Indoor soccer veterans Matt Clare and Shadow Sebele will help lead FC Wichita’s offensive attack this season.
Shadow Sebele said he’s going to dance.
Matt Clare said he’s looking forward to playing more games in front of his 9-year-old daughter, Addison.
Two different goals on the same path when FC Wichita makes its National Premier Soccer League debut on Friday night against the Joplin Demize at Stryker Complex.
Joplin and Wichita are members of the NPSL South Region’s South Central Conference.
“I think they’re two guys, right off the bat, that fans are going to be drawn to,” FC Wichita coach Larry Inlow said. “Two exciting players, two guys you can build with.”
Clare grew up playing soccer at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., and bypassed college to go straight into a pro career, signing with the United Soccer League’s Wilmington Hammerheads in 2006. He also spent time with the Tampa Bay Rowdies and was on their 2012 North American Soccer League title team before moving to the indoor game.
This is also the third team he’s played on in Wichita. He started off with the Wings in 2012 and spent the last two seasons with the B-52s, including team MVP honors last season after racking up 35 goals and 13 assists in 17 games.
“It’s been a journey, lots of ups and downs for sure, but I’m not ready to give it up,” Clare said. “The life of an athlete has been amazing. … I went home about nine months ago and thought I was almost ready to put on my big-boy shoes, but soccer always follows me and I always follow soccer.
“I’ve also stabilized myself and settled myself a little bit more in the community here, so I think that’s going to make it so I can get my daughter out here from North Carolina a little more, to have her be more involved with coming out and watching me play.”
Clare will serve as a veteran example on a roster dotted with college-age players.
“He’s been playing for a long time, and one of the reasons we wanted him here was his veteran leadership,” Inlow said. “That, combined with his talent, helps show younger guys see what they’ve got to to obtain, at the minimum if you want to end up getting paid to play this game.”
Sebele came to the United States from Zimbabwe when he was 15 as part of the Grassroot Soccer program and went to Episcopal High in Alexandria, Va. He was an All-Big East selection at West Virginia and has also played for the Des Moines Menace of the USL Premier Development League and went to camp with the D.C. United last year before being released.
He played with Clare on the B-52s last season, scoring 10 goals in 11 games.
“He’s very quiet, and it’s hard to crack that shell, but he seems to be just fine with a soccer ball on his foot,” Inlow said. “He’s a dangerous, explosive player. When I’m trying to read the flow of the game, he seems to always do something that flips it on its head ... he does the opposite of what I was expecting and he does it in a really smooth, exciting way.”
“I think he can provide a heavy, heavy leadership role just by example, just by how he plays and performs. People see him going out and working hard and they do the same.”
Sebel is definitely soft-spoken, but when pressed admits there’s a different side he’s ready to unleash.
“If you want to know what I do away from soccer, and if I’m being honest, it’s dancing,” Sebele said. “I can move, seriously.”
Salsa? Dougie? Running Man?
“When I score, you’ll find out what kind,” Sebele said, smiling. “But only when I score.”
Inlow is good with that.
“They better celebrate,” Inlow said. “We want to be exciting for the fans, we want to put on a show. They’re the reason why we’re here and they’re the reason why we get to stay.”
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