NASL Notes: Ottawa Loses Another Star Defender, Armada Adds USL Firepower, more

IMAGE, OTTAWA CITIZEN

by JAKE NUTTING

Ottawa Fury FC was on the outgoing end of another transfer this week as they lost leftback Mason Trafford to expansion side Miami FC.

Following in the footsteps of centerback Colin Falvey and right fullback Ryan Richter, Trafford is the third member of Ottawa’s NASL-best back line to leave the Fury through transfer. Midfielders Richie Ryan and Sinisa Ubiparipovic, as well as forward Tommy Heinemann, are also among those who have departed from last year’s Fall Season champions.

New Fury FC Head Coach Paul Dalglish said the club wanted to keep Trafford for the new season, but Miami capitalized on a buyout clause in his contract and snatched the defender away.

In Trafford, Miami picks up a solid defender that has shown his merit over the past two years in the NASL. He started 25 matches for the 2015 Fury FC defense that conceded a record low 23 goals in the regular season. Prior to signing with Ottawa for their inaugural season in 2014, Trafford plied his trade in Finland’s top division, China and the USL. The move to Miami is a homecoming of sorts for Trafford who was born Boynton Beach — an hour’s drive north of Miami.

Jacksonville Armada FC

Jacksonville added last year’s USL Defender of the Year Bryan Burke to its ranks earlier in the offseason and now, not feeling that one was enough, head coach Tony Meola and his staff signed another USL award winner in Matthew Fondy.

The striker took home both the USL MVP award and the USL Golden Ball with a record-setting 22 goals for Louisville City FC last year. Fondy and Burke were part of a Louisville side that made a run to the USL Eastern Conference final before being knocked off by the Rochester Rhinos, who went on to claim the league title.

Fondy, 22, began his career in 2011 with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in the USL. He then moved on to the Los Angeles Blues for the 2012 and 2013 seasons before jumping up to MLS in a transfer to Chivas USA.

Fondy’s last MLS experience came with the Chicago Fire during a one-year stint in 2014.

Fort Lauderdale Strikers

The Fort Lauderdale Strikers are charging full steam ahead with their focus on recruiting Brazilian talent. The latest addition to the roster from South America is defender Dalton Moreira Neto.

The 25-year-old centerback joins the Strikers from Club Universitario Deportes in the Peruvian top division. Prior to moving to Peru, Dalton spent time at Brazilian giants Fluminense and Internacional. Dalton also carries an impressive resume from the youth international stage. As a longtime member his country’s U-20 team, he was a integral part of the squad that finished as runners up in the 2009 U-20 World Cup.

Rayo OKC

The roster building continued in earnest this week for newcomers Rayo OKC, who unveiled five more players for their inaugural squad.

Two of the most recent additions, keeper Daniel Fernandes and midfielder Marvin Chavez, are familiar faces to Head Coach Alen Marcina as he coached both of them last year in San Antonio.

A native of Canada, Fernandes spent the majority of his career in Europe, playing in the Greek Super League and German Bundesliga. At one point, the 32-year-old keeper was on the radar of the Portuguese national team and earned two caps for the senior team. Chavez, 32, is a longtime veteran of the Honduran national team. The winger has 48 total caps for Honduras and he has represented his native country at several prestigious events, including the 2014 World Cup, the 2009 and 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cups, and the 2011 Copa Centroamericana. He debuted in NASL last season, but saw time at the San Jose Earthquakes, FC Dallas, Colorado Rapids, and Chivas USA before his arrival.

Rounding out the week for Rayo OKC were defenders Juan Antonio Gonzalez Fernandez (Juanan), Hugo Rhoads, and Ian Svantesson. Juanan, 28, is making his U.S. debut with OKC after spending most of his career in Spain, including lengthy stays at the reserve sides of Deportivo and Real Madrid. Rhoads and Svantesson are first time professionals, with the former hailing from the University of Portland and the latter from the University of Alabama Birmingham.

Carolina RailHawks

Ahead of their 10th anniversary season in 2016, the Carolina RailHawks have re-signed defender Kupono Low, the lone player from their 2007 inaugural season. In his nine seasons with the RailHawks, Low amassed an astounding 244 appearances for the club. Dubbed “Mr. RailHawk” by supporters, the 37-year-old showcased his valuable consistency in the 2015 season by starting 22 of 30 matches.