Attacker Ariel Martinez has signed with Miami FC for the 2021 Championship season, marking a return to the club he spent four season at before competing for FC Tulsa in the 2020 campaign. | Photo courtesy TC Brewster / FC Tulsa
MIAMI – The Miami FC announced on Tuesday it had signed attacker Ariel Martinez, pending league and federation approval. This announcement marks the return of one of Miami FC’s most successful players, with Martinez having played previously for the club from its inaugural 2016 season until the end of the 2019 season.
“On a personal level, during my previous two years as a Head Coach, Ariel was the heartbeat of the team,” said Miami Technical Director and Head Coach Paul Dalglish. “We enjoyed success together, winning many trophies. In all honesty it hurt me to see him playing for someone else last year. I am delighted to welcome him home.
“From a team perspective, we have work tirelessly to identify and recruit the ideal player profiles to play the Miami FC way. We are really happy with where the roster is, but we needed somebody to bring everything together. Ariel is the conductor of our orchestra.”
Born in Sancti Spíritus, Cuba, Martinez joined Miami ahead of the 2016 season after spending the 2015 season with USL Championship’s Charleston Battery. His four seasons at Miami FC saw him be a part of all nine trophies the club has won, while scoring 23 goals and adding 16 assists to his name. Prior to his departure after the 2019 season, Martinez was coming off a great season with Miami FC, scoring nine goals and recording six assists. His performances led the club to a NISA Eastern Conference Championship, which was the club’s fourth trophy that season.
In 2020, Martinez joined FC Tulsa of the USL Championship’s Western Conference. During his time there, Martinez featured in all 15 regular season matches and notched two goals and three assists. His leadership from day 1 since joining Tulsa earned him the respect of his coaches and teammates, ultimately giving him the captain’s armband in his only season with Tulsa. The club would finish second in Group D to earn a spot in the USL Championship Playoffs.
FC Tulsa announced on Tuesday it had signed 2020 MLS SuperDraft pick Daniel Gagliardi to deepen its 2021 goalkeeping corps, pending league and federation approval. Gagliardi spent last season with Fort Lauderdale CF of USL League One after being selected with the 32nd overall pick by Vancouver Whitecaps FC out of Florida International University (FIU).
“Daniel is going to be a great addition to our team,” said FC Tulsa Head Coach Michael Nsien. “Defenders want a strong reliable presence behind them, and Danny has good shot stopping ability, and good size to control his area. He will give players around him confidence to do their job. Daniel is also very composed on the ball as simple solutions in possession are important to the overall team management. We look forward to working with him.”
Gagliardi spent five years with FIU, earning 33 appearances with 30 starts in net. He carried an overall collegiate record of 20-5-4 with the Panthers which led to being selected in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft. Choosing to sign with Fort Lauderdale prior to the 2020 campaign, Gagliardi made his first professional appearance with the club, starting the final match of the season.
“It’s a great honor to get this opportunity to play for FC Tulsa,” said Gagliardi. “I’m really excited to do everything that I can to help the team succeed. I just can’t wait to get started.”
The 23-year-old keeper grew up in Plantation, Fla. and developed with Plantation SC and Kendall SC. While in college he played in USL League Two for IMG Academy Bradenton, Montverde Academy and Des Moines Menace.
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC announced on Monday it had re-signed Dani Rovira, bringing the 24-year-old defender back for a third season with the club in 2021. The deal is for one year with a club option for 2022, pending league and federation approval.
Rovira began his pro career with the Hounds after signing as a trialist in the spring of 2019 out of the University of Vermont. In his tenure with the club, he has been utilized as both a defender and midfielder, roles he will take on again during the upcoming season.
“Dani has continued to develop as a player in his two years with the club,” said Hounds Head Coach Bob Lilley. “His quickness, technical ability, and versatility have enabled him to help the team in multiple positions, and we look forward to having him with our group in 2021.”
Originally from Bogotá, Colombia, Rovira made his club debut in 2019 as he started in a 3-0 win against the Dayton Dutch Lions in the Second Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. He would go on to make eight Championship appearances in his rookie season, four of them starts.
Rovira's role expanded in his second year, as he made 10 appearances and four starts out of 16 matches in the 2020 season. He also recorded his first assist when he set up Steevan Dos Santos for the opening goal of a 2-0 win at Loudoun United FC on August 19.