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NASL's Jacksonville Armada Signs La Liga Veteran and Ex-Swiss Super League Golden Boot Striker - Guinean Alhassane Keita

 Keita -_Montage

Washington, D.C. (Stone Sports Management, LLC) – January 7, 2015

Stone Sports Management, LLC (“SSM”) and Gold Kick CH (“Gold Kick”) together are pleased to announce that 2015 North American Soccer League (“NASL”) Expansion Franchise Jacksonville Armada has signed former UEFA and Asian Champions League Striker Alhassane Keita.  Coming to North America puts Keita in rare company as he will begin his Armada career playing on a fourth continent, having previously been his club’s leading goal scorer on each of the previous three (Africa, Europe and the Middle East).  

“This is a tremendous signing for Jacksonville Armada and the NASL with the club securing a quality goal scorer who is still in his prime and should be one of the fastest players in the league,” says SSM's President and Players' Agent Justin B. Stone. “Every club desires a proven Striker, and Alhassane Keita certainly fills that role for the Armada.  He has had success scoring goals throughout his career in Africa, Spain, Switzerland and the Middle East.  I am confident that he will continue that success in Jacksonville and applaud the Armada's commitment to make this signing happen.”

“We are very pleased to welcome a pedigree like Keita’s,” said Armada FC General Manager Dario Sala. “He has been successful against top competition overseas, and I look forward to seeing what dynamic he can bring to our club.”

The 31-year old former Guinean International joins the Armada after spending the last 18 months back in the Swiss Super League with St. Gallen where he posted 7 Goals in 29 appearances in the UEFA Europa League, Swiss Super League and the Swiss Cup during the 2013/2014 season between, accumulating a strike rate of 1 goal every 2.1 games (by total minutes played).  He previously played in Switzerland with FC Zurich from 2001 through 2006 and would go on to play over 70 games in Spain’s La Liga and Segunda Division as well as three seasons in the Middle East based in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Keita recently terminated the remaining six months left on his original two-year contract with St. Gallen to come to the Armada.

“I am really looking forward to starting something special in Jacksonville, and the Armada’s project really excited me after I visited the club in November,” remarked Keita.  “Head Coach Jose Luis Villarreal’s system is ideal for my playing style, and he and General Manager Dario Sala really welcomed me, so I cannot wait to join my teammates for pre-season.”

Keita currently remains in Spain awaiting his P-1 Visa.  He will then join the Armada’s pre-season in Jacksonville along with his wife and three children one of whom is already an American citizen having been born in the United States.

Read more: Signing: Jacksonville Armada Makes Splash w/Striker Alhassane Keita


Chicago Fire Sign Brazilian Defender Adailton Jose dos Santos Filho

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Washington, D.C. (Stone Sports Management, LLC) – December 30, 2014

Today, Stone Sports Management, LLC (“SSM”) is excited to announce former Brazilian Youth International and 2003 U-20 World Cup Winner Adailton Jose Dos Santos Filho ("Adailton") has signed with Major League Soccer and the Chicago Fire for the 2015 Season.  Adailton most recently played with Esporte Clube Bahia in his home city Salvador, Brazil featuring in four matches and yesterday terminated his contract allowing him to sign with the Fire on a free transfer.  The 31 year-old central defender returned to Brazil in Summer 2014 after spending the previous five years in Switzerland with Swiss Super League side Sion FC (with two loan stints in China with Chinese Super League Henan Jianye and also with FC Chiasso in Switzerland) where he played along side 2013 MLS Defender of the Year Jose Goncalves. 

"It is with great satisfaction that I will continue my career with the Chicago Fire and play in Major League Soccer," remarked Adailton.  "I have been watching MLS closely over the past several seasons and ever since 2004 while in France, I made it a goal of mine to play in the United States. I had other opportunities to join MLS clubs in the past but the timing was not right until this challenge with the Fire.  I look forward to working with my new teammates and Coach Frank Yallop and his staff to take on the challenge of returning the Fire to the Playoffs and giving the Fire Supporters the trophies they deserve."

Adailton comes to Chicago with a versatile playing background having played in Brazil, France, Switzerland and China. He is fluent in Portuguese, English, French, Spanish and Italian. He boasts leadership qualities having first Captained the Brazilian U20 World Cup team helping them win the 2003 World Cup in Dubai. Brazilian giants Santos FC, Sion FC and FC Chiasso also elected Adailton Captain.  French Ligue 1 side Stade Rennais signed Adailton for three years after his impressive U20 World Cup and after he broke through as a first team regular at his local side Vitoria SC.  He then returned to Brazil with Santos FC signing for three years playing alongside Brazilian Superstar Neymar whom he shares a passion and friendship giving back to the Brazilian community through Socal Projects and Charity.  

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Adailton joins a Fire squad that finished eighth in the Eastern Conference and out of the MLS Playoffs. He is expected to start in central defense next to Fire Captain Jeff Larentowicz and 2014 Team Defensive MVP Lovel Palmer, as the club has made several off-season international signings including two Designated Player Strikers David Accam and Kennedy Igbonanike as well as Defender Joevin Jones

"I am very pleased to have assisted in Adailton's transfer to the Chicago Fire and Major League Soccer," says SSM's President and Players' Agent Justin B. Stone. "I have known Adailton for several years and is an outstanding professional and person. He welcomed me to his home this summer during the World Cup and to meet his family, so it is with great pleasure to welcome him to the United States along with his wife and newborn son. I want to thank the Chicago Fire, Head Coach Frank Yallop and Technical Director Brian Bliss for their hard work bringing Adailton to the club. I am confident that he will transition well to MLS and that the 2015 season will be successful for Adailton individually and the Fire collectively." 

Read more: Breaking: Chicago Fire Sign Brazilian Defender Adailton


Montreal Impact Captain Patrice Bernier Returns For 2015 Season


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Washington, D.C. (Stone Sports Management, LLC) – December 11, 2014


Stone Sports Management announces 2014 Montreal Impact Captain Patrice Bernier’s new contract with Major League Soccer and the Montreal Impact.  The contract provides Bernier to remain with his hometown club through the end of the 2016 season, as he enters his fourth season in the MLS era. Click HERE to watch the Impact's Press Conference announcing Bernier's signing. 


The 35 year-old Montreal native captained the Impact during the 2014 season, his third season in MLS since re-joining the Impact from Danish club Lyngby BK in 2011.  Bernier started his career with the Montreal Impact during the club’s NASL days after spending two seasons (1998 and 1999) at Syracuse University in New York where he earned Big East First Team Honors.  


"I am very happy to be back with the Impact," Bernier said. "I would like to thank the organization for allowing me to continue with this project. I feel that there is a solid visiion and some important additions in order to revive the team for the upcoming season.  The objective will be to start the season string, as early as th emonth of February with our  Champions League match [versus Pachuca]."

Read more: Montreal Impact Captain Patrice Bernier Returns For 2015 Season

Jose Goncavles, New England Revolution Advance to MLS Cup 

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Stone Sports Management would like to congratulate New England Revolution Captain Jose Goncavles and the Revolution for winning the 2014 Eastern Conference Championship and advancing to the MLS Cup for the first time since 2007.  The 2013 MLS Defender of the Year led the Revolution back line that whethered a Red Bull flurry in the late stages of the match where one additional away goal by the Red Bulls would have kept the Revs at home. The Red Bulls had taken the lead through Tim Cahill and scored the important second goal at 2-1 through Peguy Luyindula.  However, Charle Davies scored his second of the match late in the game to put the home side ahead on aggregate after winning a week earlier 2-1 at Red Bull Stadium.  

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(Jose Goncalves and Justin B. Stone Post-Game With Eastern Conference Trophy in Boston, MA)

Read more: Goncalves, Revs Win 2014 Eastern Conference; MLS Cup Next

Bouna Coundoul Leads 2015 AFCON Qualifying With 1 Goal Conceded, Advancing Senegal

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Stone Sports Management would like to congratulate Goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul and the Senegal National Team for advancing  to the 2015 African Cup of Nations Finals in Equitoreal Guinea.  Coundoul played every minute of the six group stage matches, conceding only one goal.  His five clean sheets and only one goal against was best in the competition, as Senegal looks to win Africa's premier tournament that kicks off January 17, 2015.  See the standings below as Senegal finished second to Tunisia. 

Read more: Coundoul is AFCON's Best GK in Qualifiers

NASL Names Tiago Calvano to 2014 Best XI

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Stone Sports Management would like to congratulate Brazilian defender Tiago Calvano for his selection to the 2014 NASL Best XI, as selected by each club's input.  Calvano helped Minnesota United FC to the 2014 NASL Woosman Trophy awarded to the club with most combined points over the Spring and Fall Championships.  The Loons also won the 2014 Spring Season Championship. Calvano was one of four Minnesota United FC players to be named to the Best XI. NASL also nominated him for the Golden Ball Award (League MVP).  


Calvano provided leadership and consistency in the back and immediately became a presence within the club on and off the field.  Many considered him Minnesota United FC's most important international signing.  Calvano signed with Minnesota United FC at the start of 2014 after playing the last few seasons with Sydney FC and Newcastle Jets in the Australian A-League.  The club welcomed him and his transition to North America was smooth and beneficial.  


Minnesota United FC fans will be pleased to know that Calvano will return to Minnesota for the 2015 season.  Check out Calvano’s 2014 Minnesota United Highlights below.


NASL's Iron Man: Kristian Nicht (BYB/Indy Eleven's Player of the Year)

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Kristian Nicht stood alone atop the NASL minutes played rankings having played every minute of every game (27 games, 2,430 minutes) during the 2014 NASL season.  Two other players (Ottawa Fury’s Mason Trafford and New York Cosmos Hunter Freeman) also were candidates entering the final two games of the season, but each did not complete the perfect season. 


For Nicht’s efforts this season, the Brickyard Battalion named him the 2014 Player of the Year Award and Community Award winner (see video at end of posting for full awards show).  Nicht broke a modern-day record for most clean sheet minutes with 597 (just under 10 games) and NASL named him to the Team of the Week (Fall Week 14) during the streak.  Indy Eleven secured wins in the last part of the season to eventual NASL Soccer Bowl Champions San Antonio Scorpions as well as NASL Combined Season winner Minnesota United FC in a 2-0 win, which marked the club's first home win.  Check out below the Indy Eleven fans storming the field in elation as the camera focuses on Nicht celebrating with his family.

Stone Sports Management would like to recognize these achievements, especially with Nicht playing through injuries and staying consistent throughout Indy Eleven’s expansion season.  Nicht will be diligently preparing for the 2015 season where he will return to Carroll Stadium to help improve the club’s standings and to further involve himself with the Indianapolis community.  


Ottawa Fury FC’s Supporters’ Player of the Year: Mason Trafford

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On November 6, 2014, Ottawa FC and its three supporter groups gathered to celebrate the club’s inaugural season.  It also consisted of recognizing the Fury players on and off the field.  The main award issued on this night was the Supporters’ Player of the Year Award which proudly went to Stone Sports Management client Mason Trafford.  Below is Trafford accepting the Award and discussing the Fury's expansion season.


Trafford was the Fury’s most consistent defender and started and played every minute of every game until the season finale prompting status as the club's "Iron Man". The Fury signed Mason late in the pre-season, Trafford signed an extension through 2015 Season.  Mason earned NASL Team of the Week on multiple occassions (the most out of any Fury FC player), including Week 8 (Spring), Week 1 (Fall), Week 10 (Fall) and Week 13 (Fall).  


Stone Sports Management would like to congratulate Mason on this recognition and wishes him all the best with the Ottawa Fury FC for the 2015 season.  Check out some video below from this past season. 

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