Elm City Express Adds Two Players As Season Approaches
April 15, 2017
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New Haven’s professional sports drought is set to end very soon. The Elm City Express, a third tier soccer team in the National Premier Soccer League will soon be playing home games in Yale’s Reese Stadium. Unfortunately, non-residents will be moved out of the University of New Haven by the time the club officially kicks off on May 20. President and owner Zack Henry, who met with some students in the University’s Sports Management program, is excited to give the New Haven area the professional sports experience they’ve been craving.
With a sister team in Brazil, the Express do have the option of pulling players from there to compete in the United States. And while some will end up playing for the Express, Henry said he didn’t just want to move his Brazilian team to New Haven, and would be searching for American players. On April 7, the team added two players to their roster, goalkeeper Matt Jones and striker Graciano Brito.
Both players come from Connecticut soccer, as Jones played at Sacred Heart University and Brito played for Quinnipiac University. This made them rivals in their college days, and both players went on to play soccer professionally in Portugal before returning to the states to play for the Express.
In his career, Jones has played for Western Mass Pioneers in the United States, the Philadelphia Union (on a loan), and several Portuguese soccer teams.
Brito was born in Cape Verde, where he lived for 19 years before moving to Bridgeport and attending Quinnipiac University. Brito is considered one of the best players ever to attend Quinnipiac. He also played in Portugal, as well as for F.C. New York of the USL Professional league, scoring the team’s only goal in their first ever victory.
Both players are expected to make an impact of the Express’ inaugural season. Head coach Teddy Haley said in a press release “From the first day we sat down to talk about the Elm City project, everyone involved wanted to make sure we attracted some of the best players in Connecticut. In signing such high profile players like Matt and Graciano, I think we have actually exceeded expectations. Their experience, quality, and overall professionalism puts us in a great position to add younger players into the squad and grow together as a team.”
The team, ownership, and fans are all anxiously awaiting the team’s first game, on Saturday, May 20 at 7:00 PM in Reese Stadium. They will be playing against Hartford City FC, another new team to the National Premier Soccer League.