NASL News: Rowdies, Scorpions and Silverbacks Announce Player Signings
With the upcoming opening of the 2012 NASL season in April inching closer, the Tampa Bay Rowdies have added Luke Mulholland from the NASL champion Minnesota NSC Stars to their roster for the upcoming season, while the expansion San Antonio Scorpions signed veteran Mexican Primera Division striker Javier Saavedra. The Atlanta Silverbacks have brought in veteran goalkeeper Daniel Illyes from Hungary.
Mulholland to Rowdies
The Tampa Bay Rowdies moved to strengthen their attack with the acquisition of Luke Mulholland. The 23-year-old Englishman enjoyed a whirlwind year in 2011. After playing at Wingate University, where he earned All-American honors, the 5’7″ attacker signed his first professional contract with USL PRO side Wilmington. There he scored nine goals in 23 matches, earning USL PRO Rookie of the Year honors. Mulholland then went on to join the Minnesota NSC Stars in September following the end of the Hammerheads’ season.
Scoring game-winning goals against Tampa Bay and Fort Lauderdale in the playoffs, the addition of Mulholland to the Stars seemed to provide that final ingredient that turned their season into a magical one. The Preston native had a busy winter also, training with English side Walsall and the New England Revolution before coming to terms with the Rowdies. Mulholland is the twelfth player signed by the Rowdies for the upcoming season — and with forward Mike Ambersley, who scored 11 goals last season already in the fold, Coach Ricky Hill’s team should provide NASL fans with some offensive fireworks in 2012.
Saavedra Joins the Scorpions
The San Antonio Scorpions have added veteran experience to their midfield with the signing of Javier Saavedra. The 37-year-old native of Periban, Mexico began his professional career in 1996 with then first division side Toros Neza,and played the majority of his career with the Tigres UANL. He has also played for Monarcas Morelia, Jaguares de Chipas, Los Indios de Juarez and Nexaca. Saavedra has played in five Mexican league finals, and helped Nexaca gain promotion in 2010 from Liga de Ascenso. Known as a tough defender, Saavedra has scored over 45 goals professionally in Mexico and earned nine caps for the Mexican national team.
Saavedra will also be involved in the selection, training and coaching of the newly announced Scorpions reserve squad. According to Scorpions’ coach Tim Hankinson, “The Scorpions reserves will represent the Scorpions and Soccer for A Cause by playing exhibition matches throughout South Texas. They also will provide match play against the Scorpions regulars to keep all our players 90-minute ready.” On March 4, U-19 players culled from previous Scorpions’ tryouts will play a match to determine spots on the reserve side.
San Antonio also announced their partnerships with Bud Light, Gold’s Gym, and Univision San Antonio.
Silverbacks Add Goalkeeper Illyes
The Atlanta Silverbacks had a tough 2011 season, surrendering the most goals of any NASL team. The Silverbacks have been making efforts to strengthen their defending by signing D2 standout Martyn Lancaster and Brazilian Rilla, and now have added Hungarian goalkeeper Daniel Illyes. The 29-year-old has spent 10 season playing professionally in Hungary, most of them with first division clubs. The Budapest native speaks English as well as German and Hungarian, and will be a welcome addition to the Silverbacks squad.
“Daniel is a talented and experienced goalkeeper who will be a tremendous leader for us from the back,” said Silverbacks goalkeepers coach Jose “Gaucho” Pinho. “Through his years in Europe, he understands what it takes to succeed at the professional level, and we’re excited to have him.” Earlier in his career, Illyes also appeared for the U-17 and U-18 Hungarian national teams.