New England Soccer Today

Ready for Launch

Real Boston Rams coaches look on during a recent tryout held at Dana Farber Fieldhouse in Foxborough. (Photo: Real Boston Rams)

Real Boston Rams coaches look on during a recent tryout held at Dana Farber Fieldhouse in Foxborough. (Photo: Real Boston Rams)

Since the United Soccer League’s inception in 1986, Eastern Massachusetts has long struggled to keep its teams in the division from moving or folding all together after a few seasons each, save for the Cape Cod Crusaders who lasted from 1994 to 2008.

Whether it be the Bulldogs, Storm, or most recently, the Boston Victory SC, success in and around the Hub has been hard to come by for USL squads. Even a team like the Crusaders, once one of the strongest PDL sides in the country, were eventually moved and re-branded (now GPS Portland Phoenix).

But with the 2013 Premier Development League season only two months away, a new franchise is gearing up east of I-495: the Reál Boston Rams.

“We know a lot of the players from this area and know that they want to play,” said Michael Madden, President of the PDL’s newest Northeast franchise. “They’re all looking for some place to play, so we’re putting a professional club together that would make them proud to play in this area and at the next level.”

Madden, along with a dozen other coaches and staffers clad in Rams coats and clipboards, oversaw the team’s open tryout and the players it brought in at the Dana Farber Fieldhouse in Foxborough earlier this month. The event attracted 150 applicants according to the team’s Facebook event page, even after being delayed in February due to inclement weather.

“What we’d like to do is get a little bit of the European style of play where we have an academy, age appropriate development, and an outlet for the kids over-18,” Madden stated as warm-ups ended and technique drills began. “And a gateway to MLS.”

“Definitely a gateway to MLS,” said Rams Director of Public Relations and Marketing Jonathan Fonseca. “We’ve seen high quality players from New England and New Jersey who come up and play here for the summer. I think it’s incredibly important to focus on those homegrown talents because I feel that’s what the US needs to help push MLS and the USMNT to a different level.”

An integral graphic designer and social media manager, Fonseca had a hand in deciding the club’s name and logo along with Madden and General Manager John Barata during the team’s formation.

“We sat down and talked about what we wanted to do with this club and the image we wanted to send,” Fonseca said when describing the gold and black crowned ram crest. “We all look up to Reál Madrid. I mean we all watch different leagues… but we all have one thing in common and that is if you watch soccer, you watch the Champions League. It’s the biggest stage… and Reál Madrid are the best Champions League team in history. We wanted the youth and those who don’t watch soccer regularly to associate us with quality and to look at us in the same light as they do Real Madrid.”

Already announcing player commitments such as the addition of College of Saint Rose defender Paxton Ballard, the inspired Rams take the field on May 11th when they face CFC Azul for their inaugural match.

“We believe that with the goals we have set in place, we will achieve that quality,” Said Fonseca. “We don’t just want to be Reál Boston and call it a day. We took a hard look at what we stood for: determination, leadership, initiative, energy and power. The ram symbolizes all of those qualities perfectly, so it was a pretty unanimous decision.”

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