By Eric Klenofsky
February, 27, 2015
Bibbs in action with the Nor'easters
against Westchester in 2012
Ocean City, NJ - Ocean City Nor’easters Alumni, defender Nick Bibbs has inked a deal with United Soccer League expansion club, Saint Louis FC. Bibbs arrives in Saint Louis after spending time with IFK Lammhult, a third division side in Sweden. We caught up with Bibbs to get his thoughts on signing with Saint Louis.
“I'm happy about signing with Saint Louis,” said Bibbs, an Ardmore, Pennsylvania native. “They are a new franchise coming into the USL and they are trying to do things the right way. I'm proud to be part of a classy and professional organization.”
Following an impressive summer with the Nor’easters, Bibbs went on to enjoy a standout season at Syracuse University. Bibbs helped guide the Nor’easters to a Mid-Atlantic Division Championship in 2012, appearing in 15 games and logging 1250 minutes in the process. After asserting himself in the Ocean City backline, Bibbs carried his good form into the fall, consequently leading the Syracuse defense to 12 clean sheets; good for third in the nation and second most in team history.
“Ocean City played a huge role in my development,” said Bibbs, a former U.S. U18 National team player. “After a solid season in Ocean City, that momentum led to a great senior year at Syracuse. Without that special summer in Ocean City and fall in Syracuse I don't know if I would have come this far.”
Bibbs had a standout Senior season at
Syracuse University, following his
summer in Ocean City, NJ
Northern European countries can be a common destination for young aspiring American’s looking to break into the professional ranks. This was the case for Bibbs. After being invited to the North American Soccer League combine, Bibbs was without a contract. Looking for his next move, Bibbs found himself on Bridges FC, a Chicago based team touring Europe. During his time abroad, Bibbs caught the eye of IFK Lammhult scouts and managed to land the opportunity he was looking for.
Becoming a professional is much more complex than generally perceived; there is a different aspect of the game that comes with living overseas, specifically in a country where a language barrier is evident. Signing in Sweden constructs that exact situation for American’s.
“Sweden helped me more as a person in my opinion,” said Bibbs. “Living overseas all alone and being the only American on your team can get pretty lonely. You learn a lot about yourself and your mental toughness.”
Bibbs signed for IFK Lammhult and began his journey as a professional soccer player. A year removed from his first professional contract and Bibbs is transitioning into the next stage of his career, Saint Louis FC. STL FC will be entering its inaugural season and becomes the third expansion team for the 2015 season of the USL following Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC and Tulsa Roughnecks FC.
At the beginning of the 2013 season, Major League Soccer began a partnership with the USL which called for all MLS teams to have either a USL affiliate or their own second team competing in the USL. Fast forward two years and STL FC becomes the official affiliate to the Chicago Fire of the MLS.
Bibbs with his Saint Louis FC teammates in
preseason of the club's inaugural campaign
Bibbs has a fascinating connection to Chicago as previously referenced, he played for Bridges FC during a tour in Europe who are coincidentally based in the windy city. The terms of the affiliation will allow for Chicago to send players to Saint Louis with the option to recall them at any point during the season. For Bibbs, this means he will be competing alongside Major League Soccer players’ week in and week out seemingly producing the ideal environment for a young professional to develop.
At 24 years-old Bibbs professional career is still in its infancy and after securing his second professional contract he doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
“My goals are to keep getting better every year and play at the highest level possible” said Bibbs. “Obviously the ultimate goal is to play in the MLS or a top club overseas.”
Saint Louis FC currently has four defenders on roster including Bibbs and has been in preseason since Feb. 16th. The clubs inaugural fixture will take place on Mar. 28th at Louisville Slugger Field against Orlando City FC affiliate, Louisville City FC.
2015 Individual Match and Season ticket packages are on sale now. For more information, call (609) 432-8271 to speak with a Nor'easters ticket representative, email us at email@example.com, or visit www.ceancityfc.com/tickets for ticket package information.
Text "BIBBS" to (609) 432-8271 to receive an exclusive promo code, for ticket purchases made online via www.oceancityfc.com/tickets.
For more information on the Ocean City Nor'easters or to "Follow the Storm", check us out at www.oceancityfc.com/followthestorm or text "FOLLOWTHESTORM" to 22828 to join the "Storm Watch" e-newletter.