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USL notes: Ex-Rev Hollinger-Janzen signs with Birmingham

Jun 28, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; New England Revolution forward Femi Hollinger-Janzen (88) tries to save the ball from going out of bounds during the first half against D.C. United at Jordan Field. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Birmingham Legion FC, a 2019 expansion side in the United Soccer League Championship, signed a forward with Major League Soccer experience Monday.

Femi Hollinger-Janzen will join the Legion for the 2019 season, pending league and federation approval. Hollinger-Janzen has spent the past three seasons with the New England Revolution, where he appeared in 36 matches across all contests.

“Femi is a player we know well from his time in MLS,” Birmingham general manager Jay Heaps said in a statement. “Not only does he exhibit a physical, attacking style of play at a variety of positions, he has excellent character and will be a good presence in the locker room.”

Hollinger-Janzen, 25, was born in Benin, a country in West Africa. He went to high school in Goshen, Indiana, where he was named the Gatorade Indiana Player of the Year in 2011. He totaled 150 goals in his high school career.

He went on to play college soccer at Indiana University, where he tallied 22 goals and eight assists in 88 appearances for the Hoosiers. They won the College Cup in 2012.

The Revolution selected Hollinger-Janzen in the third round of the 2016 MLS SuperDraft. He played in 19 games as a rookie, scoring twice and adding two assists. He was selected by Minnesota United in the 2016 expansion draft, but was then traded back to New England.

Hollinger-Janzen was loaned to the Tulsa Roughnecks last season and appeared in one game. At the end of 2018, New England declined the option on his contract.

Former Revs draft pick Polak joins Greenville

Tyler Polak, who was drafted 22nd overall in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft by the New England Revolution, signed on with an expansion side in USL League One. Polak is the first signing announced by Greenville SC, who will begin play this season under the direction of John Harkes.

“Tyler brings experience and leadership to our club on and off the field,” Harkes said in a statement. “He’s a very talented attacking left fullback possessing the ability to defend and pass through pressure.”

Polak, 26, made just four appearances with the Revs and has since been in a journeyman, playing in a few different leagues with various teams. He played with the USL’s Rochester Rhinos, FC Cincinnati and Saint Louis FC, Minnesota United when the club played in the North American Soccer League, and in the National Premier Soccer League with Miami FC 2.

At FC Cincinnati, Polak played under Harkes and tallied three assists in 54 appearances across two seasons.

Former Red Bull signs in Sacramento

Sacramento Republic FC boosted its attack Friday, signing Stefano Bonomo to a contract for the 2019 season.

A native of California, Bonomo played his college soccer at Cal before being picked 39th overall by the New York Red Bulls in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft, but made just one appearance with the first team. He appeared in 64 games for New York Red Bulls II, scoring 24 times and adding nine assists. He helped the affiliate with the USL Cup final in 2016.

The 25-year-old also served as captain many times for Red Bulls II.

Trinidad & Tobago midfielder lands in Lansing

Nathan Lewis, a midfielder for the Trinidad & Tobago national team, signed with USL League One side Lansing Ignite for the 2019 season.

Lewis, 28, most recently played at the club level for USL Championship side Indy Eleven. He appeared in 11 games for Indy in 2018, tallying one assist. At the international level, Lewis has 19 caps and has scored twice for Trinidad & Tobago. He played 90 minutes on Oct. 11, 2017, when his side upset the U.S. 2-1 in World Cup qualifying.

“Nathan gives us something different on the wing, and teams have to account for his pace and mobility,” Lansing coach Nate Miller said in a statement. “I look forward to integrating Nathan into our system and him making a tremendous impact.”

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