ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – New Mexico United announced on Wednesday it had signed defender Justin Schmidt for its inaugural 2019 USL Championship season, pending league and federation approval. The 25-year-old grew up and spent his formative years in Albuquerque and is looking forward to playing in what he considers his hometown.
“I couldn't be more excited to sign with New Mexico United,” said Schmidt. “It's the inaugural season, I'm back in my hometown, and I'm once again a part of the community that shaped me into the player I am today. It's a privilege and I'm ready to do everything I can to help carry out the vision that Peter, Troy, and the entire organization have set out.”
Schmidt is the third New Mexican player to sign with the team, joining forward Devon Sandoval and fellow defender Josh Suggs, and is the seventh signing overall ahead of the club’s inaugural season. Last season, Schmidt made 21 appearances for Sacramento Republic FC and helped the club post the best defensive record in the USL Championship’s Western Conference with 32 goals allowed over 34 games in the regular season.
“Each of our signings in our inaugural season are special, but it always adds a little something extra when we can bring one of Albuquerque's own back home,” said United Head Coach Troy Lesesne. “I'm incredibly excited to have Justin officially signed with our club. He is a strong, athletic defender with a high level of technical ability and his competitive mentality will be a driving force in establishing our back line in 2019.”
WOODBERRY HEADS TO AUSTIN: Austin Bold FC announced the signing of defender and Texas native London Woodberry for the 2019 season, pending league and federation approval. Woodberry arrives in Austin with four seasons of experience in Major League Soccer and two in the USL Championship.
“London’s MLS and USL experience will help our team to be successful and we are happy to bring another Texas-born player back to play here with us in Austin,” said Bold FC Head Coach Marcelo Serrano. “He is a skillful defender and Austin Bold FC will provide him with an excellent opportunity to showcase his skills and hopefully get back to MLS where he belongs.”
The 27-year-old appeared in 19 matches for Nashville SC during the 2018 USL Championship season, helping the club advance to the Round of 16 in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and reach the 2018 USL Cup Playoffs. Prior to playing in Nashville, the center back spent three seasons with the New England Revolution, netting one goal in 46 matches and helping the club reach the final of the 2016 U.S. Open Cup.
The McKinney, Texas native played for the FC Dallas U-18 Development Academy during his youth career and signed a Homegrown contract with the senior team in 2013. Woodberry appeared in eight matches with Dallas during the 2013-14 seasons before moving to the USL Championship’s Arizona United SC in 2014. He appeared in 24 matches and scored three goals with Arizona.
“I am very excited to be joining ABFC in 2019,” said Woodberry. “I’m grateful to have another chance to play in my home state and more importantly a chance to create a winning mentality in a new club.”
REPUBLIC FC RE-SIGNS PARTAIN: Sacramento Republic FC announced it had signed midfielder Hayden Partain for the 2019 season with a club option for 2020, pending league and federation approval.
“Hayden showed his versatility and team-first mentality while playing in several positions last season, and our team was better for having him on the field,” said Republic FC General Manager Todd Dunivant. “He will provide additional grit and strength to our midfield and we look forward to having him back next season.”
Partain enters his third season with Republic FC after joining the club in August 2017 from USL League Two side Des Moines Menace. The 24-year-old midfielder made 18 appearances for Sacramento last season, 16 as starts, and scored two goals for the club.
A native of Frisco, Texas, Partain became a key cog in Republic FC’s midfield last year as the team fought to clinch a home playoffs berth late in the season. The club lost just twice during Partain’s 16 starts, recording a 12-2-2 (W-L-D) record over that span.