Central Florida Panthers
With the NPSL about to roll with a new season, we sat down with Giovanni Taliaferro, Vice President and co-founder of Central Florida Panthers, to discuss their expansion club and their preparations for their first year in the NPSL.
Can you tell us about your background prior to starting this club?
Our background are as an all volunteer Executive Board of Directors for the Central Florida Soccer League, a 501c4 not for profit adult amateur soccer league in the greater Orlando area. Our league was founded in 1964 and is sanctioned by both the USASA and the FSSA with over 2500 players between the ages of 18-72. With the level of talent in the league, we are looking at this opportunity to help them grow as players with the increased exposure via an NPSL membership.
Who designed your crest? Why Panthers?
I developed the logo with the input of both Eddie Loyola (President) and Alphonse Amato (Treasurer). With our identity and focus of being local, we felt the Panther was the perfect symbol since they are the state animal of Florida. We decided on the brand colors to represent some of the beautiful sunsets that can be witnessed in Central Florida. The 6 stars represent the decades the CFSL has been in operation (established in 1964) with the 5 major divisions.
Your conference has several well-established clubs, how will you measure success your first season?
Obviously we hope for positive results on the pitch but primarily we want to use the NPSL membership with the goal of providing opportunities for development of local amateur players and coaches alike. If we are able to assist one person in furthering their career then that itself will be a big success.
What are your goals for your new club? Short term/long term?
Short term building our identity on and off the pitch, long term we wish to partner with a youth infrastructure to also continue our mission of building the Central Florida community through the sport.
Who will be coaching the club? What is that person's background?
That decision has not been made as of yet. We hope to have an announcement soon.
With only a couple of months before the season starts, what are the plans on filling your roster?
We have a plan for tryouts and will finalize once the volunteer coaching staff is identified.
Your club is coming into this season with several other expansion clubs. What does that say about the strength of the NPSL and your club?
The NPSL has a very strong identity and appeal. We see the NPSL as an important piece of the US Soccer landscape and are honored to take part.
What should people know about CFSC?
Our vision and plan to stay local providing opportunities through promotion and education from within the CFSL and our affiliate FSSA leagues. We also want to entice local college players to stay home and try out for us instead of traveling to other states playing with other organizations.
Our entire staff will be made up of volunteers and hopefully we can reach out to local schools to provide real world experiences.