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LAFC signs 3 new players ahead of 2019 season

LOS ANGELES — LAFC signed three additional players to its 2019 roster Thursday — goalkeeper Phillip Ejimadu, defender Lamar Batista and forward Adrien Perez.

Batista and Perez will become available for next week’s home opener, while Ejimadu will join the Black and Gold once his International Transfer Certificate is fully processed. All three players previously joined the team for preseason play.

“Phillip, Lamar and Adrien have all impressed during preseason and are well-deserving of an opportunity with LAFC,” general manager John Thorrington said. “We’re excited to see how all three players fit into our group, and we look forward to seeing each of them develop and eventually reach their potential.”

At 19-years-old, Ejimadu is the youngest of the new additions, and he joins LAFC after five years with youth teams in the Brazilian Nacional Atlético Clube. Ejimadu also boasts some international experience, earning his first international call-up last spring to a camp in Spain with the United States U-20 team. The goalkeeper joins a back line bolstered by new additions throughout the offseason and led by veteran keeper Tyler Miller and veteran centerback Walker Zimmerman.

Batista will join the back line as well this season after two years with Portland Timbers 2 in the second-tier United Soccer League. He notched a goal and an assist last season on the way to the team’s playoff berth and was named to the league’s 20-Under-20 list in 2017 as a rookie. During those two seasons, Batista picked up one appearance with the MLS club during the 2017 U.S. Open Cup, playing in a 2-1 loss against the Seattle Sounders. LAFC will be a return to California for Batista, who played his freshman season with UC Santa Barbara. 

The signing of Perez earned a special celebration from fans — as a native of Ontario, Calif., he has been well-supported by the Inland Empire. Before joining LAFC, Perez played for the Ontario Fury, a team in the Major Arena Soccer League, an indoor semi-professional league. With the Fury last season, Perez scored 20 goals and added five assists in only 10 games before joining LAFC in for a preseason trial session in January. He received the league’s All-Rookie honors the season before with 27 goals and 12 assists.

Perez previously played for Loyola Marymount University, finishing his four-year career with 21 goals. His signing with the team — his first professional contract of his career — garnered excitement from local fans.

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