NASL Notes: Rayo OKC Inks Scorpions Standout Billy Forbes, more

IMAGE, SAN ANTONIO SCORPIONS

by JAKE NUTTING

Expansion side Rayo OKC pulled off a major coup this week with the addition of dynamic midfielder Billy Forbes to their inaugural roster.

The move reunites Forbes with his former San Antonio Scorpions head coach Alen Marcina.

Under Marcina, Forbes flourished in his first foray into the professional ranks. The attacking midfielder signed with San Antonio at the start of the 2014 season and instantly became a favorite of Marcina’s. Forbes was a critical part of the Scorpions capturing the Fall Season and Soccer Bowl titles that season.

The Scorpions took a major dive in the standings in 2015, but Forbes continued to shine as one of the club’s few bright spots. The Turks and Caicos international led the NASL with seven assists in 2014 and finished second with eight assists in 2015.

Rayo OKC also added more depth to their ranks with the signing of Caleb Patterson-Sewell and midfielder Tyler Gibson.

Patterson-Sewell, 28, is a keeper with numerous clubs on his resume, but not many appearances to go along with them. Born in the U.S. but raised in Australia, the keeper’s most active stints were with Miami FC in 2010 (25 appearances) and Atletico CP in Portugal from 2011-2012 (29 appearances). He joins OKC from the Portuguese second division after three seasons with Gil Vicente.

He’s the first keeper to sign with Rayo OKC.

Gibson, 22, is another former Scorpion following Marcina to Oklahoma. The central midfielder quickly earned the respect of Marcina in his professional debut season last year after being a four-year starter at UNC-Charlotte in college.. The rookie started 22 of 30 regular season matches for the Scorpions in their final NASL season.

Indy Eleven

Indy Eleven’s front office was really impressed with what they saw from Ottawa Fury FC last season. For evidence, look to the club’s latest signing, midfielder Nicki Paterson, who is the third Fury FC player to jump ship and sign with Indy this season after attacking midfielder Sinisa Ubiparipovic and centerback Colin Falvey.

Paterson, 31, was not a mainstay of Ottawa’s lineup in 2015, but the box-to-box midfielder was steady while appearing in nearly one third of their regular season matches. Prior to joining Ottawa for their inaugural season in 2014, Paterson was with the Charleston Battery in the USL for three seasons. His stint at Charleston, where he accumulated 78 appearances and 25 goals, was by far the most productive of his career.

Fort Lauderdale Strikers

The Fort Lauderdale Strikers made a move to shore up their back line with the signing of journeyman defender Julius James this week. The centerback spent the past two seasons with the San Antonio Scorpions, with the most recent one being cut short by a gruesome leg break in July. James, 31, has recovered from that injury and went the full 90 minutes in two of Fort Lauderdale’s recent preseason matches. He’s also a regular member of Trinidad and Tobago’s national team squad and bounced around several MLS teams earlier in his career, including Toronto FC, Houston Dynamo, D.C. United, and Columbus Crew.

Minnesota United FC

Defense was clearly on the mind of Minnesota United this week as the club extended the contracts of three members of their back line — Justin Davis, Kevin Venegas, and Brent Kallman.

Davis and Venegas were the dynamic duo on the flanks of Minnesota’s defensive unit in 2015 and each had stellar offensive outputs that helped them earn spots on the NASL’s Best XI. Davis led the team in minutes from the left back position and also bested all NASL defenders with five goals. Venegas held his own from the left side, recording six assists in 29 appearances. The club described the new deals for both players as “long-term contracts.”

Kallman, 25, made his professional debut with Minnesota in 2013, but he finally saw increased playing time in the back half the 2015 season. The defender made eight starts for the Loons in the Fall Season, helping the club secure the third seed in The Championship.

FC Edmonton

The Eddies made a defensive move themselves this week and inked English defender Adam Eckersley to a contract for the new season. Eckersley, 30, grew up in the academy system of Manchester United but never cracked into the first team. Since parting ways with Manchester United at the end of 2007, the left back has plied his trade in the top divisions of Scotland and Denmark, as well as England’s second division.