Minnesota United announced it has signed American forward Jamie Watson from USL PRO team Orlando City SC. Watson is the fifth new signing for United leading into the 2014 North American Soccer League (NASL) season.
The 5’9” Watson will be a familiar name to Minnesota fans, having spent some time on loan with Minnesota Stars FC in 2012. However, over the past three seasons he has primarily played in Orlando as an integral part of the attack. Watson led Orlando in assists with seven in the 2013 season, while tallying 10 goals in 20 appearances.
“We are thrilled to have Jamie on the roster,” said United head coach Manny Lagos. “He has a lot of experience and is a player that can be a difference-maker in a lot of games. He has done very well for Orlando the last couple years and we are excited to have him back in Minnesota.”
Hailing from Arlington, Texas, the 27-year-old Watson has extensive experience in just about every part of the American soccer pyramid. Drafted in 2005 by Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer (MLS), Watson has played and scored in each of the top four US soccer leagues, as well as internationally with the United States U-17 team where he played up front alongside Freddy Adu.
“I am excited about coming back to Minnesota,” said Watson. “I know how great a club Minnesota is and how great their fans are. It was an easy decision for me to come back and play with the core group of guys I played with in 2012. I can’t wait to get back and get going this season.”
Watson joins a crowded field up front for United. He is the second USL PRO forward to sign with the team, along with Christian Ramirez, who joined the club from the Charlotte Eagles. 2013 leading scorer Pablo Campos, Simone Bracalello, and Nate Polak make up the team's full strike force.
Watson will travel with the club to Los Angeles for the preseason matchup against the L.A. Galaxy.
In addition to signing Watson, Minnesota United has re-signed goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt for the 2014 season. The Livonia, Michigan native played in the final two matches in the 2013 season.
“I am happy to be back in Minnesota,” said Hildebrandt. “I have worked very hard over the offseason and am ready for a successful 2014 campaign.”
With the signing of Watson, Minnesota United FC’s roster for 2014 consists of the following 21 players:
Goalkeepers: Matt VanOekel and Mitch Hildebrandt
Defenders: Tiago Calvano, Justin Davis, Cristiano Dias, Brent Kallman, Brian Kallman, Aaron Pitchkolan and Kevin Venegas
Midfielders: Omar Daley, Floyd Franks, Mozzi Gyorio, Miguel Ibarra, Michael Reed, Kentaro Takada and Juliano Vicentini
Forwards: Simone Bracalello, Pablo Campos, Nate Polak, Christian Ramirez and Jamie Watson