Kalamazoo Press Release - www.kalamazoooutrage.com
Friday, May 2
KALAMAZOO, MI – The Kalamazoo Outrage is delighted to announce, pending USL/PDL approval, the signing of four international players to complete their 2008 roster. These signings are highlighted by former English Premiership player Mark Briggs. Briggs, who will star in the midfield for Kalamazoo, will be joined by Australian defender Yahaya Musa, Antiguan International striker Troy Mellanson and defender Mahamadou Simpara, who hails from the African nation of Mali.
The signing of the experienced quartet pleased PDL Head Coach Stu Riddle as his side close in on their debut season in the United Soccer League’s Premier Development League
"All four players offer exactly what we need, great ability, tremendous attitudes and most importantly bucket-loads of experience,” said Riddle. “The pressure will be on these guys to be big players in what we are trying to achieve and I am confident they will perform above my high expectation level."
Briggs, 26, boasts an impressive resume. In two seasons with English side West Bromwich Albion he made eight first-team appearances for the Premiership side before signing with Danish Superliga side Herfolge Bodlklub. In Boldklub, Briggs scored 12 times in 55 games over a two season period before he returned to the UK to have stints with Notts County, and most recently, Shrewsbury Town. Speaking from his Wolverhampton home Briggs said he was chomping at the bit to get going with the Outrage.
"I am looking forward to my experience in America with the Kalamazoo Outrage,” said Briggs. “I hope my experience will add quality to the squad. [I hope to] pass on my experience to the younger players. I want to win things and all being well progress myself to the highest level possible in America whether that be with USL or MLS. I cannot wait to work with Stu [Riddle] and the rest of the coaching staff in what will be a successful season.”
Antigua National Team star Mellanson, 26, chose the Outrage over a professional contract offer and is confident his decision will pay off.
"I am very pleased to have the opportunity to play with the Kalamazoo Outrage,” said Mellanson. “The talent on this year’s squad is outstanding and I hope to add to that talent. I am also hoping to learn from the coaching staff so I can take my game to the next level either here in the United States or somewhere in Europe.”
Mellanson has four caps for his national team and is expected to be in the lineup for Antigua when they play Cuba on Tuesday, June 10, in a World Cup qualifying match. In 2005 he was named an NAIA All American while playing for Indiana Wesleyan College.
Musa, 22, and Simpara, 24, both enjoyed outstanding careers with New York based Stony Brook University. Both are looking forward to taking their game to the next level now that they are out of college.
"I feel that Stu’s ambitions match mine,” said Musa. “That is why I feel this is the right team for me to be playing on. The link that Kalamazoo has to Sheffield Wednesday is also very appealing as they are a recognized team. I look forward to winning and continuing to grow as a player with Kalamazoo this summer."
Musa, who was twice named to the America East Conference first team, has previously turned out for PDL side Fort Wayne Fever.
Simpara echoed the thoughts of his compatriot.
“I will play my best to help the team accomplish its goals,” said Simpara. “I am looking forward playing top level soccer and this is a great chance to prove myself.”
In 2007 Simpara was recognized by the America East Conference as an all conference selection and has previously played in the PDL with the Brooklyn Knights.
Riddle feels all four players have the ability to go on to the next level.
"I expect these lads to be with me for the 2008 season and then move on to professional teams,” said Riddle. “They are all coming here to impress and win. If they do that they will get the chance higher up the soccer ladder.”
Fans in Kalamazoo can get their first glimpse of the Kalamazoo Outrage on Sunday, May 4 when they host Club Guanajuato, a local Latino Select side. The match will kick off at 3 PM at Mayors Riverfront Stadium in downtown Kalamazoo and will be open to the public free of charge.