CARY, N.C. – North Carolina FC announced on Friday it had re-signed midfielder and Raleigh native Dre Fortune ahead of the 2020 USL Championship season, while also adding former Clemson University defender Malick Mbaye for his first professional season.
A product of the NCFC Youth Academy, Fortune had a career year in 2019, setting personal highs in games (29), minutes played (2,179) and goals (nine) while also making his senior international debut for Trinidad & Tobago against Ecuador. Fortune twice earned USL Championship Player of the Week honors during the campaign and enters his fourth year with NCFC as one of the key players going into the 2020 season.
“For us as a club, to have Dre back and to continue where we left off is important,” said NCFC Head Coach Dave Sarachan. “He became a guy that was capable of creating goals, both as a goalscorer and also by setting up his teammates. Having him back again, his starting point will be that much further, and I think he’s going to be a guy who can continue to increase his production.”
A native of Dakar, Senegal, Mbaye was selected in the Second Round of the 2020 MLS SuperDraft with the No. 33 pick by Toronto FC following a decorated collegiate career at Clemson. Last fall, Mbaye captained the Tigers and earned ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors as he led the side with 1,950 minutes of action. A Third Team All-America selection, Mbaye scored three goals and added an assist for Clemson in his senior season.
“Malick is obviously one of the better defenders coming out of college soccer, from a very good program in Clemson,” said Sarachan. “To get a young guy to begin the development process in the professional setting, I think he’ll be a good addition, and we’re pleased to have a young and capable defender to call on as we move through the season.”