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USL notes: Charleston Battery sign former FC Cincinnati draft pick Logan Gdula

Among the USL notes: Birmingham Legion will play in Guatemala, and San Diego Loyal SC signed a former ATL UTD 2 captain.

In his second season of professional soccer, Logan Gdula will have a new club to call home.

The USL Championship’s Charleston Battery announced Wednesday that they had signed the 23-year-old defender to a deal for the 2020 season.

Gdula, a Wake Forest product, was selected 13th overall in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft by FC Cincinnati. But two weeks ago, the second-year MLS side placed him on waivers. Gdula never appeared in a match for FC Cincinnati and spent most of the 2019 season on-loan with USL side Hartford Athletic, where he scored one goal in 16 appearances. He played more than 1,000 minutes in Hartford, tallying 34 clearances and 23 interceptions as a centerback.

In college, Gdula was a standout defender for Wake Forest, starting in 60 of the 77 games he appeared in. He notched two goals and 14 assists in his career and was part of a backline that racked up 46 clean sheets.

Gdula is the third new offseason signing for the Battery.

Birmingham Legion to play in Guatemala

In the lead-up to their second season in the USL Championship, Birmingham Legion FC will travel abroad for a preseason friendly. On Feb. 27, the club will play a game in Guatemala against Antigua GFC.

The game is part of a growing initiative launched in 2017 by club partner BL Harbert International, known as the Respect Challenge Tour.

“On the heels of last week’s game against Atlanta United, we are really looking forward to traveling to our first international match in Guatemala,” Jay Heaps, President and General Manager of Birmingham Legion FC, said in a statement. “We have a strong partnership with BL Harbert International, and we are honored to help spread the message of respect around the world.”

Rowdies to host Norwich U-23’s

The Tampa Bay Rowdies will host their first international exhibition since 2011 on July 1, when they take on Norwich City’s U-23 side at 7 p.m. ET at Al Lang Stadium.

Last January, the Rowdies and Norwich – an English Premier League side – agreed to an international partnership. The Rowdies have since taken on two Norwich players on-loan.

“The partnership between the Rowdies and Norwich City is something really unique and something that is continuing to grow stronger with each endeavor we work on together,” said Rowdies President Lee Cohen said. “In the 12 months since we officially formed our partnership, we’ve spent time visiting and learning from one another, we’ve co-run the Yellow & Green Dream Camp… We look forward to continuing the development of this partnership for many years to come.”

FiveThirtyEight weighs in

The statistical analysis website FiveThirtyEight has released its predictions for the 2020 USL Championship season. The site has tabbed Phoenix Rising FC as the favorite, giving them a 21 percent chance to win the final.

FiveThirtyEight also likes expansion side Miami FC, giving them a 95 percent chance to make the playoffs and a 10 percent chance of winning the final. Real Monarchs were given just a two percent chance to repeat as champions.

Former ATL UTD 2 captain joins San Diego

San Diego Loyal SC announced Saturday that it had signed Jack Metcalf, a defender who most recently was the captain of ATL UTD 2.

Metcalf, 28, appeared in 62 games with the MLS affiliate over the past two seasons. A native of Liverpool, England, Metcalf can play all over the pitch, mostly featuring as a fullback or a holding midfielder. In two seasons with Atlanta, he tallied two goals and four assists.

After coming up in the academies of Liverpool and Wolverhampton, Metcalf played college soccer at Clemson. He has also played for the Charlotte Independence in the USL and Welsh side Bangor City FC.

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