Utica City FC’s inaugural game at the Adirondack Bank Center was a major hit.
Joey Tavernese played a big part, scoring a goal late in the third quarter of their 5-2 victory over the Baltimore Blast. Immediately after scoring, he started to celebrate.
“This year, I just felt like I wanted to connect with the fans a little bit more,” Tavernese said. “I had a pretty big celebration in the scrimmage and against the defending champions, I wanted to come out with a similar celebration. I threw the Peter Pan hat on and started flying around.”
There is a back story to Tavernese’s connection with the Disney character.
“I used to be the young guy in this league,” he said. “I’ve started to become the old guy and the old guys don’t like to party as much as I do. I’ve grown to hang out with the younger guys so everybody calls me Peter Pan.”
Head coach Ryan Hall endorses Tavernese’s celebrations.
“I think it’s great,” he said. “I don’t want to see guys score a great goal and then just jug off to the bench like it means nothing. I’d rather see them enjoy it. There’s a lot of emotion in the game. I love those kinds of celebrations.”
Tavernese scored 28 goals last season with the Syracuse Silver Knights, so it appears more celebrations are in store for fans at the Adirondack Bank Center.
“If they’re looking for anything special, I’m happy to do it on the field for them,” he said.
Utica City FC visits Baltimore Saturday before returning home to face Florida on Sunday at 2pm.