Steel FC Spotlight: Faris

You can never have too many weapons when the object of a game is to outscore your opponent. Bethlehem Steel FC added one such weapon midseason in the form of 18-year-old Faris. Being recognized by a single-name brought uniqueness to the young player but as he learned the organization’s system after arriving in June, he only got stronger.

 When Faris made his professional debut on July 18 at New York Red Bulls II, the league knew nothing about him. Having just arrived two days prior after a grueling 18-hour flight that touched three continents, Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke could have held the Cameroonian out and allowed him an extended adjustment period. But Burke wanted to see how his new striker would react to difficult circumstances. Standing 6’1”, Red Bulls anticipated a strong and possibly athletic forward and they were right. Faris took his first touch in the fifth minute, collecting a pass from Michee Ngalina and turning to his left and fighting off two defenders before racing into the box full speed, his first shot barely wide of the near post.

 After his auspicious debut, Faris truly burst onto the scene in his third match which found Steel FC at home against Atlanta United 2. Leading 2-1, Burke inserted Faris for the final 30 minutes as he sought to close out the match. In a breathtaking two-minute span, Faris took over. First he collected a headed ball from a defender and rifled into the back of the net a left-footed blast. The big striker wasn’t done and off the kickoff, the defense intercepted an Atlanta pass and sprung him on the wing. Knowing a shot wasn’t possible at a tough angle, Faris cut inside a defender and fired a cross for Brenden Aaronson to bang home. Burke asked him to close out the match and Faris delivered.

As the season progressed so did Faris and the Union began to take notice. The young attacker was invited to train with the first team to steepen his progression. Those sessions paid dividends late in the season as Faris contributed to Steel FC’s final push for the postseason. Challenged to make an impact yet again, he did so against Toronto FC II and in record-breaking time. 

Once again Faris’ strength and determination were on display at Indy Eleven in a match that pitted two teams fighting for a chance to clinch a postseason berth and higher seeding. With Union Academy goalkeeper Tomas Romero getting the start for Steel FC, Faris knew he needed to make the most of his chances on goal to ensure the club collected a much needed point. He did and they did; Steel FC earned a playoff spot and subsequently knocked off Pittsburgh Riverhounds in an epic back-and-forth match in the Hounds’ first playoff game at Highmark Stadium. Faris had arrived midseason but by the end of the year, he was an integral part of an epic postseason push. Now the entire Union organization is hoping he will continue to grow in 2019.

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