Brazilian playmaker Bruno Lapa makes the move to Memphis 901 FC from Southern Harm rival giving his new club another important attacking weapon going into the 2023 season. | Photo courtesy Eric Glemser / Memphis 901 FC
Three years ago, Bruno Lapa announced himself to the USL Championship in spectacular fashion.
Making his professional debut for Birmingham Legion FC on national television against Southern Harm rival Memphis 901 FC, the Brazilian notched two goals and one assist, upstaging former United States Men’s National Team goalkeeper Tim Howard in the Memphis net.
As Lapa joins Memphis, officially announced on Wednesday, it’s hard not to think about that moment and others he delivered in Legion FC colors as he joins the other side of the rivalry ahead of the 2023 Championship season.
With 19 goals and 11 assists in 70 appearances across the regular season and playoffs, Lapa ranks third in combined goals and assists in Birmingham’s history, and is only one of two players to have notched double-digits in both categories for the club across the regular season and playoffs.
Yes, there were injuries that hampered him after his stellar first season, when he claimed Championship All-League First Team honors. It didn’t diminish the excitement you felt when he was on the field. His last goal in Birmingham’s colors this past postseason came close to delivering a memorable victory at Protective Stadium, only for Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC to bring that chapter to a close.
The creativity Lapa brings could now play a key role as Memphis looks to maintain its newly-earned position as a club that can contend for silverware.
Breakout seasons by Championship All-League First Team selection Phillip Goodrum, who scored 21 goals in the regular season for 901 FC and another as it won its first postseason contest in club history, and 2022 Championship MVP finalist Aaron Molloy, whose all-around game shone to the tune of eight goals, 10 assists, 258 recoveries and 50 interceptions, helped drive the club to a second-place finish last year.
Adding the 25-year-old Lapa to that mix – which is also set to return numerous other key pieces including Laurent Kissiedou, Rece Buckmaster and Graham Smith – will offer new Head Coach Stephen Glass a wealth of opportunity to continue the club’s momentum.
And you’d better believe the Brazilian will be looking to add another memorable performance when Memphis makes the trip to Birmingham’s Protective Stadium on June 7 for the renewal of one of the best rivalries in the Championship.
As Lapa gets acclimated to his new home, his reintroduction among the league’s elite playmakers awaits.