NASL Notes: Miami FC Inks Cuban International, Rowdies Get a Stellar Silverback, more

IMAGE, JONATHAN FERREY/GETTY IMAGES

by JAKE NUTTING

NASL newcomers, Miami FC, are making some serious waves before they even take the field. The expansion side recently added defender and active Cuban national team member Jorge Luis Corrales to its ranks.

Corrales, 24, is trying his luck in the U.S. after spending his entire career in Cuba’s domestic league. Up until this point, the bulk of his time was spent with his hometown club, FC Pinar del Rio, where he amassed 20 assists and six goals through 80 appearances. In 2015, he went out on loan to FC Sancti Spíritus, where he tallied five assists and one goal.

The young defender earned his spot on Miami’s roster by impressing in one the club’s recent invitational tryouts. Corrales made his debut for the Cuban senior team in 2011 after representing his nation on several youth squads. This past year, he was a member of Cuba’s Gold Cup team that was eliminated in the group stage. Corrales was also on the field when Cuba hosted the New York Cosmos in a high-profile friendly last year.

The expansion side pulled another player from the invitational tryouts with the signing of Roberto Alterio. The Venezuelan is a veteran of that country’s youth ranks and domestic leagues. Alterio, 25, is familiar with the Florida soccer scene, though, having played for the University of South Florida and Florida International University.

Miami also made things interesting with the additions of twin midfielders Calvin and Connor Rezende. The twins are natives of Davie, FL and their contracts with Miami mark their first foray into the professional game. Prior to joining Miami, Connor and Calvin shared midfield duties at the University of Virginia and then St. Francis University, with a sojourn to Europe to train in Spain and Italy in between.

Tampa Bay Rowdies

It took some extra work, but the Tampa Bay Rowdies managed to acquire the services of Junior Burgos, one of the NASL’s standout performers from last year’s Fall Season. The attacking midfielder will join the Rowdies on a season-long loan from his new club, MLS expansion side Atlanta United.

Burgos began 2015 with the Orange County Blues in the USL before re-joining the Atlanta Silverbacks for a second stint in July. Burgos, 27, went on to tally four goals and six assists through 17 appearances for the Silverbacks.

Tampa Bay was close to signing the attacker outright weeks ago, but the deal stalled when Atlanta United entered the picture with a chance to move up to MLS.

The Rowdies also found their third keeper this week with the signing of Austrian Michael Langer. The 31-year-old netminder developed in the system of Bundesliga club Stuttgart, where he eventually cracked into the first team in 2007. He then bounced around the top two divisions in Germany before earning consistent playing time at Vålerenga in Norway’s top division over the past two years.

Minnesota United FC

Minnesota maintained their focus on securing the return of key players and signed midfielders Ibson and Juliano Vicentini, as well as keeper Sammy Ndjock to new deals.

Ibson, 32, was a stalwart for the Loons in midfield, appearing in 26 matches and recording six goals and four assists in his first year. He earned a spot on the NASL Team of the Week twice and was one of three Loons to be named to the NASL Best XI. His partner in midfield, Vicentini, also had an impressive 2015 season as the defensive cog in the midfield.

Ndjock, 25, was an entertaining watch in his debut season with Minnesota. The Cameroon-born keeper displayed tremendous athletic ability in net and managed to finish the season with a 1.09 Goals Against Average.

While Minnesota fans took comfort in welcoming back valuable players, they had to say goodbye to one who has been a pillar of the squad for the past nine years. Defender Brian Kallman announced his retirement this year after spending his entire career playing in Minnesota. He survived two different rebrands for the club and made well over 100 appearances for the organization.


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