NASL NOTES: RAYO OKC Recruits World Cup Veteran, Strikers Tap U.S. Youth international, more

IMAGE, MODERNGHANA.COM

by JAKE NUTTING

Rayo OKC added some noteworthy talent to their midfield this week with the signing of former Ghanaian national team member Derek Boateng. The 32-year-old defensive midfielder represented his native country at both the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cups.

Boateng’s impressive resume also boasts stops at some of the most prestigious leagues in Europe. Most recently, he was with Eibar in La Liga, but he also spent time with Fulham in the Premier League and FC Kohn in the Bundesliga. The veteran’s most productive stints, though, came in Israel with Beitar Jerusalem (72 appearances, 8 goals) from 2006-2008 and at Spanish club Getafe (77 appearances, 2 goals) from 2009-2011.

Rayo’s latest addition also has a connection to the expansion side’s namesake club in Spanish. Boateng signed with Rayo Vallecano in 2014 but never took the field for the La Liga side. He’ll be tasked with clogging up the midfield and frustrating the opposition for Rayo OKC in their NASL campaign.

Fort Lauderdale Strikers

The Fort Lauderdale Strikers took a page out of their rival New York Cosmos and dipped into the youth international talent pool with the signing of 19-year-old Luis Felipe Fernandes this week. The U.S. U-20 midfielder was born in Long Island to Brazilian parents and has spent his youth career developing at Cruzeiro’s academy. Having only played for the U.S. youth programs thus far, Fernandes is still eligible to represent Brazil if he has a change of heart.

Former NASL Coach of the Year Brian Haynes Opens Up

In an illuminating Interview with Northern Pitch this week, ex-Atlanta Silverbacks head coach Brian Haynes spoke in depth on a number of topics, including his bitterness over being fired by Atlanta at the conclusion of the 2013 season despite reaching the championship final.

“It took a while for me to stop ‘drinking poison and expecting someone else to die’,” Haynes told NP about his painful exit from Atlanta. “I didn’t want to forgive anybody, I hated everybody, I hated this game and what it did to me. That took some time.

“Once I came out of that, I realized that everybody involved, the owner, the technical director, it didn’t matter to me as much,” the former NASL coach of the year continued. “I was alive and I wasn’t going to mix friendship with business. This was business, it wasn’t about friendship. I gave myself the time to grieve a bit, but I didn’t put down my tools and say I’d never use them again.”

Haynes reveals in the article that he has turned down a handful of opportunities to interview for coaching positions in USL and the NASL, entrenching himself instead in a positive position as director at the Colorado Storm Development Academy. He does tell NP, though, that he’s starting to get the itch to return to the professional ranks soon.

  • George

    boy, wait until Derek Boateng plays on some of those horrible NASL pitches in Edmonton and at the Cosmos. have fun dude

    • Tomas

      Edmonton in fact has one of the best artificial turf fields in North America after the old one was replaced in 2014. Its FIFA approved and was used for training in the WWC in Canada recently.

      Your right about Cosmos turf though, it isn’t the best but even in MLS you have horrible artificial turf in a few cities like Seattle, Orlando, New England, etc.

    • ty

      Cause the Yankee’s Stadium pitch is the bees knees?LOL It never fails for MLS fanbois. They delude themselves into thinking Ashley Cole is good LOL

  • Tomas

    Another impressive signing for NASL’s Rayo OKC, they look to be building a quality roster for the coming season.

  • Anonymous

    Rayo looks like its taking this **** serious! good for them!!! love the name, RaYo!! I’am a big Cosmos fan, but i wish them well!