picture by Paul Redderow
Josh Danza is the kind of player you build a team around. Coaches have been saying this since his time at Baltimore’s Archbishop Spalding High School, where he has a three-sport athlete that excelled at soccer, basketball, and baseball. The choice to stick with soccer led him to play for Towson University, a NCAA Division I program. This was the beginning of a long and epic journey in the beautiful game.
His stops included time with Real Maryland (USL), Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves (NPSL), Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL), Ohio Vortex (PASL), and Tulsa Revolution (MASL). Yet he is best known for his time with the Puerto Rico Men’s National Team.
picture by Ulises Terrones
He’s been a star with each and every team and this fall he found himself with a new challenge and a new opportunity. This came in the form of a chance to play in the new American Soccer League (ASL). He was asked not only to be a key starter, but also to captain the Philadelphia Fury. The Fury is an iconic soccer brand with a great history and a lot of tradition, which Danza is well aware of.
“It is great to be back on the East Coast, playing close to where I grew up. The original Philadelphia Fury played in the original NASL versus the New York Cosmos, San Jose Earthquakes, Tampa Bay Rowdies, Portland Timbers, Vancouver Whitecaps, Tulsa Roughnecks, and Fort Lauderdale Strikers.”
That history is a big part of the Fury’s legacy, a legacy that the Baltimore native is hoping to add to. The league has proven to be very competitive and Danza attributes that to the fact that the teams are made up of former MLS, NASL, and USL players as well as other up-and-coming American players.
The ASL operates on a European-style schedule with fall and spring seasons. Danza was quite impressive in the first half of the season. Take this play for example:
picture by Paul Redderow
This is the kind of difference Danza makes during each and every game; he is an impact player that takes control of matches and leads his team to victory. He is very much looking forward to the spring, where he hopes to make an even bigger mark on the Fury and the ASL as a whole.
“I expect a very competitive season with increased exposure. I have players and soccer fans every day asking me about the ASL and Fury. The spring season will pick up right where the fall season left off. Our main goal as a team is to win our conference while playing an exciting and attractive style of soccer.”
The Fury certainly have been exciting, leading the league in scoring. That is not a surprise thanks to the expertise of their coaching staff, which includes Matt Driver and Cris Vaccaro.
Danza credits his success to great coaching and the opportunity to play in developmental leagues like the PASL and NPSL.
“It is important to consistently learn and challenge yourself as a player. American soccer in general is very underdeveloped, and I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to play at a high level as I learn something new every day.”
Playing for the Fury has also meant a reunion with Ansger Otto, who was one of Danza’s friends in college. It has also moved him closer to friends and family.
“Most importantly, my 14 month-old daughter Vivian and family can now watch me play. I can't complain.”
Off the pitch, Danza is involved in a number of projects. He coaches private soccer clients 1-on-1 and in small groups and serves as a scout for several organizations. He’s very involved in the community and it would not be surprising to see him get involved with management or even owning a team.
It is easy to see that Danza is a player that you can build a league around. The ASL is known for developing and promoting American players and Danza looks to be the next player to make that step to an even higher level, whether it is in the U.S. or abroad.