table, as we have every year. It seems like for whatever reason we can’t get the chemistry together consistently enough to drive positive results. But with our additions this year I’m fairly confident we’ll be playing into mid-august for the playoffs.
In a local league, in the 3rd division, how do you go about building a winning team?
A lot of it is building over the years and creating a good core of guys. Every year you add a few players here and there and lose players, but if you can keep your core together and keep playing throughout the offseason you can keep the chemistry going and build for the next season.
Who are the power clubs in your league?
BSC Raiders are the cream of the crop for the league. Last summer they went undefeated in league play and won the treble (1st place in division, winner of the Tehel Cup, and playoff champ). Every time I watch them play I find it had to believe that they’re in the same league as us. This past weekend they came from behind vs the Rochester and District Soccer League to win 3-2 in extra time and secured a spot in the first round of the USASA Region 1 Amateur Cup.
Other teams that I’d give nods to would be Amherst Sharpshooters, Buffalo United SS (BUSS), and Queenston FC.
With a club like your own, what are your goals season to season?
This season I would like to see us make the post season. This will be our 4th season in the BDSL and we haven’t played a single game in August yet and I want to change that.
Someday I hope to win the D3 Championship or the Wood Cup so I can hoist the cup and drink a warm Michelob Ultra out of it.
How do you stay in soccer shape when you have to deal with Buffalo weather?
It’s tough man but a lot of us play at indoor facilities like Sahlen’s Sports Park and Sportsplex. Other than that you kind of rely on guys taking that responsibility on themselves and staying in half decent shape through the long cold winter, haha.
Does a club your size sell merch? Because with that logo you should be.
I’ve thought about trying to do something but never actually followed through. We do have flags that were made by Fly-It Flags, but as of right now that’s it.
If someone wants to know more about Bangarang FC, where do they go?
If you’re looking for actual stats and quality content, I’d direct everyone to bdsl.org. Usually by Monday afternoon a lot of the teams have full recaps of the match online there as well as stats.
If you’re looking for banter and pot-stirring, twitter is the place to be. I swear there is no better place to be on Twitter than a Sunday night after all of the games are finished. Just grab the popcorn and enjoy the show.
When does your season start?
BDSL season starts the first weekend in May and runs through the end of July, with playoffs starting in August. Ultimately if you make it all the way to championship Sunday you’re playing till almost September.
Manager/Owner Bangarang FC