North Carolina FC has announced the signing of midfielders Dre Fortune and Lance Laing. As per club policy, terms of the contracts were not disclosed.
Fortune is a local product and former Capital Area RailHawks Development Academy standout. He is the first former Academy player in the organization’s history to sign a professional contract with the club.
“We’re happy to have a young, local kid as our first Academy player to sign a pro contract,” North Carolina FC coach Colin Clarke said. “He’s a very good player technically, and he’s someone we feel is going to help our team a lot this year.”
The 20-year-old Raleigh native spent last season with the United Soccer League’s Rochester Rhinos, where he played in nine games. He played with Servette FC in Switzerland prior.
Fortune has international experience as well, having played with the U-17 and U-20 Trinidad & Tobago national teams, and the U.S. U-15 side.
“I’m excited to be with the team,” Fortune said. “I grew up in the area and played for the Academy team, so signing a professional contract is a really big accomplishment for me. I’m ready for a good season.”
Laing is a dependable veteran midfielder who has been named to the NASL Best XI three times.
“Lance is a player who has been very good in our league over the last few years and he’s someone who we’ve been interested in getting here for quite some time,” Clarke said. “He’s an experienced, very athletic left-sided player who has great ability on set plays, and who is a leader that is going to bring a lot to the team.”
The 29-year-old began his career in his native Jamaica, playing for Harbour View and Village United of the Jamaican National Premier League, before signing with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers as a defender for the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
Laing next played for FC Edmonton from 2013-2015, where he made a switch from defender to midfielder, and scored 16 goals in 71 appearances. He led the Eddies in goals and assists in 2014, with seven and six, respectively.
Laing spent last season with Minnesota United and overall has made 128 NASL appearances with 19 goals and 16 assists.
Like Fortune, Laing also has international experience, as he has made seven appearances for the Jamaican national team since 2008, including the 2015 Copa America and 2015 Gold Cup.
“I’m really happy to be here, and I’m pumped up about what this organization is doing,” Laing said. “The group has been brilliant so far, one of the very best I’ve ever been a part of, and I’m grateful to be a part of this team. I’m excited to be a part of it all, and I’m looking forward to seeing the fans out there this season.”