FC Wichita Men: Meet the backline
We continue our series where we are meeting our club.
We introduced our keepers already. Today, we bring you the brick wall that we consider our back line. In the coming days we'll be breaking down the mids and the strikers as we lead up to Saturday's season opening kickoff against new USL side, Springfield Athletic.
There will be a handful of names you recognize and then there are going to be some new impactful players this season. It's a good mix of veteran players and up-and-coming academy players.
All players are listed alphabetically
Northeastern State (Okla.)
The NSU junior, Jack Barrier joins FC Wichita after playing the last three seasons for the Northeastern State Riverhawks in the MIAA. A teammate of Thomas Wells at Kapaun Mount Carmel in Wichita, he's another local soccer star that shows how deep the talent within ICT flows.
While at NSU, Barrier started 17 of 20 games as a junior and has appeared in 35 matches in three seasons. He found the back of the net for the first time in his collegiate career against Southern Nazarene on Oct. 21, 2021. He's helped NSU reach the GAC/MIAA finals before losing to now fellow teammate's Fort Hays State team, Blake Arndt.
While at Kapaun, he was a first team All-State selection as a senior and second team as a junior. He helped KMC qualify for the state semifinals twice and the quarterfinals another time.
Eastern Oklahoma State College
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Mikkel comes to Wichita after playing a season at Eastern Oklahoma State College in Wilburton, Oklahoma, an NJCAA Division I program. He should be familiar with the style of play as Coach Gonzalo Carranza is his collegiate head coach.
He registered his first collegiate goal Southwestern CC (Iowa) when he played for Garden City CC as a freshman. He was able to find the net again on Sept. 9, 2021 against National Park College (Ark.).
Braz provides is a big body that allows him to be the prototypical center back this club is looking for. He's quick on his feet but at 6-foot-5, he's an imposing presence in the box.
Cowley College/Western Illinois
The Cowley Tiger will join FC Wichita this summer as a potential right back. During his two years in Ark City, he's helped turn the Tigers into a national powerhouse, including an unbeaten season heading into the NJCAA national tournament his past November.
For the Tigers, he served as captain his sophomore season, he scored four goals, with two of them being game winners. He anchored a defense that ranked 12th nationally in goals allowed. Of their 18 wins this season, Cowley's defense helped them secure eight clean sheets.
He was named the Jayhawk west Defensive Player of the Year and first-team All-KJCCC this past season.
Cory Gleason is an FC Wichita Academy product that has made a move to the Division I level and now will suit up for the mens' club this summer.
An Eisenhower graduate, Gleason just finished up his freshman year at Wright State, the same school former FC Wichita superstar Deri Corfe excelled at. Gleason took a redshirt his freshman year and should be in the mix in the fall.
While at Eisenhower, Gleason as an all-AVCTL selection all throughout high school. While playing for the FC Wichita Academy, he was instrumental in FCW '01, '02 and '03 teams winning big matches, including many in major national tournaments.
University of Houston-victoria
LEIGHTON BUZZARD, ENGLAND
Luke Mills is one of the few returning players from last year's club. He appeared in eight matches, logging 441 minutes for the club last year. He had two assists. One came at St. Louis Scott Gallagher on June 9, 2021, to tie the match at 2-all in the 94th minute. His second assist happened in a late season match against Kaw Valley FC. It was once again the equalizing goal in the match.
Mills just finished up his senior season at Newman, where he appeared in 17 matches for the Jets, starting 16 of them. He scored his only goal of the season against Arndt's Fort Hays State's team, a goal in the 63rd minute on Oct. 14, 2021. That was once again, a game-tying goal. He's transferring to the University of Houston-Victoria for his final season, a NAIA school.
Victor Olorunfemi is the longest tentured player for FC Wichita. Dating back to his first appearances in 2017, he has played every season for FC Wichita since, including making an appearance with the U-23 team in the Heartland Trophy Cup during the summer where soccer in most leagues were cancelled.
He's a tall, fast, aggressive player that forces the opposition away from him. Historically, coaches at FC Wichita have played him at center back but you may see him step out and play right back this season. Last season, Olorunfemi logged more than 500 minutes over seven matches for FC Wichita.
Olorunfemi, is now an assistant coach at Newman, after his collegiate playing days. Olorunfemi played at UMKC and then transferred to Dayton, where he appeared in 10 games as a graduate senior for the Flyers.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Originally, Matheus Paes made his collegiate debut at Marshalltown CC (Iowa). Then, he transferred to Neosho CC. He now has landed under Bryan Perez at Friends this past fall. He appeared in 11 matches for the Falcons and helping Friends to an 11-win season.
This past season, Paes was selected as a second team All-KCAC defender on a squad that had five clean sheets, including three in their last four matches of the season. He also had two assists to boot.
Carlos is an FC Wichita Academy product that has now gone on to play collegiately at Friends University under FC Wichita Academy Director, Bryan Perez. Vidrio is one of five Academy products making the 2022 summer roster.
Vidrio made his first appearance at the senior level last season for FC Wichita, appearing in four matches. His first senior level minutes came away against Des Moines Menace, where Vidrio would help FC Wichita play toe-to-toe with the eventual national champions.
Two days later against Chicago FC United, Vidrio made his home debut for FC Wichita, tallying 33 match minutes at only 18 years old.
At Friends, Vidrio appeared in six matches, starting three of them this past fall as a true freshman.