Senior internationals Oalex Anderson and Raheem Somersall are currently among nine players set to return to North Carolina FC for the 2024 season as the club returns to the USL Championship. | Photo courtesy Zach Taft / North Carolina FC
CARY, N.C. – North Carolina FC today announces the returning players signed for the 2024 USL Championship season. With the club’s transition to the USL Championship, all former contracts are voided. Currently nine players have signed new contracts, pending league and federation approval.
North Carolina is set to welcome back defenders Nelson Flores Blanco and Daniel Navarro, midfielders Mikey Maldonado, Rafa Menzingen, Louis Perez, Jaden Servania and Raheem Somersall, and forwards Oalex Anderson and Garrett McLaughlin.
All have signed two-year contracts through 2025 except Navarro, who has signed a one-year contract for next season, and Perez, who has signed for 2024 with a club option for 2025.
North Carolina FC is also amid contract negotiations with several U-18 players including goalkeeper Nicholas Holliday, defender Adrian Pelayo, midfielder Kyrone Lumsden and others, as well as goalkeeper Trevor Mulqueen.
“We’re thrilled to welcome back a solid core of talented players who understand our identity and values,” said NCFC Sporting Director and Head Coach John Bradford. “We believe these players will all be contributors at the Championship level and this is a great foundation on which to build a highly competitive roster. These players believed in themselves, each other and our coaches to win a title in 2023 and that experience will set the tone for our next chapter.”
North Carolina FC will return a strong core from its 2023 USL League One title winning side as it makes its return to the USL Championship, led by the trio of forwards Oalex Anderson and Garrett McLaughlin and attacking midfielder Rafa Menzingen, who provided a potent attack with a combined 39 goals and 20 assists in the past campaign. All three bring prior Championship experience, while midfielder Mikey Maldonado also figures to be a key piece after earning All-League One First Team honors with Anderson and Menzingen this past campaign.
The work now for John Bradford, who on Tuesday added Sporting Director to his titles, will be to ensure top young prospects Nicholas Holliday and Adrian Pelayo’s services are secured before potential transfers overseas, and filling out a back line that is currently the thinnest spot on the roster. NCFC should be an attractive proposition for free agents, and the club should be active to ensure it is competitive in the upcoming campaign.