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Soccer Club Calling Falcon Park Home for 2024 Season


Falcon Park is now home to another sports club.

Founded in 2020, Auburn-based Nick Football Club (NFC) fields two teams competing for the first time in the United Premier Soccer League (UPSL) Division I. Both teams will play their 2024 home games at Falcon Park making them the first UPSL teams based in the city.

Speaking with Finger Lakes News Radio, Club Owner Nick Downing said the venue’s facilities made it the obvious choice for his teams.

“It’s a really lovely facility, to keep it simple,” said Downing. “It’s very well maintained and works great. Just for league standards alone, you need to have certain expectations for each facility to be used. It absolutely knocks them all out of the park.”

Downing also stated that he has received a warm welcome from the city and hopes to foster a strong relationship moving forward including keeping the club at Falcon Park.

“They’ve been great work with. The city’s been very supportive,” added Downing. “We’d like to get involved with community service events and just give back to the community that’s supporting us and helping us.”

NFC’s connection to Auburn extends beyond using the park for home games. All club staff – Chris Davison, Ethan Mapp, Josh Smith, Grant Stamp, Bud Morris Jr, and Downing himself – all played soccer at Cayuga Community College.

Downing said his goal is to turn the club into a recognized nonprofit organization to better promote the sport in Auburn and the surrounding Central New York area.

Most teams in the UPSL are composed of college-aged players; however, NFC takes a different approach. The club allows high school students to play on its teams with its youngest member currently being 15.

“If you’re able to handle playing at a men’s level physicality-wise, mentality-wise we’re more than welcome to take players,” he continued.

The UPSL is one of the first amateur soccer leagues in the US to operate a promotion and relegation system meaning teams can move up and down within the league’s two divisions based on performance. If a club operates more than one team, only the first team – in this case NFC I – can be promoted from Division I to the upper division, the Premier Division.

For this to happen, the team would either need to finish first in its division or finish the season higher than any other teams eligible for promotion.

Keeping with its mission of promoting soccer locally, Downing said that, if NFC I is promoted to the Premier Division, he will work on creating another team of high school-aged players to compete in the future.

Traditionally, soccer teams are named after the city or region where they originate from; however, Downing said the team’s community structure led to their unique name.

“We’re a players club so we give [the players] a lot of say in a lot of things that we do,” Downing continued.

When the original team was forming, the players voted to call themselves Nick Football Club as a joke. When the club joined the UPSL, the players voted to keep the unusual name.

NFC I will play at Falcon Park on Saturday at 8:00p and NFC II will play at the park on Sunday at 4:00p.

For more information on the club and to view its schedule, visit nickfootballclub.com.

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