AFC Ann Arbor are pleased to announce Andres Chalbaud as the newest member of the AFCAA Family ahead of the 2019 season. Chalbaud is currently a Graduate Assistant for the athletic department of his alma mater, the Central Methodist Eagles in Fayette, Missouri. This is his second year as a GA, having graduated from CMU in 2017 after spending two years with the program. Before then, he played for Parkland College in Illinois as a freshman and sophomore. He also spent his youth in Venezuela, playing for local youth club HGV until the age of fifteen.
While not necessarily a ‘local player’ by strict definition, Chalbaud is not stranger to Ann Arbor. “I lived in Ann Arbor in 2012 and fell in love with the city,” he said of his brief stint in the city. Highlighting that as a key reason for his joining with the squad, he also noted his views on Eric Rudland as a driving force behind his decision too. “What attracted me to the club was seeing how coach Eric went out of his way to find out more about my playing history, as well as personal life,” said the midfield man. “That made me realize that when it comes to soccer, Eric is a coach that cares, does research for himself, and goes above and beyond.”
As a collegiate player, Chalbaud was named All-Region both seasons with Parkland College while logging twenty goals over his career. The jump up in competition did not faze the midfielder, as he played in 33 games over his two seasons while notching eight goals and ten assists. Chalbaud was named Heart All-Conference Third Team and helped lead the Eagles to a national ranking for the first time in the program’s history.
Chalbaud is no stranger to even higher levels of competition, though. Chalbaud represented the Chicago Fire’s youth academy for three seasons, even receiving a call-up to the Fire’s U-23 side (a former-PDL club). “I have to say playing for the Chicago Fire academy taught me so much and definitely made me more solid as a player; as well as my experience, and passion and dedication that I have for this sport,” Chalbaud said about his youth experiences with the MLS side.
In addition to experience with the Fire, Chalbaud also has played on the NPSL level. While still a collegiate player, he spent time with Demize NPSL, based in Springfield, MO. “The NPSL as well as playing for the Chicago Fire academy are both very competitive leagues. [The] majority of the players know what to do with and without the ball, so the competition is very consistent and intense,” Chalbaud said about his experiences. This level of competition has been more than adequate in bracing him for the season to come, as he said, “Having an idea on what kind of competition to expect and knowing how aggressive you have to be, how hard you have to train, and how hard you have to try to be able to succeed at this level is helping me prepare in this upcoming NPSL season.”
Eric Rudland is looking forward to what the newest member to the side is set to bring to the squad. Speaking about Chalbaud, he said, “He is a veteran midfielder with a strong personality and capacity to impact the club. As a central player in the team he has the girt and tenacity to help us win games this season.” Chalbaud described himself as a “complete player”. He expanded that with specifics, saying, “My technical ability, speed, positivity, and my game intelligence are some of my greatest strengths as a player. I am also a team player, and being aware of where my teammates are on the field is very important for me and plays a big role on my strengths as well.” Combined with the fact that he is a veteran of the sport with experience since he was a child in Venezuela at a high level, there is plenty of reason to be optimistic.
Already familiar with the club’s history and expectations, Chalbaud’s own personal objectives have molded to fit the team. The Venezuelan said, “I have been working for this moment, and I know the club has some big expectations this year as they come from back to back Great Lakes Conference Championships (2017, 2018).” Continuing, Chalbaud went into personal goals, which truly suited the team just as much as he, “So, my goal is to help contribute as much as possible to the team, win more championships, and get the best out of this experience.” Chalbaud shared that he made the realization that playing being “mentally and physically prepared” are the two key factors in playing consistently well.
He has a love for the game, stating, “I owe so much to soccer, so I always make sure I am putting in that extra work day in and day out and never ever take anything for granted.” When asked about the fans, he said, “I am excited to meet [them], and I hope they help us with all their support throughout the entire season.” With plenty of knowledge of the sport and the region itself, Andres Chalbaud looks set to play an important role for The Mighty Oak in 2019.
About AFC Ann Arbor
Founded in 2014, Association Football Club Ann Arbor launched it’s men’s semi-pro team in 2015 and has competed in the NPSL since 2016. Led by Head Coach & Sporting Director, Eric Rudland, the team has found great success winning back to back Great Lakes Championships (‘17 & ‘18) and earning US Open Cup bids three straight years (2017-2019). In October 2018, the club announced the launch of the women’s side, who will be skippered by Andy “Pritch” Pritchard in their inaugural season of the United Women’s Soccer national league. Owned and operated by a group of local soccer fans and entrepreneurs, AFC Ann Arbor has become a fixture in the greater Ann Arbor community.