NASL Roster Moves in January: Week Three

12952807_10154241226901091_582560509_oWeek Three of January looked a little slower than the rest of the NASL offseason. A number of teams made roster moves, some very good, some very over-hyped. Here’s a look at what changes were made.

Carolina_RailHawks.svgCarolina picked up their second defensive player from the now defunct Silverbacks after grabbing Paul Black the week before.

Simon Mensing, a 33-year-old English defender with eight seasons of experience among several Scottish sides, joined the Silverbacks for the 2015 season, making 28 appearances and earning captaincy of the club. His strong defensive presence could make for a very different-looking back line for a Railhawks team that was bleeding goals by the end of the 2015 season.


Edmonton_FC_2010.svgThe Eddies stayed active, making a pair of signings last week.

Nathan Ingham, a 22-year-old Canadian keeper, graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University where he was named Conference Goalkeeper of the Year and held the conference shutout record. He spent 2015 with Kitchener-Waterloo United (PDL), and won the league, earning Tournament MVP.

They also signed Gustavo Salgueiro. The 31-year-old attacking mid comes with a wealth of experience from Brazil along with stops in Poland, Ukraine, and Japan. Head coach Colin Miller has stated that he is looking at Salgueiro to help fill the void left by the departure of Lance Laing.


Indy_Eleven_Logo.svgFirst up for Indy last week was a pair of Sacramento Republic players.

Justin Braun is a 28-year-old striker who kicked off his career with six seasons in MLS spent between Chivas USA, Montreal Impact, Real Salt Lake, and Toronto FC before playing for the Republic for the last two seasons where he made 49 appearances, scoring 14 goals with an assist.

The other USL signing was defender Nemanja Vuković. The 31-year-old defender spent nearly the entirety of the first decade of his career in Montenegro and Greece before also joining the Republic in 2014. Across his two seasons with Sacramento, he made 65 appearances, scoring five goals and adding three assists. He also earned the 2014 USL Defender of the Year award and was named to the 2014 All USL Pro First Team.

Their last signing of the week was 39-year-old goalkeeper Jon Busch. Busch joins after five years in the A-League and fourteen years between three teams in MLS, most recently with the Chicago Fire. Making 12 starts last season and 34 the year before with San Jose, Busch enters the league with impressive numbers from MLS with the fourth most games played, shutouts, and saves and is fifth in wins as a goalkeeper.

Curiously, Busch will have an expanded range of duties aside from actual play. Also the club’s Director of Goalkeeping, his duties will include first-team coaching and scouting and serving as a guest coach with the Indy Eleven NPSL side.


Miami_FCMiami continued to build their inaugural team with three signings last week.

First came Matuzalem Francelino da Silva. The 35-year-old Brazilian midfielder brings extensive experience from Italian Serie A and B sides and also captained Shaktar Donetsk of the Ukrainian league. He most recently joins from Hellas Verona of Serie A, but with a resume that includes Lazio and Napoli.

Next up was Robert Baggio Kcira. The 22-year-old midfielder joins from SC Wiener Neustadt of the Austrian second division where he was named to the league’s starting XI.

Their last signing of the week, Aaron Dennis, joins from Arizona United SC of the USL. The 22-year-old forward signed his first pro contract with them last season and logged one goal in six games.


1369743449_aThe other Canadian NASL side jumped into the mix with a much-hyped signing of their own, teasing an attacking mid who played for Real Madrid and Liverpool. Unfortunately the hype did not live up to the name.

Gerardo Bruna, a 24-year-old Argentinian midfielder, was signed. After spending time in the Real Madrid Academy system and the Liverpool Reserves, he made his way to Blackpool in the Championship (England), Huesca in La Segunda B (Spain), Tranmere Rovers of League Two (England), and even Whitehawk (National League South – England sixth-division), before making six appearances over the last season and a half with Accrington Stanley of League Two.


Rayo_OKCRayo OKC also continued to create their squad with a pair of signings.

Defender Kosuke Kimura joined after making 19 appearances with Atlanta last season. Previous to that, the 31-year-old made 12 appearances with RTS Widzew Łódź in Poland and played 2007-2014 with several MLS sides.

Michel Pereira, a 6’2 midfielder/defender, was also signed by the expansion side. After appearing for a few Brazilian clubs in Serie A and B, he joined Aris of the Greek Superleague before signing on with FC Dallas for the last three seasons. He scored 14 times in 78 appearances for the MLS side.


CYdVSMhVAAACc3o.png largeThe Rowdies made only one move this week, but it was a good one as they re-signed defender Tamika Mkandawire to a one-year deal with a club option for 2017.

Signed before fall 2014, Tam made 15 appearances in the half-season that followed before playing every minute of every game of the 2015 season. The 32-year-old Malawian is expected to factor heavily in the upcoming season.


No additions from the Cosmos last week, and we’re antsy to see some more signings for the club as the three new faces simply don’t fill the void left by the 2015 departures. Carolina, Miami, and Tampa Bay made some smart moves with Rayo not too far behind. We’ll keep you informed of what we see in the final week of January!


Nicks Thoughts

Teams are making their final additions as camps will open up soon for most clubs. If you are the Strikers, you are already a few friendlies in.

Carolina makes another strong signing in Mensing. He is a large physical presence that will shore up the back line. The Railhawks are one of the top off seasons in my opinion.

OKC is starting to fill out their roster and they are making some solid signings too. It should be fun to watch as the rest of that roster gets filled out.

I am curious to see how Braun works out for Indy as that is an interesting move that could pay dividends.

I am sure all clubs will fill out their rosters as we get close to even more pre-season friendly action.



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