Atlantic City FC general manager Jeremiah White returns to Ocean City to face the club where his career started
By Jordan Posner
The Ocean City Nor'easters will take a break from USL League Two play tonight when they host Atlantic City FC at Carey Stadium ("The Beach House") in an exhibition game.
While there have been multiple names for the game bouncing around social media (Boardwalk Derby, War at the Shore, Jersey Shore Derby), but it will be the first meeting between the Nor'easters and the second-year National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) side, a pair of clubs seperated by roughly 12 miles of Jersey Shore beaches.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
After finishing with a 5-5-0 record in their inaugural season in the very competitive NPSL Keystone Conference last year, ACFC are off to a positive start to their 2019 campaign. They are 2-1-1 to start the season and are tied for second place in the standings with wins over West Chester United and Philadelphia Lone Star FC. Their lone loss came at home against FC Monmouth, a team the Nor'easters defeated 2-0 in their first exhibition game back on May 14.
|Jeremiah White speaks at the announcement of the launch of Atlantic City FC in December of 2017. Photo: Matt Ralph | BrotherlyGame.com|
The Nor'easters are 2-2-1 in USL League Two play and will look to use tonight's game to build some momentum as they head into one of the toughest stretch of the 2019 schedule. After they face Atlantic City FC, they will play back-to-back road games against the New York Red Bulls U-23s and Reading United AC, before returning to the Beach House for a rematch with the Red Bulls U-23s on June 22.
When the two teams meet tonight, the Nor'easters welcome a familiar face back to the Beach House. While the opponent for the exhibition game is new to the Beach House, for their General Manager and President of Youth Development, it will be a homecoming.
Jeremiah White, was one of the first standout players when the Nor'easters, then known as the South Jersey Barons, moved from the USL D-3 Pro League to USL League Two (then known as the Premier Development League).
White was the first Ocean City player to be drafted by Major League Soccer when he was selected in the Third Round (24th overall) by the New England Revolution and remains the only alumni to date to earn a cap with the United States Men’s National Team.
After a well-traveled pro career that saw him play in seven different countries, he has a full plate in addition to his roles with the second-year National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) side. White also coaches a youth soccer club WSV Elite Soccer Club, and runs White Sports Ventures, a company dedicated to turning sports ideas, innovations and visions into successful companies by providing resources and expert advice.
In the summer of 2003, White joined the South Jersey Barons and he built some momentum heading into his senior year at Wake Forest. He was the team's second-leading scorer with six goals and an assist in nine games as he bolstered his already impressive resume he established at college with the Demon Deacons. The following fall, White capped his Wake Forest career by being named the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year and was an All-ACC First Team selection for the third time.
After being drafted by the New England Revolution, White decided to take his talents overseas, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Why did White bypass a professional career in his home country?
"Leagues in other countries were more competitive than MLS at the time, even if they were not the top-tier division,” said White.
|Jeremiah White is the first former Ocean City Nor'easters player to earn a cap with the United States National Team.|
What he would find in Europe was a mixed bag of experiences. White signed with Serbia’s OFK Beograd in 2004, one of the country’s oldest and most respected clubs. Unfortunately, some interactions with racist fans made international headlines and and he left to sign with Greek club Panserraikos FC before moving France to play for FC Gueugnon where he made history. While with the Second Division club, he became the second American to ever score a hat trick for a professional club in Europe. He then moved to Denmark’s AFG Aarhaus in 2007 where he made 86 appearances and helped the team get promoted to the Danish Superliga.
In the next twist in his career, he signed with Saudi Arabia’s Al-Etifaq in 2009, becoming only the second American to play professionally in the Middle East. After a stop in Poland (GKS Bełchatów), White returned to the club that originally drafted him, signing with the New England Revolution in 2012.
Each stop on his journey provided Jeremiah with a taste of different cultures. Saudi Arabia challenged White most of all.
“The culture was so different from western culture that I could not make assumptions and navigate independently," said White. "I had to surrender control and be open minded. I had to subdue my sensibilities and not be offended by things that I did not recognize or understand.”
During his playing career, one of his biggest accomplishments was representing the United States. On Jan. 19, 2008, he earned his first an only cap, coming off the bench in a 2-0 exhibition win over Sweden.
“I played against a lot of the best players in the world including [Real Madrid star] Karim Benzema," said White.
To date, Jeremiah speaks highly of his time in Ocean City.
“We were a cohesive group. Most of our team were Division One and Division Two [colllege soccer] players,” said White. "It was this cohesion that allowed the Nor’easters to prosper into the successful franchise it is today."
Equally important to the on-field play was the relationships he built with his Ocean City teammates off the field.
“I keep in contact with a lot of those guys like [Former head coach, PDL Defender of the Year] John Thompson, [2004 PDL MVP] Ruben Mingo and [Current Philadelphia Fury President, former Nor'easters head coach] Matt Driver," said White. "It is clear that the Nor’easters have built a culture of community, allowing players from all around the country and the world to have this same chance to."