AhriaSimonsBlackRockFC

Black Rock FC soccer player Ahria Simons, left, battles for the ball with an opponent.

Green Mountain Union High School soccer fans thrilled to the skill, speed and savvy of Mack Walton when he played for the Chester school from 2013 through 2016.

He then took his act to Clarkson University where he was a standout for the Golden Knights.

This summer he has come almost full circle. He is on the roster of Black Rock FC which plays its home games at Manchester’s Applejack Stadium, a gem of a facility only about 30 miles from where Walton played his high school soccer.

Black Rock FC plays in the United Soccer League Two (USL2), the highest level of amateur soccer in the country.

Black Rock has a big weekend with home games against FC Malaga City on Friday at 7 p.m. and Seacoast United on Sunday at 6 p.m.

That is part of a weekend billed as SoccerFest at Applejack that includes the Vermont Fusion of the Women’s Premier Soccer League hosting the Rhode Island Rogues on Saturday at 6 p.m.

Black Rock FC is 1-1 after opening with a 2-0 road victory over AC Connecticut and then losing 3-1 at home to the Boston Bolts.

“It is a big weekend for us. We are looking to get back in the win column,” Black Rock General Manager Jon Moodey said.

The Black Rock players are living in Bennington at the Bennington Sports Center.

Being residents during the season, Moody said the team very much wants to integrate itself into the community. That includes giving free instructional soccer clinics in communities from Rutland to Bennington.

“If a town wants us to give a clinic, we’ll do it. We just have to connect with the right people,” Moody said.

Black Rock’s head coach is Brad Agoos. He brings a glittering resume to town. He was a three-time national champion as a player at the University of Virginia, played professionally in Holland, Germany, Costa Rica and in the United States. He coached professionally with the Portland Timbers.

Agoos is now a resident of Burlington.

“We are lucky to have him,” Moody said.

There are 14 countries and 14 states represented on the roster.

Other players on the Black Rock roster are Jai Brown, Duke; Jacob Blackwin, Colgate; Joshua Bolma, Maryland; Garrett Derosia, MCLA; Connor DeAngelis, Black Rock Residential Academy; Diego Dutilh, Creighton; Blake Franzen, Liberty University; Salam Giaba, American International College; Edward Gordon, University of Omaha-Nebraska; Eli Gould, Colgate; Sebastian Green, Black Rock Residential Academy; Cabrel Happi, University of Virginia, Perry Kingson, Lehigh; Alex Krzykos, Phoenix Rising (professional); Luk Mikula, Black Rock Residential Academy.

Benjamin Mirelis, Club Univeridad de Chile; Mutaya Mwape, Richmond Kickers (professional); Jack Needham, Lafayette; Jaden Perryman, Black Rock Residential Academy; Zach Peters, Boston College; Ethan Prescott, South Kent School; Tomas Restrep Gavira, University of Omaha-Nebraska; Lucas Rodriguez, Colgate; Mateo Rodgriguez, Cornell University; Eitan Rosen, Boston University; Mohammed Seidu, Marshall; Kyumin Shin, Black Rock Residential Academy, Ahria Simons, Dartmouth College.

Johnathan Sinclair, University of North Carolina; Luke Swann, Williams College; Mo Tall, Bucknell; Asa Tuke, Washington & Lee; Matias Valemzuela, Hobart; Alex Vidizzoni, Oklahoma Wesleyan; Thomas Yegbor, St. Bonaventure.

The stories of the men on the Black Rock FC are all different. They took diverse roads to Applejack.

Goalkeeper Alex Vidizzoni’s journey started in Italy and took hm to Oklahoma Wesleyan, located in Bartlesville in northeast Oklahoma.

Walton and Luke Swann, who played at nearby Mount Greylock High School and Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, are in much more familiar territory.

But they are all united in an effort to win soccer games and contribute to the southern Vermont area.

tom.haley

@rutlandherald.com

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