Pioneers Wrap Up Road Trip

Get ready to host the Champions Experience


The Western Mass Pioneers just finished the last game in a three game road trip, which saw the team playing three games in seven days.


On Sunday June 11, Western Mass traveled to GPS Portland Phoenix in Maine. The Pioneers gave up a penalty in the 4’ but were able to convert a penalty of their own in the 30’, which was coolly made by Carlos Ruiz.  Play settled down in the second half until the sneaky midfielder Pierre Villez scored in the 89’ to seal the Pioneers win.


On Wednesday, June 15 Western Mass tied FC Boston Bolts.  The Pioneers gave up an early penalty kick, but roared back to action behind a Chae Brangman goal.  Western Mass dominated the Bolts for stretches, but the game ended 1-1. 


On Sunday, June 17, the Pioneers headed to City Park to play the Westchester Flames.  A scoreless first half turned into a 4-0 rout in the second half when Alex Wrona scored a beautiful free kick 22 yards out in the 58’.  Pierre Villez scored three minutes with an assist by Edu Zurita.  Mike Goncalves scored a cracker in the 84’ and Evan Burokas finishes with a goal in the 89’ with a Chris Roswess assist.


The Pioneers finally return home on Wednesday, June 21, when the Champions Experience visits Lusitano Stadium.  Rafinha and Douglas Costa from German powerhouse Bayern Munich and the Brazilian National Team will host a clinic, stage a meet and great, and play on the field against the Pioneers!

The Champions Experience will host a clinic at Lusitano Stadium on June 21, from 5:15-6:45.  Young soccer players ages 8 to 18 will have a unique opportunity to learn from Rafinha and Douglas Costa along with their longtime training staff.  These players will also share stories and demonstrate their techniques that allow them to compete at the highest level.  Each player will also receive a Nike camp t-shirt and a sports bag.

From 6:45 to 7:15 there will be a meet and greet session with Rafinha and Douglas Costa.  Bring your camera and your favorite jersey for them to sign!

At 7:30, Rafinha and Douglas Costa will suit up for the Champions Experience Stars soccer team and face the Western Mass Pioneers in an exhibition game. 

The Champions Experience Stars’ team is shaping up to be formidable, with many familiar faces and Pioneers legends signing up.

The Stars will be lead by Rafinha.  Rafinha plays right back for Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga.  He is a skilled defender with good passing skills, quick pace, agility and a strong shot.  He has played for Bayern Munich 136 times since 2011 and has made four appearances with the Brazilian National Team.  Rafinha has won the Bundesliga title five times with Bayern Munich, and won the UEFA Champions League in 2012-13 along with the FIFA Club World Cup in 2013.

Alongside Rafinha will be Bayern Munich teammate Douglas Costa.  Costa is a winger and is known for his dribbling skills, speed and crossing ability.  He played for Bayern Munich 50 times since 2015 and has made 21 appearances with the Brazilian National Team.  Costa has won the Bundesliga twice. He is also rumored to be transferring to Juventus F.C. in Turin, Italy.

The Stars will be coached by legendary Pioneers coach Leszek Wrona.  Wrona coached the Pioneers from 1998-2000, 2004-2006, and 2008-2010.   As Pioneers head coach, Wrona won the USL D-3 Pro League championship, and lost in the USL Second Division Championship game in 2005. 

The Champions Experience Stars will be captained by Everson Maciel.  Maciel played for the Pioneers from 2004-2008 and achieved many accolades. In 2004, 2005, and 2006 he made the All League First Team, and the All League Second Team in 2007.   In 2010 he was named #9 on the USL Second Division Top 15 of the Decade.

Luke Perry is also suiting up for the Stars.  Perry is the head coach of the men’s soccer team at American International College.  Perry has played three seasons for AC Connecticut and also for the Western Mass Professional Soccer Club.

Enigmatic striker Alencar Junior is returning to Lusitano Stadium.  Junior played two seasons for the Pioneers, scoring 19 goals in 17 games.  He also made the 2014 PDL All-Eastern Conference.

Stalwart defender Jay Willis is playing for the Stars.  Willis is men’s soccer head coach at Worcester State University and assistant coach for the Pioneers.  He has played over ten seasons with the Pioneers and made the 2007 USL Second Division All League First Team. 

Jayme and Joey Kapinos both have extensive soccer experience playing for the Pioneers and other soccer teams. Currently they both play for the Ontario Fury in the Major Arena Soccer League.

Also suiting up is Julien Myers.  Myers is a men’s soccer assistant coach at AIC. He played at Southern Connecticut State University and has a career in the Professional indoor circuit.  

Technical and skills expert Danny Gildea the Soccer Assassin and more will be playing for the Stars.  

Tickets for all three of these events are available now.  Please visit to register for the clinic, purchase tickets for the meet and greet, and reserve your spot for the CE Stars vs. Pioneers game.  Space is extremely limited, it is recommended to book your spot today.  Please note that Pioneers flex tickets and season passes are NOT valid for this game. Please purchase this special ticket at the link above or at the gate.

Evan Burokas