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Energy FC Acquires Kurimoto, Daniels from Colorado Springs

By USLChampionship.com Staff, 01/26/21, 11:00AM EST

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Switchbacks receive international roster spot for 2021 season, transfer fee in deal


OKC Energy FC acquired midfielder Hiroki Kurimoto (left) and winger Aidan Daniels on Tuesday in a deal which will send an international roster spot for 2021 and a transfer fee to Colorado Springs.

OKLAHOMA CITY – OKC Energy FC announced on Tuesday it had acquired midfielder Hiroki Kurimoto and winger Aidan Daniels from Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC in exchange for an international roster spot and an undisclosed transfer fee, pending league and federation approval.

“Hiroki is a guy that we tried to get last year, but we got beat to the punch by Colorado Springs,” said Energy FC Head Coach John Pascarella. “I liked him when he was in Fresno, and our Assistant Coach, Leigh Veidman, knows him and the strengths in his game, having coached him in 2019.

“Hiroki also brings a big locker room presence. Although his second language is English, he has such a commanding presence that people tend to follow his lead. He captained Colorado Springs last season, in his first year, and that takes some doing.

“With Aidan Daniels, we liked him at the start of last year and enjoyed watching him against us at our opener. He’s really good between the lines, has good pace, takes people on, runs in behind, his game is varied. Ideally, I can see him playing centrally and out wide, but I think his best spot is out wide where he can drift inside and play in those half spaces.”

Kurimoto played every minute of the 2020 USL Championship regular season (1,440), recording two assists and leading Colorado Springs with 750 passes and 87.9 percent passing accuracy rate. The 30-year-old finished second on the team in interceptions (27) and tackles (26).

Born in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan, Kurimoto had previously been a two-time league MVP while at Honda FC in the Japan Football League, where he made 172 appearances over six seasons, tallying 36 goals and 48 assists. During his time at Honda FC, Kurimoto helped the club to a JFL Championship in four of his six seasons as well as being selected to the league's Best Eleven in each of his last four seasons.

Daniels started all 16 regular-season matches for Switchbacks FC, scoring three goals and recording one assist with an 84.2 percent passing accuracy rate. Daniels led the team in chances created (27) and was third in minutes played (1,288).

A 22-year-old native of Markham, Canada and product of the Toronto FC Academy, Daniels signed as a homegrown player with Toronto FC in 2018 and made his Major League Soccer debut a week later against Houston Dynamo FC. Daniels also appeared in the USL Championship for Toronto FC II and Ottawa Fury FC and has earned Canadian national team caps at the U-17, U-20 and U-23 levels.

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