AFC Ann Arbor are thrilled to announce the signing of midfielder Bautista Pedezert for the 2019 campaign. Coming off his senior season with the Niagara Purple Eagles, Pedezert, better known as ‘Bauti’, was a four-year starter for the MAAC side. Niagara marks the second New York college that will be represented within this iteration of The Mighty Oak (Stony Brook being the other) and continues to highlight the lengths the AFC Ann Arbor staff are willing to go in order to find quality talent for the team.
During his four seasons in purple, Pedezert would start in all 64 matches he appeared in. Out of the midfield, he netted seven goals and chipped in five assists, including a pair of goals and an assist in his senior season. In each of his four seasons, he would finish within the top-three at least of shots taken on the team. One of the highlights of his collegiate career includes the winning goal, and only goal, of a 1-0 overtime thriller against Quinnipiac as a sophomore. In addition to his collegiate exploits, Pedezert also spent his summers with fellow NPSL Midwest club FC Buffalo, who play in the East Conference of the region. “Bauti is a proven player in our league,” says Eric Rudland. “He has been with FC Buffalo the past two summers and has shown that he can make a positive impact at our level.”
Talking about his strengths, Pedezert is modest. “I don’t normally like to name my own strengths I rather the coaches tell me them, but I can say I will run all game,” he would note. Continuing, he would add, “Defensively I will give all my effort and won’t stop until the ball is won back, and offensively l can say I love to keep the ball and play simple.” While the Argentinian-born, Florida-native may be coy when discussing himself, Rudland is effusive with his praise. Of the newest signee, Rudland said about his game, “He is a great two-way player in the midfield and has a high range of technical proficiency. He will be a player that will fit nicely into our midfield system and style of play.” Given the consistent strength of the midfield in seasons past, and the strength it already seems set to possess this season with James Vaughan, Jake Rufe, and Henry Ramirez already announced, fit is key with the club.
Much of college has been, like for many players at that level, a learning process. “I think in these last 4 years I was able to grow and mature a huge amount,” the midfielder shared in the wake of his final season. “I’ve definitely learned how to be a leader and organize the team on the field.” The level of opposition that playing at a Division One school has also helped to make for a better player. He would share his thoughts on a season full of tough opposing teams, saying, “I’ve had the chance to play against some of the top schools week in and week out. Although the results didn’t go our way, playing against top players is always a good way to improve, and I think this opportunity will help me for the NPSL season because most teams have these [types] of players.” Given the experience at all levels of play, the transition that may occasionally befuddle some players would not seem set to be the case with Pedezert.
Expectations always tend to vary from player-to-player, but as a whole, most hope for individual improvement and team success. Despite this, some may not enjoy the everyday grind of practice, but on par with the players consistently brought in by Rudland and the AFCAA staff, Pedezert included it in what excites him most. He also noted, “I’m expecting…[to play] with some of the top players in this league.” He also knows it will not be the easiest road all summer, as he states, “I know it’s going to be extremely competitive and I couldn’t be more excited. I expect to keep getting better as a player and get the best results as a team.” The embracing of the challenge is a key attribute to any player, and Pedezert is no exception. Looking at the season ahead, Bauti said, “I’m extremely ready to play and give it my all for them and this team.” Going from New York to Ann Arbor is a transition that has been successful before, the hope is that lightning will once again strike in the same place.