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USL notes: Monarchs make Jamison Olave head coach after championship victory

Nazmi Albadawi re-signed with NCFC, ATL UTD 2 added a striker and the Chattanooga Red Wolves hired a head coach.

After leading Real Monarchs SLC to victory in the USL Championship Final, the club has removed the interim tag from Jamison Olave.

The club announced Wednesday that Olave has been hired as its full-time head coach, its fifth in its history. Details of Olave’s contract were not disclosed.

Olave had served as an interim in two separate occasions, in 2018 and this past season. Under his direction, the Monarchs captured the USL Championship crown on Sunday, beating Louisville City FC 3-1 on the road.

“We’re ecstatic to now have Jamison on as the official leader of our group,” Real Salt Lake Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations Rob Zarkos said in a statement. “His coaching pedigree and extensive knowledge of the game coupled with his success as a leader during the club’s Championship title run makes him the right fit for the team and our overall development ladder. All of us in the organization have full faith that Jamison will execute growth initiatives of the club using the integration between Real Salt Lake and the RSL Academy while continuing the on-field success within the USL Championship.”

Olave was an assistant coach with the Monarchs under Martin Vasquez entering the season. But after Vasquez resigned in late June, Olave was handed the reins and led the club to a 10-4-5 record, and eventually a championship. The 38-year-old Colombian posted an 11-12-2 record as the interim coach in 2018.

“This feels really good,” Olave said in a statement. “Now we just need to keep working hard. We are going to continue to develop players within the Real Salt Lake organization from the RSL Academy all the way to RSL. We’re going to keep working like we did this year and put the team before everything.”

Before coaching, Olave played professionally in his native Colombia and in MLS from 2001 through 2016. He spent a good chunk of his career playing centerback for Real Salt Lake, appearing in 172 games with the club from 2008 to 2012 and 2015 through 2016. He netted 13 goals and had three assists in an RSL uniform, was MLS Defender of the Year in 2010 and was twice an MLS Best XI selection.

The Monarchs also announced that it is retaining assistant coach Matt Glaeser and that it has hired Mirza Harambasic as the goalkeeper coach.

Red Wolves hire new coach

The Chattanooga Red Wolves of USL League One announced Thursday that they have hired Jimmy Obleda as the club’s newest head coach and sporting director.

Obleda played soccer professionally for eight years and has coached at the youth and collegiate levels. In 2011, he was named National Youth Coach of the Year by the NSCAA.

“The transition from an inaugural team to a championship team will be accelerated under Coach Obleda’s direction,” Red Wolves president Sean McDaniel said in a statement. “We look forward to beginning our second season with a renowned and esteemed leader at the helm.”

The Red Wolves finished just one spot outside of the playoffs in their inaugural season with a 10-8-10 record under former head coach Tim Hankinson and interim coach David Barrueta.

Albadawi to return to NCFC

North Carolina FC announced Thursday that Nazmi Albadawi, the club’s all-time leader in assists, will return for the 2020 season after agreeing to a contract with the club. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The 28-year-old is a Raleigh native and played his college ball at N.C. State. He’s played in 141 games for NCFC, notching 25 goals and 24 assists over that stretch.

Albadawi came up in the club’s academy system and played with them from 2014 through 2017 before signing with FC Cincinnati for the 2018 season. Albadawi was retained by FC Cincinnati when the club jumped to MLS in 2019, but he appeared in just one game and came back to NCFC on-loan in May, helping the club make the USL Championship playoffs.

“Everything that I was told about Nazmi in terms of his character, on-field talent, his connection to the community and his leadership… Every box was checked this year,” NCFC head coach Dave Sarachan said in a statement. “It was a challenging year for Nazmi when he had to come in kind of late and get up to speed with us and then a few moments where he went on international duty. But given all that, he was an important attacking piece to our team. I’m thrilled that he’s going to be a part of our roster from the very beginning of next season.”

Albadawi has been capped 10 times by the Palestine national team.

ATL UTD 2 adds forward from Senegal

Atlanta United 2 announced its first new signing of the offseason Tuesday, agreeing to a contract with Amadou Macky Diop, a 24-year-old forward from Senegal.

“We’re proud to welcome Amadou as our first signing this offseason,” ATL UTD 2 head coach Stephen Glass said in a statement. “He is a player that we have been tracking and myself and the staff are excited to work with him as he takes the next step to the professional game.”

Diop comes to ATL UTD 2 after playing a season of college soccer at Radford. In 2018, he was named Big South Freshman of the Year after notching nine goals and five assists in 11 matches. He was limited to just two matches this past season, but scored four goals in those pair of appearances.

Before coming to Radford, the 6-foot-3 striker played professionally in his native country and in Croatia’s second-division, according to transfermarkt.us.

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