Opening Week: The final NASL roster moves in March

12952807_10154241226901091_582560509_oTime to review the final roster moves of March in the NASL as the squads are finishing up their team-building and now look to employ them this spring as the season kicks off on Saturday.

New_York_Cosmos_2010.svgThe Cosmos made two moves. One was not much of a surprise. The other was.

The signing of Niko Kranjčar came as a surprise to few. The 31-year-old Croatian attacking mid spent preseason “training” with the Cosmos and the club had indicated that a player was working on acquiring a green card to free up an international spot. Niko’s history includes stints with Dinamo Zagreb and Hajduk Split of Croatia and Portsmouth and Tottenham Hotspurs of England. Upon going to Dynamo Kyiv in Ukraine, he was also loaned to Queens Park Rangers and helped them to promotion from the Championship. In his final season in the Premier League with them, he started 11 of 22 games with two goals scored. Kranjčar brings experience from the Europa and Champions Leagues and made over 80 appearances for the Croatian national team, including appearances in the 2006 World Cup. Niko has been signed for the 2016 Spring Season.

A surprise removal from the roster came to light. Roversio was removed from the roster for at least four weeks as per Big Apple Soccer. Still rehabilitating from his knee injury, Roversio was removed from the roster to quickly make room for Kranjčar.

 

Carolina_RailHawks.svgThe RailHawks didn’t have to look far for their one signing. A product of the Capital Area RailHawks Academy, U-18 team captain Jeremy Kelly was signed to an amateur contract. The young midfielder will join them for the 2016 Spring Season.

 

 

Indy_Eleven_Logo.svgIndy made a series of moves in the final days of March. First came three releases.

Defender Stephen DeRoux and forward Dino Williams were released from the team due to injuries. Neither player ever suited up for the Eleven, having been picked up in the offseason.

Dragan Stojkov was also released. The Macedonian midfielder occupied an international spot and the team felt it necessary to be have the flexibility to bring in an international player later on.

Indy signed Jair Reinoso, a 30-year-old Colombian forward in possession of a green card. Reinoso has seen stints with clubs like The Strongest and Club Bolivar in Bolivia, Once Caldas and Cucuta Deportivo in Colombia, and most recently comes from Zhejiang Yiteng of the Chinese Super League where he started seven of fifteen appearances and scored four goals.

 

Jacksonville_Armada_FC_logoOne signing and one departure for Jacksonville in the last half of March.

Garry Lewis, a 29-year-old midfielder, was signed by the club. Lewis brings previous experience from USL and Finland. He was on the Armada’s 2014 development squad and, after sustaining an injury in late 2014, he was out for all 2015.

They also transferred a player out, sending 23-year-old forward Akeil Barrett to Piteå FC of the Swedish second division after Barrett played 23 games with 10 starts, scoring three goals and adding one assist. Barrett was an impressive player for the Armada in 2015 and will be a tough loss.

 

1362504534_aLeft back Jeb Brovsky joined Minnesota United in the second half of March. After time with the Whitecaps, Impact, and with Strømsgodset in Norway, Brovsky spent last season with NYCFC starting 12 of 15 games with one assist.

 

 

1369743449_aOttawa added Israeli forward Idan Vered. The 27-year-old spent 2015 with Red Star Belgrade of Serbia where he started seven of his eight appearances and scored one goal. He also spent time in the Israeli leagues with teams like Beitar Jerusalem and Maccabi Haifa and started his career with Maccabi Tel Aviv.

 

 

Puerto_Rico_FCCristiano Dias signed for Puerto Rico after spending the last five seasons with Minnesota and the two before that with Ft. Lauderdale. The 29-year-old defender started all 12 of his appearances last season with United.

Tyler Rudy joins from the New England Revolution. The 22-year old midfielder started 6 of 14 appearances for the Rochester Rhinos in 2015, as well.

 

Rayo_OKCRayo continued working on their team with kickoff approaching, by announcing three signings on the same day.

Javier Monsalvez, also known as Yuma, spent last season with Puerta Bonita of the Spanish third division. The 30-year-old midfielder also played for Salamanca and Rayo Vallecano previously.

Futty Danso, a 32-year-old Gambian defender, spent last season with the Railhawks, making 17 starts in 19 appearances with a goal and an assist in 2015. He is capped by the Gambia national team, but is a green card holder.

Their last signing was Ryan Johnson, a 31-year-old Jamaican forward. A large portion of his career was spent in MLS with the Earthquakes, Toronto FC, and the Timbers, then in the Chinese Super League. He spent last season with Seoul E-Land of the K-League Challenge where he started five of 31 games with one goal.

 

CYdVSMhVAAACc3o.png largeTampa Bay loaned a pair of players out for the season.

After making four appearances in 2015, Jeff Michaud was loaned out to the Wilmington Hammerheads (USL) for the 2016 season.

Also after making only four appearances in 2015, Verneri Välimaa was loaned out to the Orange County Blues of USL for 2016.

 

I’ve been complimentary of other teams in the past, but the Cosmos and their signing of Niko win this round of NASL transfers. His ability and his age should make him a heavy hitter for the New York side.

 

Nicks Thoughts

Its Soccer Time!

Indy making those moves is a bit shocking just a few days before the season but as we discussed on the show, they seem a bit in shambles.

The Fury move is something interesting to me but other than that, outside of Niko and the aforementioned Indy moves, just some final fine tuning.

Can not wait to see the matches this weekend!

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