Atlanta Add Pair Of English Defenders

The Atlanta Silverbacks have signed English defenders Simon Mensing and Paul Black ahead of the 2015 season
Jan 27, 2015

A busy preseason continues for the Atlanta Silverbacks and incoming  head coach Gary Smith with the signing of two international defenders, the club announced Tuesday. Smith  has bolstered his backline with the additions of German-born English center back Simon Mensing and English full back Paul Black.

"Simon and Paul are two signings that give the team some strength and determination in the defensive area of the group," Smith said.

The pair bring a resume boasting 543 professional appearances and 47 goals between them.

Mensing, a 32-year-old enforcer, has featured in both the English League Championship and the Scottish Premier League throughout his 15-year career. Mensing appeared 148 times for Hamilton Academical, starting with a three-month loan deal in 2007. After netting three goals in five matches, Hamilton signed Mensing permanently, making way for the club’s promotion to the Scottish Premier League in 2007-08 as Division One champions.

"Simon comes to us having played almost his entire career in the Scottish Premier and Championship Leagues," Smith said. "His leadership and experience will be a strong influence on the roster and his uncompromising style will be a huge part of the defensive foundations."

The steady center half served as captain for Scottish club Livingston, appearing in 27 matches with a pair of strikes - including a penalty kick conversion in his debut in 2013.

Black, a 24-year-old full back, is seasoned with 132 appearances in the English lower divisions - including 103 matches with League One side Oldham Athletic. The product of the Manchester City’s youth system joined Oldham, becoming a regular in the starting eleven during the 2006-07 season and captain for the youth squad.

"Paul is the modern day full back," Smith said. "He has great energy up and down the left flank, with a wonderful left foot that gives good balance to any team and defensive qualities forged through tough encounters in Football Leagues 1 and 2.

"At 24, Paul has a very bright future and I fully expect his ability to attract attention from the top teams in the U.S."

The attack-minded natural-right back also boasts call ups to the England Under-18 and Under-19 teams.

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