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Thiesson Earns Selected as MNUFC's Newcomer of the Year

Minnesota United FC Outside Back Jerome Thiesson above gives his speech accepting the Dark Clouds Newcomer of the Year Award. The Dark Clouds are one of Minnesota United's most recognized supporter groups and have held the End of the Year Awards for the last fourteen years. Thiesson joined Minnesota right as the season started for its inaugural MLS season and developed into a fan-favorite and most reliable player starting in all 33 games eligible and led the club and in minutes played with 2955 minutes. He also had a memorable "Loon Celebration" after scoring his first MLS goal, capped off another Golaso in the last game of the year and was part of a series called "Jerry's Thoughts."  Soccer America recognized Thiesson as the 5th best right back in MLS for the 2017 Season.  It was a big year off the field for Jerome and his wife Ivana as well by welcoming their first child Jago in July. Congrats Jerome on this recognition and looking forward to seeing you in 2018! Follow Jerome on Twitter at @J_Thiesson.

 Thiesson Loon

 James Musa Named Swope Park Rangers MVP Award

Musa -_Drogba_640x508

Stone Sports Management congratulates James Musa for capping off a special 2017 season with the Swope Park Rangers MVP Award.  As a team leader, Musa, led the Ranger’s to a 4th place finish in the USL’s Western Conference regular season and embarks on its attempt to better its 2nd place Playoff finish last year. Musa signed with Swope Park Rangers after two seasons with Saint Louis FC with the goal of developing throughout the year and integrating into the Sporting KC structure, which he accomplished when Sporting KC promoted him to its first team. Musa would make his MLS debut a day later against the Seattle Sounders starting and going the distance, leading all players with 68 successful passes.

Musa dominated the defensive central midfield position for Swope Park Rangers dictating play from his deep-lying position and defensively helped cover in front of the backline that was one of USL's best.  The defensive group kept 12 clean sheets in his 24 starts, including 5 straight during the start of summer. Although signed as a hybrid between defensive midfield and a central defneder, Musa would earn USL's Team of the Week (2) at central defense before playing all other minutes in midfield. Remarkbly since Musa missed several matches due to International Call-Ups and playing with Sporting KC, Musa ended the USL season top ten in passes (1639). In his 24 starts, Musa played in every minute showing his reliability and is expected to feature for them in the 2017 USL Playoffs. James made  once during the year. His USL Season Stats:

Musa 2017_stats

 

Musa also returned to the International Stage, as New Zealand Head Coach Anthony Hudson called up Musa to play for his National team for the first time since 2015. Musa featured in the all-important Oceania World Cup Qualifiers against the Solomon Islands helping them advance with a win and tie.

Congratulations again to James Musa on this award and all the best in the MLS and USL Playoffs! 

 

Kevin Kratz's Free Kick Goal Wins AT&T Goal of the Week

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Stone Sports Management congratulates Atlanta United FC Midfielder Kevin Kratz for winning the AT&T Goal of the Week (28) for his clinicial Free Kick goal against the New England Revolution. As Tata Martino's first-choice free kick taker, Kratz stepped up and buried his free kick opportunity, approximately 10 yards outside the box, up and over the wall, beating Revolution Goalkeeper Cody Cropper with pace and accuracy. It was Atlanta United's 5th goal of the evening and would go on to win 7-0. MLS fans around the continent chose Kratz's goal (which can be seen below at 1:13 and slow-motion viewing HERE) with 47 percent of the vote. 

Kratz's free kick capabilities came as no surprise to his coaches and teammates. With Kratz scoring in the US Open Cup earlier in the season, his first MLS goal will be memorable after showcasing his talents in front of Atlanta's record-breaking attendance and new Mercedes-Benz stadium's first Free Kick Goal. Check out an Atlanta United Fan's video behind the goal as well as his first half of the season's highlights. Congrats again to Kevin and wishes him well well for the remaining league matches and to clinch a playoff berth!

 



Team of the Week (23): Defender Tyler Polak

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Stone Sports Management congratulates Cincinnati FC Defender Tyler Polak for his USL Team of the Week (23) bench selection. Tyler helped Cincinnati to a 3-1 win over Ottawa Fury FC. Polak started off hot assisting on Dani Konig's opening goal off a cross in the 34th minute. Tyler returned to the starting line-up after suffering a foot injury from a poor tackle from behind and delivered  team-high 8 crosses and recorded an 84 percent passing accuracy on the night. Although not credited for an assist, his free-kick service led to FC Cincinnati's third goal.  Check out highlights below.   

Sporting KC Promotes New Zealand International James Musa to First Team

Musa SKC_Signing

Stone Sports Management LLC (Columbus, Ohio) - August 11, 2017

Stone Sports Management LLC ("SSM") announces New Zealand International James Musa's signing to Major League Soccer and Sporting KC for the remainder of the 2017 MLS Season. The 25-year-old British-born becomes the fourth player to join Sporting KC from its affiliate after signing with Swope Park Rangers during the off-season where he started 18 mathces and helped them to its current 3rd place in the USL Western Conference standings.

"It was one of my goals to progress to the first team when I signed for Swope Park Rangers," Musa said. "I have done that and am very happy.  I want to thank Peter Vermes, Mike Jacobs and the entire organization for giving me this opportunity to represent Kansas City and for Sporting KC. I cannot wait to get started and play in front of this amazing fan base."

After making his Swope Park Rangers debut at central defense in Week 2 (earning Team of the Week), Musa played as the club's defensive holding midielder and part of a defense that kept 9 clean sheets in his 18 starts, including 5 straight during the start of summer. He ranked 3rd in USL for total passes (1,219) and 2nd Passes per 90 minutes (67.7) and had a standout passing performance against Phoenix Rising completing 103 out of 108 passes (95.3% Accuracy).     

Sporting KC invited James Musa to its 2017 pre-season but suffered a small injury. Head Coach Peter Vermes and his staff kept a close eye on Musa during his Swope Park Rangers performances and called Musa into first team training these past weeks, ultimately deciding on offering him a contract after the summer transfer window closed.

"When we brought James in for the Swope Park Rangers, we brought him here for two purposes," said Vermes. "One was as a central defender and the other was a defensive midfielder.  We wanted to see if he would adapt to our model of play, and I think he has progressed tremendously through the course of the year with the Rangers.  We think this is a testament to the system that we have put in place where players can sign and play for the Rangers while continuing to develop toward a first-team contract. James is a very good decision-maker and reads the game well.  He brings a lot of really good qualities to our team, and we look forward to integrating him into the squad."

"I am thrilled for James for accomplishing one of his goals to sign with MLS, and he is deserving after his strong, consistent player for Swope Park Rangers," says SSM's President and USSF Licensed Intermediary Justin B. Stone. "There were numerous domestic and international clubs who made offers for James at the end of the 2016 season, and we believed that signing with Swope Park Rangers and in Sporting KC's system gave him the best chance to develop, so it is fitting to see that plan realized. There is more to this plan, and this is one step for more accomplishments but also a time for reflection and congratulations to James. I also want to publicly thank Peter Vermes and his staff for their confidence in James during the club's MLS playoff push and US Open Cup Championship as well as Mike Jacobs, Brian Bliss and Swope Park Rangers' Head Coach Nemanja Popovic and his staff for their work behind the scenes and on the pitch."

Musa is elibigle for this weekend's Western Conference match up against 2016 MLS Cup Champions Seattle Sounders at Century Link Field.  His promotion and recent performances has him in the running to be called into New Zealand's upcoming World Cup Qualifiers against the Solmon Islands.  Click HERE for Sporting KC's remaining schedule and congrats once again to James!

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About Stone Sports Management, LLC 

From developmental to Designated Players, Stone Sports Management, LLC is a Columbus, Ohio based boutique sports agency representing football/soccer players domestically and internationally. Led by President and USSF Licensed Intermediary Justin B. Stone, SSM has established itself as a leading North American agency since its 2008 inception by taking a cooperative approach to athlete representation, which provides increased opportunities for its clients. After gaining trust from clients representing over 75 nationalities, Mr. Stone has negotiated more than 145 contracts for his clients based in Belgium, Canada, China, Cyprus, Egypt, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand and the United States, including more than 20 International clients to MLS/NASL/USL.

Follow Stone Sports Management on Twitter @StoneSportsMgmt

 

NASL Team of the Week (Fall 1): GK Caleb Patterson-Sewell

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Stone Sports Management congratulates Jacksonville Armada goalkeeper Caleb Patterson-Sewell on his NASL Team of the Week (Fall Week 1) selection and his third recognition in 2017, after his Spring Season Week 4 and Week 9 honors. Caleb faced the most shots so far this year and was up to the task making a season-high 7 saves (including several "acrobatic saves") in a 1-1 draw and lowered his Goals Against Average to 0.83 which is just .01 off the lead.

Final GAA_Stat_Page

Not only was it the Armada’s first game in the fall season, but the debut of the Armada’s new ownership.  Florida native Robert Palmer of RP Funding and Homevalue.com purchased the Armada from the NASL and has already made a mark on the teams marketing. Caleb’s performance, which can be seen below, were seen on 986 TV spots resulting in 10.2 million TV impressions, which was three times as many viewers compared to the last time they played the Deltas and greater than MLS viewing in the same market. 


Under new ownership and dawning newly sponsored jerseys, Caleb rose to the occasion and built on his Spring Season success, leading NASL starting goalkeepers in passes completed (389) and long pass percentage (51.8%) while having the third best Save to Shot ratio (72.7%). The 6' 3" goalkeeper also logged 6 clean sheets and led the league in punches (9)

SSM wishes Caleb and the Armada well for the rest of the NASL Fall Season. Check out Caleb’s 2017 NASL Spring Season highlights below and make sure to follow Caleb on Twitter HERE.

Mason Trafford, Miami FC Win 2017 NASL Spring Championship

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Stone Sports Management LLC (Columbus, Ohio) - July 18, 2017

Stone Sports Management LLC congratulates Mason Trafford and Miami FC for clinching the 2017 NASL Spring Season Championship after the team’s dominant performance in its 7-0 win against the 2nd place San Francisco Deltas in front of its home crowd at Riccardo Silva Stadium. The Spring Season Championship meant a great deal to the Miami squad who finished last during the 2016 Spring Season in its expansion season. With a full pre-season with its core players in place, Miami FC led the NASL in Offense (33 Goals) and Defense (11 Goals Against) which established a 10 point lead over the Deltas heading into the Fall Season. 

"I could not be more happier for Mason to lift the NASL Spring season championship after accomplishing the fall title with Ottawa in 2015," reflected SSM's President and USSF Licensed Intermediary Justin B. Stone. "Mason has been Head Coach Nesta's 1st choice in Miami FC's central defense pairing since last year and can tell it means a lot to Mason and the club to lead the league in cleansheets and goals against. I know they only see the Spring title as one goal for the season and look forward to seeing how they can progress in US Open Cup play and continue their form within NASL."

A big reason for Miami’s spring success is Mason Trafford's play. The veteran Central Defender defender is among the league leaders in passes (960) and passing accuracy (92.0%) while helping the team post a league leading 7 cleansheets out of 16 games played in league play.  After leading the team in minutes in 2016, Trafford continued to be one of the minutes leaders, as he started 14 of the 16 total games and logged 1269 minutes. Mason's play earned him Team of the Week Honors three times in Week 6, Week 11 and Week 13.  In addition to being one of the best left sided Central Defenders in NASL, Trafford stood out against MLS competition in Miami FC's US Open Cup wins against Orlando City and Atlanta United.  The team's Round of 8 matchup against FC Cincinnati was postponed to August 2nd. 

"I am honored to be part of this team and extremely proud of our achievements in the NASL and US Open Cup," reflected Mason Trafford. "Miami FC as an organziation and the players have grown together since our first year, and our performances to date and this championsihp are great rewards for these efforts." 

Even though Miami FC secured a place in the NASL's Playoffs, the club is focused on the #1 seed and also winning the NASL Fall championship.  They will take a mid-season break before returning to league play for the Fall season opener on July 29th against the New York Cosmos. 

SSM wishes Mason and Miami the best of luck during the Fall season. View Championship clinching highlights against San Francisco HERE. Follow Mason Trafford on Twitter HERE.

 

 

 SportsCenter Top 10 Plays: #3 Roland Alberg's Golaso From Distance

Alberg Top_10

Roland Alberg made an immediate impact coming on as a substatitue with the Philadelphia Union leading 2-0 against the New England Revolution at Talen Energy Stadium.  On his first touch, Alberg sized up the Revs GK Cody Cropper and hit a Golaso volley in the top corner for his 3rd Goal of the season. ESPN's SportsCenter took notice and made it the #3 play on its flagship program.  Watch the goal below (at 1:52 mark) as well as Roland Alberg's Philadelphia Union career goals and stay tuned for from Roland as the MLS season continues!

 

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