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Huntsville City FC signs 10 players

HUNTSVILLE – Huntsville City FC has signed 10 more players ahead of its inaugural MLS NEXT Pro season, the club announced Monday.

The new players join Isaiah Johnston, the club’s first-ever signing. The new signees are defenders Chrisnovic (Chris) N’sa, Josh Drack, Perrin Barnes, and Cyrus Rad, midfielders Jonathan Bolanos, Danny Griffin, and Ollie Wright, and forward Azaad Liadi.

Additionally, midfielder Nick Law and goalkeeper John Berner will hold player/coach roles.  

“We are truly excited to welcome Huntsville City FC’s first group of players. Being part of an inaugural roster is something very special,” said Liam Doyle, director of soccer operations. “The staffs at both Huntsville and Nashville Soccer Club have worked diligently to put together a talented group with great potential – players who will entertain the fans and fight for the city.”

Huntsville City FC is being built on the foundations of developing young talent from across all tiers of North American Soccer with a mix of seasoned veterans, the club said in a news release. MLS NEXT Pro serves as the final step in the developmental journey prior to joining its parent club, Nashville SC in Major League Soccer.  

“I am very excited to get to work with such a diverse and ambitious group that is full of potential,” said Head Coach Jack Collison. “The challenge for us as a staff now is how we knit the individual pieces together to produce an exciting brand of winning football that really showcases these talents and represents Rocket City.

“We are looking forward to the challenge ahead and can’t wait to get started.”

The team is training this week and its first preseason match is Saturday at Birmingham Legion. Tickets for that match can be purchased here.

The first home preseason match is March 4 against Savannah Clovers at John Hunt Park. The Clovers are members of the professional National Independent Soccer Association.

Huntsville City will host FC Cincinnati 2, the MLS NEXT Pro affiliate of FC Cincinnati, on March 14 at John Hunt Park. For tickets to the two matches, visit here.

The club closes out the preseason March 22 against the University of Alabama in Huntsville at Charger Field.

The regular season schedule will be announced. Season ticket memberships are available at https://am.ticketmaster.com/huntsvillenextpro/buy.  

For more information on Huntsville City FC, visit HuntsvilleCityFC.com, download and select the Huntsville City FC persona on the club’s app in Apple or Android, and follow on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter. 

The signees are:

PERRINE BARNES 

Position: Defender 

Height:5-11 

Weight:170   

Birthdate: March 10, 2021  

Age: 21 

Birthplace: Aurora, Ill. 

Last club: Butler University 

Bio: Barnes joins HCFC after appearing in every match for Butler in his collegiate career (69) and being selected to the BIG EAST Championship All-Tournament Team his senior year. As a Junior, Butler anchored a Bulldog backline that allowed just 20 goals in 19 matches

 

JOHN BERNER 

Position: Goalkeeper/Goalkeeper Coach  

Height:6-3 

Weight:201   

Birthdate: Feb. 14, 1991 

Age: 31 

Birthplace: St. Louis, Mo. 

Last club: Memphis 901 FC (USL Championship) 

Bio: Berner was originally selected by the Colorado Rapids as the 35th overall pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, presented by adidas. Berner made a total of 60 appearances in his senior career, 39 of those with Charlotte Independence. Berner will serve in a player/coach role.

JONATHAN BOLANOS 

Position: Midfielder    

Height:5-10   

Weight:146   

Birthdate: May 20, 1998 

Age: 24 

Birthplace: Miramar, Fla.  

Last club: Richmond Kickers (USL League One) 

Bio: Bolanos joins HCFC after spending three seasons with the Richmond Kickers where the midfielder made 65 total appearances. Bolanos tallied 13 goals and 13 assists in his three seasons in Richmond and was a 2022 Most Valuable Player Finalist.

 

JOSH DRACK

Position: Defender 

Height:5-8 

Weight:152 

Birthdate: Sept. 22, 1999 

Age: 23 

Birthplace: Chandler, Ariz.  

Last club: LA Galaxy II (MLS Next Pro) 

Bio: Drack made 52 appearances for LA Galaxy II after being drafted by the LA Galaxy in the first round of the 2021 MLS Superdraft, presented by adidas. During his time at LA Galaxy II he recorded five goals and 11 assists as a defender.

 

DANNY GRIFFIN 

Position: Midfielder    

Height:5-9 

Weight:165 

Birthdate: July 14, 1998 

Age: 24 

Birthplace: Wethersfield, Conn.  

Last club: Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL Championship) 

Bio: Griffin set the standard for consistency as a member of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds appearing in every regular season match for the club since joining in 2020 (82). Griffin led the Riverhounds to a 44W-21L-17D record.  

 

NICK LAW

Position: Midfielder/Player-Coach  

Height:5-10 

Weight:158 

Birthdate: March 29, 1988 

Age: 34 

Birthplace: Plymouth, England     

Last club: Tampa Bay Rowdies (USL Championship)  

Bio: Law grew up overseas in the Sheffield United Academy where he would go on to debut in the English Premier League on Nov. 4, 2006. Law’s biggest leap while playing overseas came from 2013-16 as a member of Rangers FC in the Scottish Premiership where he scored 20 goals in 86 appearances. Law came to the States in 2021 and has appeared in 60 matches in the USL Championship in that span. He will also serve in a player/coach capacity.

 

AZAAD LIADI

Position: Forward 

Height:6-1 

Weight:185 

Birthdate: May 14, 1998 

Age: 24 

Birthplace: Detroit, Mich.  

Last club: Loudoun United FC (USL Championship) 

Bio: Liadi joins Huntsville City FC after a season with Loudon United FC where he made 24 appearances. Prior to joining the USL Championship, Liadi spent two seasons in USL League One where he scored 10 goals and recorded 13 assists. 

 

CHRISNOVIC (CHRIS) N’SA

Position: Defender 

Height:6-0 

Weight:170 

Birthdate: Jan. 28, 1999 

Age: 23 

Birthplace: Montreal, Que.

Last club: York United (Canadian Premier League) 

Bio: N’sa joins HCFC after spending three seasons in the Canadian Premier League. The last two seasons N’sa played for York United, teammates with the first-ever signing in HCFC history Isaiah Johnston.  The past two campaigns saw N’sa record 52 appearances on the right side of the pitch.  

CYRUS RAD

Position: Defender  

Height:6-0 

Weight:181 

Birthdate: July 10, 1999 

Age: 23 

Birthplace: Durham, N.C.  

Last club: Forward Madison FC (USL League One) 

Bio: Rad appeared in 40 matches for Forward Madison in USL League One over the past two seasons. The defender recorded six assists in his time with Forward Madison, including five this past season.   

OLLIE WRIGHT

Position: Midfielder  

Height:5-10 

Weight:170 

Birthdate: March 1, 1999 

Age: 23 

Birthplace: London, England  

Last club: Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (USL Championship)  

Bio: Wright joins HCFC after a two-year stint in the Lone Star State playing for San Antonio FC and the Rio Grande Valley Fc Toros where he made 18 appearances.  

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