NASL Notes: Samaras signs with Rayo, Puerto Rico adds players, more

IMAGE, UEFA.COM

by JAKE NUTTING

Rayo OKC made the addition of Greek international and former Celtic FC striker, Georgios Samaras, to its inaugural roster official on Thursday.

The expansion club introduced the decorated striker at a public event with both fans and media present.

“We are extremely excited and blessed to be able to sign Georgios,” said Rayo OKC Head Coach Alen Marcina. “He has played at the highest levels throughout his career and we are very fortunate to add him to our club. He brings a wealth of experience on top of his incredible talent level that will be immeasurable for our team.”

Samaras, 31, had a noteworthy run in Scotland with Celtic from 2007-2014. During his time at the club, Celtic finished atop the Scottish Premier League standings four times and Samaras tallied 74 goals in over 250 appearances.

“I’m very excited to come to Oklahoma City and join Rayo OKC,” Samaras said. “They have signed a lot of really good players and we are going to work very hard and hopefully be competitive in our first season in the NASL.”

The striker has been a regular for the Greek national team since debuting in 2006. He last suited up for Greece during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where scored the game-winning goal to advance out of the group stage.

Samaras spent most of last year recovering from a back injury. After an extended training and rehab stint with the New York Cosmos in the latter half of the year, the Cosmos opted to not sign Samaras. Cosmos COO Erik Stover addressed Samaras’ signing with Rayo OKC in his recent Ask Me Anything session on Reddit.

“I think Rayo OKC signing him is great for the league,” Stover responded. “Samaras is a great guy. We took a long look at him, and in the end we decided to go in a different direction. Hopefully he’s fully recovered and can perform well for Rayo OKC and the NASL… just not against the Cosmos.”

Puerto Rico FC

The most recent additions to Puerto Rico FC’s rapidly expanding inaugural roster are keeper David Meves and forward Oliver Minatel, two players who have both spent the last two years in the NASL.

Meves, 25, signed his first professional contract with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in 2014 and earned the starting job between the posts at the start of last season. His time was cut short by a broken jaw early in the season, but he did recover in time to start in Fort Lauderdale’s semifinal playoff loss to New York.

Oliver, 23, spent the past two seasons with Ottawa Fury FC and recorded three goals in 25 appearances for the club that ran away with the Fall Season title and finished as runners up in the championship final.

Minnesota United FC

A deal was finalized this week to send Damion Lowe on loan to Minnesota United FC from the Seattle Sounders. Lowe, 22, has been training with the Loons for the past few weeks and participated some recent exhibitions for the club. The defender signed with Seattle in 2014 and was on loan last year to the club’s USL affiliate, Sounders 2, where made 17 appearances.

Jacksonville Armada FC

Jacksonville has inked trialist and Cameroon international Charles Eloundou to a contract ahead of the club’s second season. Eloundou, 21, earned his spot on the roster by notching three goals in preseason action. The forward was previously with the Colorado Rapids, making 22 appearances in two years with the club.