Fourth Year in the Books

A Recap of Jacksonville's 2018 NPSL Season
Aug 1, 2018

Michael Card,


Fourth Year in the Books

The Jacksonville Armada FC’s fourth season was its best yet. The club placed second in the NPSL’s Sunshine Conference, and finished with a 7W-2L-3D record. The Armada FC was the first professional soccer team in Jacksonville to make the playoffs since the Tea Men in 1981.

Jacksonville’s season ended in a 3-1 loss to Miami FC 2 in the Sunshine Conference Finals, and Miami went on to compete in the NPSL National Final. Despite the postseason ending, there were plenty of positives to take away from the Armada FC's season.

Open Cup Success

Jacksonville’s season started on a high note when the team won three Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup matches at the beginning of the season. The three victories marked a club record for games won in a single Open Cup tournament.

The Armada FC qualified for the Open Cup by winning its Play-In Round matchup 2-1 against The Villages SC on May 6. The team then went on to the First Round, where it defeated SIMA Aguilas 2-0 on May 9 to advance to the Second Round. In the Second Round, Jacksonville defeated the United Soccer League’s Tampa Bay Rowdies 1-0 on May 16.

Jacksonville’s Open Cup run ended in the Third Round in a 2-0 loss to NPSL foe Miami United FC on May 23.

Success at Hodges

Jacksonville went undefeated at Hodges Stadium, finishing with six wins and one draw at the home venue. In that stretch, the team outscored its opponents 18-3, and kept a clean sheet in five matches.

While playing at home, the Armada FC picked up big wins over Storm FC, Miami FC 2, Boca Raton FC, Palm Beach United, Naples United FC and Miami United FC. Its most notable win at home came in a 7-0 thriller against Boca Raton FC on June 17. The players put on a show for the fans in attendance as they scored a club record for goals in a match. In that match, J.C. Banks and Joshua Castellanos scored a brace with other goals coming from Ciarán Kilduff, Christian Silva and Conor Doyle.

Talent on the Team

One of the most promising takeaways from the season was the young talent showcased by the Armada FC. Jacksonville natives Castellanos and Melvin both played an important role in their debut season with the Armada FC.

Castellanos scored four goals in his professional debut with the Armada FC and was a key player in the team’s offense.  He was only one goal behind J.C. Banks and Ciarán Kilduff, who led the team with five goals each in the regular season. Castellanos played soccer locally at the University of North Florida before joining the Armada FC this season.

First-year defenseman Melvin played in 11 games for the Armada FC during the regular season and was heavily relied on to play quality minutes throughout the summer. Melvin went to Nease High School with Castellanos and played collegiate soccer at Clemson.

Several Armada FC players received recognition from the NPSL for their effort in 2018. Brian Holt, Mechack Jérôme, Yuma and Derek Gebhard were placed on the NPSL Sunshine Conference XI team. Yuma also made the NPSL South Region XI and was nominated for the NPSL National XI and Golden Ball award, which recognizes the best overall player in the league.

The Fans Chose Player of the Year

The fans voted Yuma as the Armada FC’s 2018 Player of the Year. Yuma started 14 games for Jacksonville this season, and logged 1,236 total minutes in the regular season and the playoff matches combined. His ability to manage matches from the midfield position made him an integral part of Jacksonville’s success this season.