Introducing FC Steel ’06

The FC Steel players gather around Coach Kyle Martyn before a contest against New Jersey’s Match-Fit Academy Bayern.

FC Steel ’06 is a brand new youth soccer organization born from the vision and design of Saucon Valley resident Christian Kittelstad. Officially registered out of Lower Saucon Township, the team currently consists of 14 boys who were all born in 2006.  Five of the fourteen boys are homegrown Panthers destined to play for Saucon Valley High School in three or four years.

(clockwise from top left) Jeffrey Holzbaur, Johnny Kittelstad, Jack Robertson, Tanner Riefenstahl and Deven Pandey are Saucon Valley kids who have made the move to FC Steel.

Asked about his inspiration to create the team Kittelstad matter of factly stated, “There are so many quality soccer players throughout the Lehigh Valley, yet LVU (Lehigh Valley United) is the only “Premier” team. Now, there are two.”

In order to meet the needs of developing soccer players (and break a monopoly?), Kittelstad tried to put the wheels into motion and field a team in 2016.  But his efforts did not take flight.  Kittelstad could not overcome the skepticism and reluctance that accompanies novelty in order to secure a concrete pledge from his players and their parents.  Kittelstad’s FC Steel would have to wait to move forward.

As a Premier team, FC Steel plans to run with the best competition available.

This past year however, Kittelstad gave it another shot.  He received enough commitment to field a squad that competed against other local teams with much success in an indoor league at Iron Lakes (Allentown) during the winter season.  Kittelstad then made arrangements for interested players to train indoors once a week at Game Time Fieldhouse in Breiningsville with Matt Baker who is the founder and Technical Director of Perfect Touch Sports.  Impressed with the quality training offered by PTS, the core group stayed together and others joined.  Kittelstad finally had enough of a faithful following to legitimize his endeavor.

Saucon Valley’s Jack Robertson looking to regain possession for FC Steel.

After tryouts in April and securing Kyle Martyn as coach,  Kittelstad filed the necessary paperwork to get FC Steel registered as an official soccer club.  Martyn is a 2012 college graduate and All-American from Alvernia University.  He has professional experience through his training with the Philadelphia Union and playing for Pennsylvania Roar, Harrisburg City Islanders and Atlantic City Crusaders.  Martyn is a licensed coach and has led multiple teams with Continental FC.  With a quality coach in place and the bureaucratic red-tape cut, the vision of FC Steel became a reality.

Coach Kyle Martyn has the credentials and experience to develop FC Steel ’06 into a winner.

Throughout June the team worked very hard, training midweek evenings with Perfect Touch Soccer.  The team also competed in a couple of tournaments with differing results.

Lancaster Summer Classic (June 3 & 4)

  • FC Steel  0  –  LYSC Lititz FC United 2
  • FC Steel  1  –  Casa  Celtic 0
  • FC Steel  6  –  Delaware Rush Black  1
  • FC Steel  4  –  Manheim United 1

Lehigh Valley Challenge (June 24 & 25)

  • FC Steel 1  –  Arsenal Soccer Schools (NJ) 2
  • FC Steel 1  –  East Hudson Academy (NY) 2
  • FC Steel 2  –  Match-Fit Academy (NJ) 0

Following a successful debut in the Lancaster Summer Classic in early June, FC Steel seemed to take a step backward in the EDP Lehigh Valley Challenge this past weekend. FC Steel was credited with one win and two losses.  When asked what the message to his players was after a humbling experience in the EDP tournament Coach Martyn said, “I told the boys that we always want to test ourselves against the best. Even if that means losing 5-0. I’d rather play a great team and lose than play an inferior team and win. Because, it’s all about development. Learning to win is a part of that, but playing with, and against, great competition is even more important.”

It is worth noting that EDP (Eastern Development Program) is a regional soccer organization based in New Jersey that extends its reach throughout the Mid-Atlantic. The EDP opponents that FC Steel faced are concluding their seasons that began last Fall. FC Steel has been training together as a unit for only three weeks.  It appears that FC Steel is off to a respectable start with a whole lot of upside to go.

FC Steel ’06 defender Johnny Kittelstad battles to shield the ball from his opponent.

Starting in August, FC Steel is scheduled to train with PTS and practice 20 times throughout the month.  In addition, the team is currently scheduled to compete in the Spirit Kickoff Classic sponsored by the Continental Football Club on Aug. 19 & 20 and the Gettysburg Battlefield Blast on Aug. 26 & 27.  Both tournaments will certainly challenge FC Steel and get them ready for their inaugural season in the Delco Soccer league.

Saucon Valley’s Jack Robertson looking to regain possession for FC Steel.

For the upcoming 2017 fall season, FC Steel has been accepted into Division 3 of the Delco Soccer League.  Delco offers six divisions with Division 1 being reserved for the most accomplished teams. Most opponents FC Steel will face in Delco are from the Philadelphia suburbs and figure to be challenging competition.

A good showing in Delco’s Division 3 will lead to an invite to participate in Division 2 next year. Likewise, a less than desirable showing could drop them to Division 4.  The plan, of course, is to climb the ladder of success into Division 1 and play the best Delco has to offer. Kittlestad noted that an eventual jump into the Atlantic Premier Soccer League may be in the program’s future as an option.  The APL strives “to bring together the most competitive soccer teams in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland.”

Sebastian Mello from Northampton takes a corner kick for FC Steel during the EDP sponsored Lehigh Valley Challenge.

Stay tuned for what the future brings to FC Steel.  Thanks to Kittelstad’s tenacious desire to fulfill a vision, this high-quality soccer program has been born.  According to Kittelstad, Coach Martyn and PTS now share in the welcomed challenge to shape “the most physically fit, mentally fit and technically sound program possible.”  Standing to benefit from all the hard work and competition FC Steel will provide is the Saucon Valley High School soccer program.  Follow FC Steel on Facebook for up to date information!

FC Steel goal keeper Deven Pandey of Saucon Valley puts the ball into play at the Lehigh Valley Challenge.

2017 FC Steel ’06 Roster

  • Olufemi Baruwa        9      Easton                        Grade 4
  • Luke Blenis                11     Parkland                    Grade 6
  • Elijah Daly                 16     Emmaus                    Grade 6
  • Otis Engel                   13    Kutztown                   Grade 6
  • Jeffrey Holzbauer     8      Saucon Valley           Grade 6
  • Noah Jellison             7      Southern Lehigh      Grade 6
  • Nicholas Karlovsky  64    Northampton            Grade 5
  • Johnny Kittelstad     24    Saucon Valley           Grade 5
  • Sebastian Mello        10    Northampton            Grade 5
  • Chase Nederostek     17    Northampton            Grade 5
  • Deven Pandey           3       Saucon Valley           Grade 5
  • Tanner Riefenstahl  19     Saucon Valley           Grade 5
  • Jack Robertson         23    Saucon Valley           Grade 5
  • Logan Thrash            29    Parkland                    Grade 6

FC Steel will kick off its inaugural season in Division 3 of the DELCO Soccer League.

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