ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – On Wednesday, New Mexico United announced the signing of midfielder Sam Hamilton for the 2019 USL Championship season, pending league and federation approval.
Hamilton, who joins from the Colorado Rapids, spent the 2018 season on loan with Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC. The 23-year-old played 1,536 minutes in 18 starts for the Switchbacks and completed over 85 percent of his passes, while also creating 13 chances and registering one assist. Hamilton has made over 30 appearances in the USL Championship during his two-year professional career, having also spent time on loan with Phoenix Rising FC in 2017.
“I’m incredibly happy to add Sam to our club and expect him to play an important role in our inaugural season. He has the unique ability to be a strong defensive presence, while also possessing the technique and vision to play intelligent passes. He has spent time in both the MLS and USL, and that experience will be important for us in our first season,” said New Mexico Head Coach Troy Lesesne.
Hamilton made three appearances for the Rapids after the club selected him with the 15th overall pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft. The Denver native is New Mexico’s seventh signing and the first since the club unveiled its initial roster moves earlier this month.
“The players and staff have the opportunity to make an immediate impact in the community and compete for a championship. So, for those reasons, I couldn’t be more excited to sign for New Mexico United,” said Hamilton.
HOUNDS SIGN DEFENDER RYAN JAMES: Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC also added to its 2019 roster on Wednesday as the club announced the signing of defender Ryan James to a one-year deal with a team option for the 2020 season, pending league and federation approval.
James, 24, most recently played with Nashville SC during its 2018 campaign. The Mississauga, Ontario, Canada native started 11 of his 16 appearances with the club, totaling 30 clearances and 32 interceptions in 1,011 minutes. He also played more than 60 games (including playoffs) under Hounds Head Coach Bob Lilley while with the Rochester Rhinos from 2016-17.
During his two seasons with the Rhinos, James posted one goal and three assists in 60 regular season appearances. In 2017, he played a team-high 2,983 minutes over 34 games – including two postseason starts – as the team fell in the Eastern Conference Semifinals to eventual USL Cup Champion Louisville City FC.
“Ryan is a versatile player who is comfortable as an outside back or anywhere in the midfield,” Lilley said. “He reads the game well and has an exceptional engine. During my time in Rochester, he was a key piece in our lineup and we are looking forward to having him in Pittsburgh.”
LEGION ADD BARLOW TO TECHNICAL STAFF: While other teams were adding to their rosters on Wednesday, Birmingham Legion FC added to its technical staff as the club announced the hiring of Dan Barlow as Director of Sports Science and Performance.
Barlow joins Legion FC following a year as Strength and Conditioning Coach with the United States Men’s National Team. He also brings prior MLS experience, having helped Real Salt Lake win an MLS Cup, two conference championships, and reach the final of the U.S. Open Cup and Concacaf Champions League.
Barlow worked with Birmingham President and General Manager Jay Heaps and Head Coach Tom Soehn in 2017 as the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the MLS’ New England Revolution. He then spent time working at the Heiden Institute for Sports Science and Human Performance as High-Performance Manager before joining the U.S. national team. Barlow also spent the 2018 USL Championship season as Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Charlotte Independence.
“Adding Dan to our technical staff is another statement hire for our club,” said Heaps. “His experience and, more importantly, his success at the highest level of professional soccer in the U.S. will help our players achieve their maximum performance.”