Harrisburg City Islanders’ Season at a Glance
Harrisburg, Pa (March 20, 2017) – The Harrisburg City Islanders look to attack the 2017 season with a passionate group of players ready to lead the team back to the playoffs this season.
Harrisburg kicks off their season with a road trip starting Saturday, March 25 in Richmond against the Richmond Kickers and then take on the New York Red Bulls II in New York on Wednesday, April 5.
The Islanders are entering their 14th season as the premier soccer club in Harrisburg and its seventh as a member of the USL. This season, the USL-Pro was given Division II status, making it the largest Division II soccer league in the world. Professional soccer has been a summer staple in Harrisburg and that tradition continues this season.
Along with top-notch soccer action, fans can expect an exciting environment full of unique experiences for every fan young to old.
For the second straight year, the Islanders are set to defend their home at FNB Field. The Islanders will welcome in a host of Eastern Conference foes including multiple match-ups with their two in-state rivals.
Defending the Island
Harrisburg opens up their home defense with a match-up against Bethlehem Steel FC on Saturday, April 15. In three matches last season the Islanders went undefeated against Pennsylvania’s newest USL team with a final season series record of 2-0-1.
A 2016 highlight for the Islanders was winning the season series against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds and taking home their first share of the Keystone Derby Cup. This season, the Islanders have the home field advantage in the battle for Pennsylvania with two home games against Pittsburgh on Wednesday, May 24 and Saturday, August 12.
Harrisburg is set to play every other Eastern Conference team at home one time this season. Check out the full season slate to plan your trip to the Island.
The Islanders have been busy with a lot of signings in the preseason. The club has taken the most care to go out and get the best players to inject excitement and skill into the roster.
Players like Brandon Miller, Lee Nishanian, and other world class footballers add a set of talent that the Islanders have sought in recent years.
Miller is a former USL Goalie of the Year and brings a solid net presence to back up the Islanders defense. Nishaninan is a player with championship experience and can be a staple throughout the 2017 Islanders roster.
Other newcomers to the Harrisburg squad include local products in John Grosh and Griffin Libhart, USL rookies Mike Olla and Travis Brent, and USL veterans like Jonny Mendoza and Jake Bond.
Look for these new players to make immediate impacts in their Islanders debuts.
Harrisburg has always been a team that likes continuity and this year’s squad reflects the commitment to keeping a core group of players from season to season.
Islanders fans will recognize players like Paul Wilson, Cardel Benbow and Aaron Wheeler who are set to put the ball in the back of the net on a consistent basis.
Wheeler was on his way to a spectacular 2016 season before it was cut short by injury. Still, even sitting out the majority of the season, the 6’4 forward finished third on the team in goals. His headers off of set pieces are nightmares for defenders to cover.
Wheeler returns as the Islanders top scorer from last season.
Benbow and Wilson are the speedy guys who can fly up and down the field to create havoc in the opposition’s backline. Wilson finished his 2016 campaign with 14 total points (4 G, 6 A).
Longtime Islanders favorite Danny DiPrima returns for his fifth season in an Islanders jersey. Like Wheeler, DiPrima also suffered a season-ending injury early in the season. Harrisburg will look for DiPrima to use his leadership and skill to lead a young Islanders side.
More returning players include Jamie Thomas, Shawn McLaws, and Mohoumed Dabo.