Nazmi Albadawi spent four seasons with North Carolina FC before spending the 2018 USL Championship season with FC Cincinnati, where he registered 11 goals and four assists. | Photo courtesy Brett Hansbauer / FC Cincinnati
CARY, N.C. – North Carolina FC announced on Wednesday the return of midfielder Nazmi Albadawi to the club, with the standout playmaker set to feature in NCFC colors through at least the conclusion of the 2020 USL Championship season. Albadawi will initially join the club on loan from Major League Soccer’s FC Cincinnati through the 2019 season and will sign a full contract for 2020. Per League and Club policy no further terms were disclosed, and the loan agreement is pending league and federation approval.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring back Nazmi to our club for many reasons,” said NCFC Head Coach Dave Sarachan. “First and most importantly, he is a player with great ability and technical skill that will help our team on both sides of the ball. Equally important, he is a person of great character and possesses leadership skills that transcend beyond the playing field. Along with the fact that he is highly respected in this area and community, we feel we’ve added a tremendous all-around player and person that will help our team immediately.”
“I’m so happy to be able to come home and play for NCFC again,” Albadawi said. “It’s a club that has a very special place in my heart and I can’t wait to get started with Dave and the rest of the staff and players. It’ll be nice to see some familiar faces both on and off the field!”
Albadawi spent the last season-and-a-half with FC Cincinnati where he appeared in 27 matches during the club’s final USL Championship season scoring 11 goals and adding four assists. The Raleigh native transitioned with the team to Major League Soccer and made his MLS debut as a substitute on May 25 against the New York Red Bulls.
Albadawi is a true example of North Carolina FC’s youth-to-pro pipeline. He spent his whole soccer career in the Raleigh area, as a four-year letter winner at Athens Drive High School, and as a member of Triangle United and Capital Area Soccer League (now NCFC Youth) during his youth club days. He then proceeded to play one year at Wake Tech before joining NC State as a walk-on, where he made 45 appearances and scored 17 goals for the Wolfpack. During the summers of his college career, the 27-year old played for the Carolina RailHawks U23s in 2012 and 2013, and ultimately earned a spot on the first team in 2014.
During previous stint with NCFC from 2014 to 2017, he appeared in 113 matches and recorded 21 goals and 19 assists. He set a single-season league record with 10 assists in the 2016 season, and his strong leadership skills earned him the captain’s armband in 2016 and 2017 as he remained a consistent fan-favorite on and off the field.
Albadawi has also been very active in the community throughout the years. In 2015, following the loss of three friends who tragically died in a shooting in Chapel Hill, he helped raise funds for “Our Three Winners”, a charity created in their honor whose mission is to reduce prejudice towards American Muslims and marginalized communities. He has also been active in helping grow the game and is often seen on the sidelines mentoring young soccer players, who such as himself, harbor the dream of one day becoming a professional soccer player.
The versatile midfielder will be available for selection this weekend as the team travels to face Hartford Athletic on Saturday, June 1 at 7 p.m. ET.