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USL notes: Orange County SC gets trio on-loan from Scottish side Rangers FC

Orange County SC will take three youngsters from Scottish side Rangers FC on-loan this season.

A USL Championship club’s roster will be boosted by a team from the Scottish Premier League this season.

Orange County SC announced Monday that it has agreed to terms with Rangers FC to take Cammy Palmer, Danny Finlayson and Matthew Shiels on season-long loans.

Palmer is a 19-year-old midfielder, Finlayson is a 19-year-old defender and Shiels is a 19-year-old left back.

Neither youngster has featured with Rangers’ first team yet, but each have varying degrees of professional experience. Palmer featured in 20 games last season for Patrick Thistle FC, a club in Scotland’s second division. Shiels played in nine games with Dumbarton FC, a side in Scotland’s third division. Finlayson has played with Rangers’ reserves and U-19 side.

Each player also has experience with their respective youth national teams. Shiels has 10 caps with Scotland’s U-19 side, Finlayson has featured in five contests with the Northern Ireland U-19 team, and Palmer has played in a combined 10 matches with Northern Ireland’s U-21 and U-19 squads.

“We feel that Danny, Cammy and Matthew will benefit from playing in a competitive and growing league within a challenging new environment whilst playing in front of expectant fans every week. We will track their progress closely,” Rangers sporting director Ross Wilson said in a statement. “We wish our three players and Orange County SC the best of luck for the season ahead in the USL.”

Rangers, managed by former English national team captain Steven Gerrard, is second in the Scottish Premier League table this season with a 19-3-2 record.

“We are delighted to add Matthew, Danny and Cammy to our team as part of our Rangers FC partnership,” Orange County President of Soccer Operations Oliver Wyss said in a statement. “Our technical staff had a chance to watch and meet the three European Youth Internationals and we could not be more excited to continue their professional development in our structure.”

Charleston adds Rangers product too

Orange County’s trio won’t be the only connection the USL Championship has to Rangers FC this season.

On Tuesday, the Charleston Battery announced the signing of 26-year-old Scottish midfielder Robbie Crawford. From 2011 through 2015, Crawford featured in 57 matches with Rangers, tallying seven goals and six assists.

He has most recently played for clubs in Finland and Iceland. In 2019, Crawford played in 37 matches with Finnish side IFK Mariehamn, notching a goal and an assist.

Crawford is Charleston’s first new addition to the club ahead of the 2020 season.

San Diego adds Jamaican national team keeper

San Diego Loyal SC announced Saturday that it had signed goalkeeper Amal Knight to a deal for the 2020 season. Knight, 26, joins the club after spending seven seasons with the University of the West Indies Football Club, which features in Jamaica’s top men’s professional division.

Knight not only has professional experience, but has also featured for the Jamaican national team eight times. He most recently played for the Reggae Boyz on Nov. 16, 2019, in a 2-0 win over Antigua and Barbuda in a Concacaf Nations League B match. Knight was a reserve on Jamaica’s 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup squad that appeared in the semifinals.

“From the first moment we spoke with Amal, we knew we wanted him to be a part of our inaugural team,” San Diego head coach Landon Donovan said in a statement. “He’s humble, hardworking and extremely grateful for this opportunity. He will be a great asset to our club.”

San Diego signed three more players Wednesday, bringing on Charlie Adams, Morgan Hackworth and former D.C. United homegrown Collin Martin.

Miami FC adds Velásquez to attack

USL Championship expansion side Miami FC continued to bolster its attack Wednesday, announcing the signing of creative midfielder Sebastián Velásquez. A former MLS player and USL All-League selection, the Colombian joins a potent offense already featuring Romario Williams and Vincent Bezecourt.

“Sebastián is a player that has been on our radar for a while,” Miami FC head coach Nelson Vargas said in a statement. “He’s the final piece we’ve wanted to complete our roster and we’re expecting great things from him. We know Sebastián will not only be a great addition on the field, but also off the field, where he is known for being very active in the community.”

Typically a central attacking midfielder, Velásquez is a versatile offensive talent who has scored goals in a few different leagues. Across 65 USL Championship appearances, he has tallied 21 goals and 12 assists. In 55 MLS contests, he’s totaled two goals and two assists. Velásquez also briefly played in South Korea, where he scored once in nine appearances. He spent last season with El Paso Locomotive FC.

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