When Fayetteville Fury goalkeeper Kenneth Perkinson heaved a pass to Nate Brady across midfield during Saturday’s indoor soccer match at the Crown, he didn’t expect to get an assist out of it.
But he wasn’t completely surprised, either.
“Nate loves the spectacular,” Perkinson said of his teammate. “If he has a one-on-one, if he has a volley, he’s going to take it every time.”
Brady caught Perkinson’s toss off the bounce on his right foot and it didn’t hit the field again until it was behind the goal line.
The striker juggled past one defender, then another with a knee bounce, then kicked a laser off the volley that hit the near post and went into the net to give the Fury a 3-1 lead over the previously unbeaten Memphis Americans.
Fayetteville would go on to win Saturday’s game 7-5 and on Sunday, the Fury outlasted the Americans 4-3 in sudden-death overtime.
Those wins have the Fury off to a 5-0 start with a No. 1 spot in the National Indoor Soccer League standings.
Brady’s big goal, and the NISL’s push to get it on ESPN’s SportsCenter, marks a definitive moment in an intense weekend that ended with the Fury as the clear leader in the NISL.
Brady says he can’t remember a time when he didn’t love soccer. A native of Flint, Michigan, who went to Raleigh’s Wake Christian Academy and then played in France, he was brought onto the Fury roster by Perkinson.
The goalkeeper was instrumental in helping coach Justin Terranova form this squad. It’s composed of some of the best players in the state, and they’re bringing the intensity to match the talent.
“This is really fun for us to be able to play together in a super competitive and fun environment,” Perkinson said. “It’s a really cool experience for us.”
Fury coach Justin Terranova, also the head coach of Methodist University’s men’s soccer team, saw Perkinson at a North Carolina Football Club practice. Terranova’s son, Samuel, plays in the squad’s pro setting, and Perkinson was in net.
“I thought he looked familiar,” Terranova said of the goalkeeper. He made a few calls to learn more and soon realized that Perkinson was a player he’d recruited out of high school in Garner.
Perkinson went to UNC Pembroke, but the Braves cut their men’s soccer program after his sophomore season due to budget concerns.
Perkinson transferred to Division I Winthrop, where he became a starting team captain and signed a professional contract to play in Australia.
While Down Under, Perkinson shared the field with future Fury teammate Cameron Steele, a Clayton native who played at NC State before transferring to Penn State.
Perkinson and Terranova drew a circle around Fayetteville with a radius of a hour-and-a-half drive, and they hunted down the most skilled footballers in that circle.
That, along with a few open tryouts, has yielded a dream team of indoor pros that are lighting up the NISL, and having fun doing it.
Defender Archie Filliter was a member starter for Methodist’s archrival, William Peace, whose game caught Terranova’s attention in USA South play.
Alex Hernandez led Appalachian State in scoring before transferring to NC State. Midfielder Diego Vallota, who scored the game-winning goal in overtime Sunday off a feed from Steele, played at Wright State and Terranova tabbed him for the Fury roster at an open tryout.
Steven Miller is a veteran of the USL whose stints include the Wilmington Hammerheads, Carolina RailHawks and North Carolina FC.
“Being around Cameron Steele and Kenny Perkinson and Steven Miller, these experienced pros, it’s really beneficial for me as a coach,” Terranova said. “As much as I’m teaching them, they’re teaching me about the game.”
Indoor soccer is fast and furious, part hockey, part basketball, part Rocket League video game.
“A lot of saves, a lot of shots, a game is never going to be 1-0,” Perkinson said.
Players hit the boards, passes are directed off walls, goalies play high on the field to get into the mix on offense, and with no offsides rule, offensive players can get behind the defense to create fast breaks.
This is Terranova’s first time coaching indoor soccer, but he grew up in New Jersey watching Italian striker Giorgio Chinaglia play in the Major Indoor Soccer League.
Admittedly reading the rule book again and again … and again, Terranova has his squad practicing crosses off the boards and smaller-field sets.
The pace of the indoor game paired with the talent on the Fury roster makes for a fun fan experience.
“We just want to get more fans out. We’re doing the best we can. We can really build something here in Fayetteville,” Perkinson said.
Next home game
Who: Fayetteville Fury vs. Columbus Rapids
When: Thursday, Feb. 24
Where: Crown Coliseum
Tickets: Prices start at $12. Order here
Sports editor Monica Holland can be reached at [email protected]