INDIANAPOLIS – Indy Eleven announced its first new arrival for the 2021 USL Championship season on Friday with the signing of forward Cal Jennings, pending league and federation approval. Jennings led Memphis 901 FC with nine goals in the 2020 season, his first as a professional after a standout college career at the University of Central Florida.
“I'm extremely excited to get started with Indy Eleven. From the professionalism of the club to the quality of the people I've met so far within the organization I'm sure this will be a great fit,” said Jennings. “I'm looking forward to interacting with the fans and serving this club and my teammates to the best of my ability.”
Jennings was taken with the 17th pick of the 2020 MLS SuperDraft by FC Dallas prior to signing with Memphis. The Roswell, Ga. native was named to the 2019 United Soccer Coaches All-America First Team in both his junior and senior seasons for the Knights and was a two-time All-American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year and three-time All-AAC First Team selection.
The 23-year-old surged impressively late in his first professional campaign, scoring nine goals in 571 minutes across 14 appearances. He capped his first season with a hat trick against Birmingham Legion FC that earned Player of the Week honors and nomination for the Championship’s Player of the Month award for September/October.
“We are excited to bring Cal Jennings to Indy Eleven. He is a natural goal scorer with a fantastic goal scoring record,” said Indy Eleven Head Coach Martin Rennie. “Finding dynamic attacking players has been a key focus of our offseason recruitment plans, so we are very pleased to bring one of the most exciting young players in the USL to our club.”
Orange County SC continued to build its squad for the 2021 season with the announcement that defender Nathan Smith had signed a new contract, and the club had exercised its contract option to retain midfielder Seth Casiple.
Smith made 14 appearances for Orange County in the 2020 Championship season and recorded 25 interceptions and 24 clearances while winning 57.3 percent of duels. Smith had previously played in the Championship for both the LA Galaxy II and Portland Timbers 2 and has made 94 regular-season appearances overall in the league over five seasons.
Casiple, meanwhile, made 13 appearances for the side in his first year in Orange County and recorded one assist on 18 chances created. Casiple recorded a passing accuracy rate of 81.1 percent and made 14 interceptions defensively but was held without a goal for the first time since the 2016 season.
For his career, the 27-year-old California native has made 130 regular-season appearances in the Championship and recorded 13 goals and 15 assists. Over the past four seasons, Casiple has recorded 168 chances created.
Atlanta United 2 announced on Friday it had signed forward Amadou Macky Diop and defenders Jack Gurr and Bradley Kamdem Fewo to new contracts for the 2021 USL Championship season as the club announced its initial roster moves following the 2020 campaign.
In addition to the returning trio of re-signings, the Atlanta also exercised contracts options on forward Phillip Goodrum and goalkeeper Ben Lundgaard, while midfielders Abdoulaye Diop and Daniel Steedman were previously under contract for the 2021 season.
Both Gurr and Kamdem Fewo reached new agreements with the club after initially having their options declined. Gurr appeared in all 16 regular season contests in his first season with the club and recorded one goal and three assists while sitting tied for sixth in the Championship with 36 chances created.
Diop, meanwhile, finished tied for the team-lead with six goals alongside recent Homegrown signing Jackson Conway, and Lungaard ranked sixth in the Championship with 47 saves during the regular season.
The club also announced it had declined contract options on forward Lamin Jawneh, midfielder Baboucarr Njie and goalkeeper Gabe Rosario. Midfielder Amir Bashti and defenders Modou Jadama and Patrick Nielsen are out of contract.