Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN ITEL
Orlando City SC significantly improved their back line just as they begin to prepare for their final USL Pro season.
The future Major League Soccer expansion franchise announced that it has signed former Vancouver Whitecaps defender Brad Rusin to a one-year contract. Rusin joins forward Corey Herzog as former Whitecaps players to join Orlando City this week.
“We’re excited to have Brad in, and we’re building a bit more strength in the squad,” said head coach Adrian Heath in a statement. “We think that he is going to be a big addition for us and we certainly know that he can play at this level, but we’re also looking at next year as well.
“We really liked his physicality,” added Heath. “He’s a big, strong and mobile player. We know that we’re bringing in someone who played 20 games in MLS last year for a side that had one of their best seasons to date.”
The 27-year-old spent last season with the Whitecaps after a year and a half stint in Denmark with HB Koge. In 2013, Rusin made 16 starts in 19 appearances as a centerback.
Here are some more stories to get you caught up around USL Pro/NASL:
JACKSONVILLE NASL FRANCHISE TO UNVEIL NAME, LOGO
The NASL’s Jacksonville team, the league’s newest franchise, will unveil its name and logo in a ceremony set for Feb. 18.
Jacksonville mayor Alvin Brown, city council president Bill Gulliford, and NASL commissioner Bill Peterson will join the leaders of the team, Jacksonville’s newest professional sports team.
The announcement will mark the culmination of a fan engagement initiative to find a name for the expansion team, which resulted in fans submitting more than 1,500 suggestions that was narrowed down to the top-six most-submitted names. Team ownership will choose the final name.
The event, which will take place just more than six months since the announcement that Jacksonville was awarded the NASL expansion franchise, will include a fan forum and Q-&-A with team owner Mark Frisch, team president Steve Livingstone and general manager Dario Sala.
The event is free and open to the media and public.
SACRAMENTO REPUBLIC SIGNS BRAUN, GISSIE
A veteran and an up-and-coming talent are the latest players to be added to the Sacramento Republic FC’s roster.
The USL PRO expansion side announced the signings of longtime MLS forward Justin Braun and 17-year-old Mawolo “Gabe” Gissie.
Braun, 26, has had stints with Chivas USA (2008-2011), Montreal Impact (2012), Real Salt Lake (2012) and Toronto FC (2013). He has appeared in 110 regular season matches, four playoff matches and has scored 24 goals over five seasons in MLS.
His career highlights include a team-high nine goals along with three assists with Chivas in 2010.
Gissie, a Liberian-born forward, led the New England Revolution U-16’s in goals (15) and assists (8) in 2011-12 and he made his professional debut in 2012 on the Revolution Reserves.
Braun and Gissie join previously signed players Rodrigo “RoRo” Lopez and Mickey Daly on the Republic FC’s club roster. Additional player announcements are expected prior to the club’s training camp which will be held Feb. 17-21 at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento, Calif.
LOUISVILLE AD AGENCY EXPLORING OPTIONS FOR PRO SOCCER TEAM
Louisville doesn’t have a professional soccer team.
But if it happens to get one, a local advertising agency has some ideas in mind. A story in the publication Louisville Business First details the efforts of Stradegy Advertising and how it has taken it upon itself to come up with possible team names, logs and kits should Louisville land a professional team.
Some of the ideas include paying homage to Louisville’s moniker as the manliest town in American, awarded by GQ Magazine, the Kentucky Derby and the bourbon distilling process.
“It was just kind of a fun opportunity to explore what it might look like,” said Nate Spry, the firm’s interactive marketing director.
Fans can offer their opinions on the ideas by visiting www.usl2lou.com, and clicking on the hashtag to support their favorite.
What do you think of this news? Like the Rusin signing? What do you see becoming the Jacksonville team name? Do you expect Braun to make an impact at USL Pro?
Share your thoughts below.