Photo courtesy Harrisburg City Islanders
HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Harrisburg City Islanders announced on Thursday forward Aaron Wheeler would return to the club for the 2017 USL season. Wheeler – who was the 2009 PDL Most Valuable Player for Reading United AC – will enter his second season with the City Islanders after having previously played for Wilmington Hammerheads FC and the Philadelphia Union.
A powerful 6-foot-4 striker, Wheeler saw his playing time limited due to injury in 2016, but was a force in front of goal when available as he notched five goals and one assist in 13 appearances for the club. City Islanders Head Coach Bill Becher praised Wheeler's performance in 2016 and knows how crucial the forward is to the club's success in 2017.
"Aaron was a big part of our success early [last season],” said Becher. “Unfortunately, he was injured midway through the season. Losing him kept us from making the playoffs. If he stays healthy this year, I think we will certainly be a playoff team. We expect big things from Aaron this coming season."
Wheeler also had an impact on his teammates. Returning Harrisburg midfielder Paul Wilson was impressed with his leadership, and his role he played in the locker room for the City Islanders.
"He's a really good guy,” said Wilson. He is experienced and a strong leader. Having him back on the team is a real plus for us."
Wheeler is looking forward to getting back out on the field, and is expecting a strong season with Harrisburg in 2017.
"First and foremost, I am looking forward to a healthy, full season,” said Wheeler. “I am looking forward to being back around the guys, playing at FNB Field for the whole year, and bringing that City Islanders culture back to the area. My favorite part about the team is the group of guys that come in. They have the right attitude, they are fun, and everyone is dedicated to what we're trying to do as an organization.”
The City Islanders open the 2017 USL regular season on Saturday, March 25 when they visit the Richmond Kickers at City Stadium. The club’s home opener at FNB Field is set for Saturday, April 15 when they host Bethlehem Steel FC.