New Miami FC signing Lawrence Olum has made more than 150 appearances in Major League Soccer over the past decade. | Photo courtesy Minnesota United FC
MIAMI – The Miami FC announced on Thursday it had signed veteran defender Lawrence Olum for the upcoming USL Championship season, pending league and federation approval.
The Kenyan-born defender, who has previously competed for the country’s national team, joins MFC after spending the 2019 season with Major League Soccer’s Minnesota United FC, where he featured in 12 matches for the club.
Olum has appeared in more than 150 MLS matches since 2011, playing for Sporting Kansas City (2011-2016), the Portland Timbers (2017-2018) and most recently the Loons. Olum’s versatility will be key in the upcoming season, being able to play as a center back as well as being deployed as a defensive midfielder.
“Lawrence is a great addition to Miami FC,” said MFC Head Coach Nelson Vargas. “He’s had a distinguished career in the MLS. He will add veteran leadership both in the locker room and on the field. On the field he will bring loads of experience that will solidify our backline.”
Born in Nairobi, Olum played collegiate soccer at Missouri Baptist University before signing his first professional contract with Portland Timbers in 2007, who at that time played in USL First Division. His career prior to making the jump to MLS also included stints with the Minnesota Thunder, Austin Aztex and Orlando City SC.
ROWDIES ADD NORWICH YOUNGSTER: The Tampa Bay Rowdies announced the club had acquired defender Louis Lomas on a season-long loan from English Premier League side Norwich City FC, pending league and federation approval.
The 19-year-old recently signed a contract extension with Norwich City and will spend the full 2020 campaign stateside with the Rowdies. He is a natural center back but comfortable in multiple positions.
Lomas is the second player to join the Rowdies on loan from Norwich as part of the two clubs’ partnership, following Caleb Richards in 2019. Richards played a huge role for the Rowdies last year, playing all but four minutes of the season as one of the most important members of the squad.
“I’m delighted to continue our partnership with Norwich City,” said Rowdies Head Coach and Technical Director Neill Collins. “Expectations were certainly raised last year with Caleb, but we believe Louis will come in and add to our squad. He’s young and hungry that wants the opportunity to get first team experience. He’s very versatile in that he can play multiple positions across the back. Most importantly, he’s a very good guy that’s excited to come here.”
HOUNDS SIGN COLLEGE STANDOUTS: Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC added two new faces with the signings of defender Mark Lindstrom and goalkeeper Anthony Mwembia each to a one-year contract with a club option for the 2021 season on Thursday.
An impact player out of the gate as a freshman at UNC Wilmington, Lindstrom made at least 16 appearances in every season with the Seahawks and was named to the United Soccer Coaches All-Atlantic Region Second Team as a junior and senior. He is the only player in program history to earn All-Colonial Athletic Association four times.
"We feel Mark has all the traits to become a solid contributor on our backline,” said Hounds Head Coach Bob Lilley. “He reads the game well, is solid in the tackle and comfortable on the ball.”
Mwembia, meanwhile, capped his collegiate career with United Soccer Coaches All-North Region First Team honors after captaining Bowling Green University to the Mid-American Conference Tournament Final as a senior. The goalkeeper made an impact since he joined the program, earning the starting role as a freshman. The Toulouse, France native ended his collegiate career with 66 appearances for the Falcons and a 1.04 goals-against average, .759 save percentage and 26 shutouts.
“Anthony is a well-rounded goalkeeper with the ability to make the big save,” Lilley said. “He is a player who we feel can develop quickly in our environment.”