In a series of press releases provided Friday the Atlanta Silverbacks provided their fans with an indication of just how serious they are looking towards the new NASL season. The Silverbacks announced several roster moves including a significant signing.
Silverbacks fans should be ecstatic that El Salvador national team midfielder Richie Menjivar has signed a loan contract with the Atlanta Silverbacks. Menjivar comes to the Silverbacks from Turin FC, a Salvadoran side. Since the beginning of 2013 Menjivar has played for the El Salvador national team four times as they looked to qualify for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. He started all four qualifiers against Belize, Costa Rica, Honduras and Panama.
“We’re ecstatic about Richie joining the club because he is a tremendous player with incredible potential and abilities,” said Silverbacks Technical Director Eric Wynalda who managed Menjivar at Cal FC before the player moved for a spell in the Danish leagues. “I would encourage the fans to come out and see him while they can because a player of this caliber won’t go unnoticed.”
Head Coach Brian Haynes is also excited about his new signing. “The fact that we can add someone of Richie’s quality speaks volumes about the Silverbacks and also the league. He is going to be a key leader for us on the field, and I think he’ll bring out the best in his teammates as well. We were looking for a player like Richie and I’m glad to say we found him.”
Earlier in the week the Silverbacks announced the signings of defender Mark Bloom, midfielder Pablo Cruz, and forward Jahbari Willis, pending USSF approval. Cruz and Willis are familiar faces, having been part of the influx of new players that came in to the team in the second half of 2012.
Regarding these signings Head Coach Brian Haynes said “I’m very excited about bringing in Mark, Pablo, and Jahbari, who are all very talented players. As a coach, you always want to pick players that complement your playing style and can come in and add competition to your team. These three players play three different positions, so they’ll strengthen our team from top to bottom.”
Mark Bloom joins the Silverbacks after three professional seasons, the last two as regular in the USL's Charlotte Eagles line-up.
“Mark is really eager to prove he belongs at the next level,” Haynes said. “He has really impressed us in training, and you can see it in his eyes that he’s ready to take that next step.”
It was also announced on Friday that the Silverbacks and goalkeeper Daniel Illyes have mutually parted ways. The Hungarian goalkeeper spent the entire 2012 season with the Silverbacks, appearing in 22 of the team's 28 regular season games.
Illyes, 30, has been playing professionally since 2001, and has recently expressed a desire to focus on his goalkeeping academy back in his hometown of Eger, Hungary. The Silverbacks currently have a pair of goalkeepers on the 2013 roster, with both Joe Nasco and Eric Ati returning for another season in Atlanta.
In a final statement the Silverbacks announced the first of several pre-season games. Silverbacks fans should mark their calendars for a preseason exhibition game against UAB on Saturday, March 16 at 2 p.m. at Atlanta Silverbacks Park! The remainder of the preseason schedule is currently being worked out.
These are exciting times for the Silverbacks and enthusiasm for the new season should continue to steadily build. With a lot of talented new faces coming in and the same management team that gave the fans a great second half to the 2012 season there is considerable reason for the optimism.
The Silverbacks kick off the 2013 season on April 13 when they host the Fort Lauderdale Strikers at Atlanta Silverbacks Park. Single-game and season tickets are currently available through the Silverbacks ticket office at 404-969-4900.