PARSIPPANY — FC Cincinnati of Major League Soccer announced the signing of goalkeeper Bobby Edwards of Parsippany recently.
The son of Sarah and Jeff Edwards, the pastor of the Parsippany United Methodist Church, Bobby began his life as a soccer player with the Parsippany Soccer Club with two years of rec soccer and then three years of travel soccer, a majority of which was spent with his father serving as his coach.
After playing for Parsippany High as a freshman, Bobby transferred to St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, the leading high school for soccer in the country. Following high school Bobby played four years of Division 1 soccer for three different schools, overcoming injuries and seasons of losing soccer to steadily improve his skills as a keeper. Summers were spent playing in the USL II, with the first two spent locally with the Red Bulls before transferring to the South Carolina Bantams for his final two seasons.
It was there in 2019 that Bobby was named the outstanding goalkeeper of the seventy-two teams nationwide.
In July Bobby signed a contract with Portadown FC a professional football team in Northern Ireland with a rich tradition that reaches back nearly a century. For the six months Bobby played in goal Portadown gave up the fewest goals in the twelve team league and quickly took possession of first place.
t six feet six inches tall Bobby established himself as a commanding presence in goal and up to the challenge of the highly physical style of football played in Northern Ireland.
He quickly became a fan favorite, twice voted the team’s player of the month. In his time in Portadown Bobby wrote a weekly blog for the team about his experience playing with his teammates that was widely read by the team’s fans.
With multiple articles appearing in local Belfast newspapers about the head-turning American keeper and two videos of Bobby making acrobatic saves going viral Bobby soon found himself receiving attention from several much higher level clubs in England and Scotland. In November and December Bobby was flown three times to England to spend weeks on trial, first with Shrewsberry Township in the third division, then Blackburn in the second division, and finally to Burnley in the internationally renowned English Premier League. In a recent BBC article Matthew Tipton, Bobby’s coach at Portadown referred to Bobby as the best keeper he has ever seen play in Northern Ireland.
Challenges obtaining work permits to play football in the United Kingdom led Bobby to return to the states this past week to accept a three year contract with Cincinnati FC in Major League Soccer League. Bobby flew with the team on Sunday to Arizona to begin three weeks of pre-season training. Later the team will travel to Bradenton, Florida to continue training training and pre-season games.
The regular season begins on March 1st with an away game at Red Bulls Arena in Harrison.
The upcoming season will be FC Cincinnati’s second in the MLS. The team is in the process of building a new stadium. The people of Cincinnati have enthusiastically embraced the team with their attendance the third highest in the league in their inaugural season.
To follow Bobby Edwards, click here.
Reprinted from Parsippany Focus Magazine.