The attacking unit of the Tampa Bay Rowdies continues to get better and better this offseason.
Following the signing of Tom Heinemann and re-signing of Freddy Adu, the Rowdies announced on Thursday that the club has come to terms with winger Khalif Alhassan. The former Portland Timbers winger joins the Rowdies after spending 2015 with Minnesota United, for whom he racked up four goals and six assists last season.
“I’m very happy to be joining the Tampa Bay Rowdies,” Alhassan said in a release. “I’ve only heard good things about the club from people I know who’ve played here, so it was an easy decision for me to join the team. I’m really excited to get to work and I think 2016 is going to be a great season for us. We were able to get Tommy (Heinemann,) one of the best forwards in the league, and there are already great players on the team from last year, so I’m very excited to get started.”
“Kalif brings quite a lot to our team,” added Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Campbell. “When he left Portland, I scouted him at great length and I really liked what I saw. The season he had last year in Minnesota only enhanced my opinion of him. He’s comfortable playing on both wings, but he can play centrally as well, so he’s very versatile.”
Here’s a look at some more of Thursday’s NASL news and notes:
COSMOS TO FACE EARTHQUAKES IN PRESEASON FRIENDLY
Having knocked off the New York Red Bulls and New York City FC in consecutive season, the New York Cosmos have had modest success against MLS opposition in recent seasons. Now, the club will get another go at an MLS opponent, albeit in a preseason friendly.
The Cosmos announced on Thursday that the club will take on the San Jose Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium on Feb. 27. Previously a fixture in the original NASL, the Cosmos faced off with the San Jose/Golden Bay Earthquakes 13 times from 1974-84, winning eight times while losing five.
“We are expecting another busy preseason, which will be great preparation for defending our NASL championship,” New York Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese said in a release. “Not only will the Earthquakes be a great test for us as we return from the offseason, but we are also looking forward to playing in Avaya Stadium, known for one of the best atmospheres in the country.”
FURY FC MAINTAINS SERVICES OF CANADIAN MIDFIELDERS DE GUZMAN, EUSTAQUIO
In the wake of recent departures, Ottawa Fury FC will be glad to hold on to a pair of Canadian internationals ahead of the 2016 season.
Fury FC announced on Wednesday that Canadian midfielders Julian de Guzman and Mauro Eustaquio have both re-signed with the club ahead of the 2016 season. De Guzman, who missed the NASL final due to international duty, featured in 16 matches for the club in 2015 while Canadian Under-23 international Eustaquio scored twice in 22 appearances.
“We’re thrilled to have both these players re-sign with the club,” said head coach Paul Dalglish in a release. “The experience and leadership that Julian de Guzman brings to this club is extremely valuable. He offers us as much on the field as he does off it.
“Mauro made the most of every opportunity that he was given this past season. We look forward to the continued progress of this young Canadian talent.”
The moves come in the aftermath of the departures of Tom Heinemann, Richie Ryan, Siniša Ubiparipović and Ryan Richter. Heinemann departed the club for the Tampa Bay Rowdies, while Ryan and Ubiparipović have since been announced as members of the Jacksonville Armada and Indy Eleven, respectively.
Ryan, who served as the club’s captain prior to his departure, was made an offer to become the club’s highest-paid player, according to Dalglish.
ARMADA MAKE PAIR OF SIGNINGS
Under head coach Tony Meola, the Jacksonville Armada continue to revamp their roster.
The Armada announced the signings of defender Beto Navarro and forward Alex Dixon. In addition, the club announced the the releases of midfielder Jaime Castrillón and defender Lucas Trejo.
Navarro joins the Armada via the Orange County Blues of the USL. The defender featured in 22 matches throughout 2015 while helping to push the club to the 2015 Western Conference regular season title.
“Beto brings us experience in the back,” Meola said in a release. “He is a player who has proven over the last three years that he knows how to win. He comes with a high soccer IQ and lives to play the game. I would describe Beto as a steady and solid professional that fans will appreciate watching in an Armada jersey.”
Dixon, meanwhile, spent 2014 and 2015 with the USL’s Rochester Rhinos after previously plying his trade for the Houston Dynamo for three seasons as a Homegrown player.
“We are happy to welcome Alex to the Armada FC family,” Meola said. “This signing brings our roster some depth in the wide areas of the field and a player who has a winning mentality.”
RAILHAWKS ADD BECKIE
After spending the past two seasons as a member of Ottawa Fury FC, defender Drew Beckie has found a new home in the NASL.
The Carolina RailHawks announced on Thursday that the club signed Beckie, who played 35 matches for Fury FC over the past two seasons. Beckie, who was drafted by the Columbus Crew in 2013, was named the NASL’s 2015 Humanitarian of the Year.
“I’m very excited to join the RailHawks. I believe their front office staff, coaching staff and facilities are first class. I also believe we have all the ingredients necessary to challenge for a title,” said Beckie. “Professionally this is a great move for me to continue my career.”
“We are delighted to sign Drew. He is a player we have been pursuing for some time,” added RailHawks boss Colin Clarke. “He is a very versatile and charismatic player who can play a number of positions. Drew will definitely be an important part of our squad as we look toward the 2016 season.”