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Armada Captain Alhassane Keita Earns Man of the Match in NASL Record Breaking Match

Keita -_Jax_vs._FCE

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

Jacksonville Armada Striker Alhassane Keita made history in several ways on a record-breaking night for the 2015 NASL expansion franchise.  First, Keita became the Armada's first ever Captain earning the armband from Co-Head Coaches Guillermo Hoyos and Jose Villarreal. Second, Keita earned the Farah's Man of the Match making him the first ever to earn this Award.  Third, he became the first Armada player (along with Jemal Johnson) to be named to the NASL Team of the Week (Spring 1).  What makes these accolades even more special is that his strong performance was in front of an NASL modern-day record 16,164 fans at EverBank Field.

"What can I say? I am very excited," forward Alhassane Keita said. "This was a historic game tonight.  We showed to everybody that we are ready.  It is not just today, we want to be like this throughout the season."

Keita was a thorn in FC Edmonton's side throughout the match and finally broke through in the 34th minute after stripping FCE central defender Mallan Roberts.  He then proceeded with a few touches, nutmegging Roberts and unleashing a shot that beat the outstretched hands of FC Edmonton's Goalkeeper Matt VanOekel.

"This is a great start for Alhassane's Armada career," remarked SSM's President and Players' Agent Justin B. Stone.  "Keita showed his abilities after breaking through against Major League Soccer's Philadelphia Union during pre-season where he probably should have had a hat-trick. There is a reason the NASL named him to Top 11 Players to Watch, and I expect him to continue to do well during the season."

Keita -_NASL__TotW2015_Spring1

 Congrats once again to Keita on his historic achievements! Check out Keita's goal by watching the video below:  

Adailton Scores His First Chicago Fire Goal and Earns Man of the Match

Adailton -_Pointing_to_Family

Washington, D.C. (Stone Sports Management, LLC) – March 30, 2015

Adailton's first match after receiving his wife and son from Brazil was a special one. Not only was this the first time he played in front of his son, but the 31 year-old Brazilian earned Man of the Match, after scoring the game winning goal from a Harrison Shipp corner-kick and leading the defense to its first clean sheet of the season.  Head Coach Frank Yallop praised the central defending pair of Adailton and Fire Captain Jeff Larentowicz after not allowing a shot on frame against the Philadelphia Union helping the side earn its first victory in 2015 with a 1-0 win.  

Adailton -_1st_Goal_Chicago_Game_Ball

Adailton’s goal, just the Fire’s second of the season, was extra special as he had his family watching from the Toyota Park stands for the first time.  “I’m so excited,” the 31-year-old said. “It’s so funny because my family arrived on Friday, my son, my wife and my mother-in-law, and before the game I said, ‘Today I will score for you,’ I said to my baby. And when I scored, it was such a nice moment I will never forget.”

Adailton has received praise for his performances so far this season, as he was brought in by Head Coach Frank Yallop and his staff to solidify the backline after a dismal 2014 performance. 

Adailton vs._Mbholi

(Above: Chicago Fire's Adailton Beats Philadelphia Union Goalkeeper Raise M'bohli To The Ball To Make It 1-0)

"I am so happy for Adailton to welcome his family to the United States by scoring a goal for them and to help the Chicago Fire earn its first clean sheet," praised SSM's President and Players' Agent Justin B. Stone.  "This is a sign that Adailton is adapting to Major League Soccer, and I expect him and the Fire defense to get stronger as the season progresses."

Check out Adailton's Post-Game Interview as well as Match Highlights below.  Congrats again to Adailton!


 James Musa Selected as Saint Louis FC's Inaugural Captain

Musa -_Captain_vs._Louisville

Washington, D.C. (Stone Sports Management, LLC) – March 29, 2015

Stone Sports Management LLC is pleased to recognize that 2015 USL Expansion Franchise Saint Louis FC has appointed New Zealand International James Musa as the club's Captain for the inaugural season.  Head Coach Dale Schilly selected Musa after the pre-season where it is expected Musa will lead the team from his left central defender position.  Musa first wore the Captain's armband in the club's opening match away at Louisville City. Musa was strong throughout the game despite the club conceding two goals and ended up falling 2-0 in front of 6,067 fans.  

"This is a tremendous honor for James," remarked SSM's President and Players' Agent Justin B. Stone.  "James immediately acclimated himself in St. Louis and provided confidence to the club's coaching staff and teammates that he could help lead them in their inaugural USL Pro season."

Saint Louis FC will travel away to meet Tulsa Roughnecks before opening their home fixtures the following weekend against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.  Click HERE to see Saint Louis FC's schedule and follow Musa's progression throughout the USL Pro season.


Portland Timbers Acquire Ghanaian International Winger Ishmael Yartey On Loan From FC Sion

Yartey -_Sion_Timbers

Washington, D.C. (Stone Sports Management, LLC) – March 26, 2015

Stone Sports Management, LLC ("SSM") is pleased to announce that Ghana International Ishmael Yartey has signed with Major League Soccer and the Portland Timbers on loan from Swiss Super League FC Sion. The Short-Term Loan is until June 30, 2015 with an undisclosed purchase option. The 25 year-old Accra native is expected to provide Timbers Head Coach Caleb Porter an additional left side attacking Winger option in his traditional 4-3-3 system.  Yartey's versatility will also provide the Timbers with a Striker or central Attacking Midfielder option. Yartey will arrive in Portland as soon as his P1-Visa is processed. 

"I am excited to join the Portland Timbers and to play in Major League Soccer," remarks Ishmael Yartey. I had already paid attention to MLS as have had many friends and ex-teammates play in the league. When the Timbers approached me with this opportunity, I consulted with them and each told me that the Timbers are one of the better organizations in MLS and that their fans are the best and most passionate. After doing more research on the club and city, and most importantly after speaking with Coach Porter about his system and philosophy, I had the desire to make this move to MLS."

The Timbers go on the road this weekend against their Cascadia rivals Vancouver Whitecaps after drawing their first three matches, including two 0-0 matches. Portland currently sits in 7th place in the Western Conference with 3 points. 

"I have already watched the first three matches and can see that Providence Park provides an inspiring atmosphere," reflected Yartey. I eagerly wait to join my teammates and begin working hard to get the chance to show my abilities in front of the Timbers Army and help the club gain points towards the goal of winning the Supporters Shield." 

Yartey's performances with the Ghana U-17 National Team, including the 2007 World Cup in South Korea where he played in all matches, scoring a goal against Colombia and helped Ghana to a 4th place finish, sparked interest from Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon and Benfica.  While in Lisbon with Sporting, Benfica upped its loan bid to Yartey’s local Ghanaian side Gamba All Blacks, and after one season, Benfica purchased Yartey outright and signed him to a 4-year contract, joining other talented wingers Benfica brought in from the 2007 U-20 World Cup including current Real Madrid and Portuguese International Fábio Coentrão, United States International Freddy Adu as well as Manchester United and Argentine International Angel Di Maria. With the above mentioned players as well as Seville’s Jose Antonio Reyes as an established winger, Benfical would loan Yartey within Portugal to SC Beira Mar (2009/2010) and CD Fatima (2010/2011) as well as to Swiss Super League club Servette (2011/2012).  

He had his most successful season at Servette scoring 9 Goals and providing 2 Assists in 34 matches between league and cup play. In response, Ghana called Yartey into the Black Stars for the first time in May 2012 to complete against Lesotho and Zambia in the 2014 World Cup Qualifiers. Ligue 1 side Sochaux noticed Yartey's strong performances with Servette, and on July 22, 2012 signed Yartey to his second four-year contract, after agreeing with Benfica on a 2.5 Million Euro transfer fee preventing other European suitors such as Lille, Marseille, AZ Alkmaar and Borussia Monchengladbach from signing him.

Yartey -_Sochaux_2

Read more: Loan: Timbers Acquire Ghanaian Winger Yartey


History: Omar Jarun Becomes First Palestine To Sign in India

Jarun -_Fury_Profile

Washington, D.C. (Stone Sports Management, LLC) – March 13, 2015

Today, Stone Sports Management, LLC ("SSM") announces that Palestine-American Omar Jarun has signed a short-term contract with I-League club Bharat FC. This is a historical signing as it is believed Jarun becomes the first Palestine to play professionally in India and only the second American to do so. It is also SSM's first client to have signed in India opening a new market for future collaboration. Jarun has traveled to India to finalize paperwork and looks to join the Pune based club in time for its next match against Royal Wahingdoh on March 21st 

"I am excited to start this incredible journey with Bharat FC," remarks Omar Jarun. "Bharat FC's staff and organization have been extremely professional throughout the signing process. This will be my third continent to play professionally and after having palyed in Asia with the Palestine National Team, I cannot wait to be apart of the incredible growth in Indian football."

The signing comes on the same day as Jarun and his former club, Ottawa Fury FC, agreed to mutually part ways. "I want to thank Ottawa Fury FC for having me part of the club's foundation.  My wife and I enjoyed living in Ottawa and being a part of the community.  I will continue to remain in touch with my teammates, the front office and the coaching staff and wish everyone well for the upcoming season and beyond." 

"This is a great opportunity for Omar and applaud his commitment to his profession by taking this opportunity with an open mind and to make his mark as the first Palestine to play in India," reflected SSM's President and Players' Agent Justin B. Stone.  "And to do so traveling half way across the world without his family is noble.  Omar is focused on helping Bharat FC with its remaining games, and I want to thank Ottawa Fury FC, especially Coach Marc Dos Santos for his assistance in helping make this transfer happen."

Read more: History: Omar Jarun Becomes First Palestine To Sign in India

 Signing:  VPS Adds Finnish International Striker Juho Mäkelä

Makela -_VPS_Press_Conference
(Photo: Courtesy of VPS at www.vepsu.fi)

Stone Sports Management, LLC (“SSM”) is pleased to announce that Finnish Striker Juho Mäkelä has signed for Veikausliiga club Vassan Palloseura ("VPS") for the 2015 Season. The two-time league scoring champion comes to Vaasa after playing for three clubs in 2014. Mäkelä started 2014 with Swiss Super League club St. Gallen before signing with IFK Mariehamn just before the Finnish transfer window deadline. He would later sign in summer 2014 with eventual second place finishers and Veikausliiga debutants SJK.  VPS was in need of a Striker after last season's club scoring leader Steven Morissey went down with a long-term knee injury during pre-season. Head Coach Olli Huttenen quickly showed interest and a deal was soon reached.  This will be Mäkelä's first season since 2012 to have a proper pre-season before starting league play after signing during the winter transfer period with Bundesliga 2 side Sandhausen SV in January 2013 and with St. Gallen in October 2013. 

"I am really happy for Juho because VPS is a great fit, and I expect that with a full month of preparation  to acclimate to his new teammates before the 2015 Veikausliiga season will yield positive results for Juho on the field," says SSM’s President and Players’ Agent Justin Stone. “This is a very important season for Juho and want to wish him well on and off the field as he starts his VPS career."  

Makela -_VPS_Signing


(Photo: Courtesy of VPS at www.vepsu.fi)


Finnish media had prematurely reported that Mäkelä signed last week. He played in his first match last weekend against HIFK in the Cup.

"I am really excited to move to Vaasa and happy to become a VPS player.  I cannot wait to get the Veikausliiga season started!" exclaimed a joyous Mäkelä.  

SSM would like to congratulate Juho and thank Sami Salonen for his assistance and cooperation in this signing.  Click HERE to see VPS upcoming League schedule and make sure to follow Juho on Twitter @juhomakela.

Signing: 2015 USL Expansion Franchise Louisville City FC Signs Striker Nate Polak

N. Polak_-_Louisville_Announcement


Stone Sports Management, LLC (“SSM”) is happy to announce that Nebraska native Nate Polak has signed with 2015 USL Expansion Franchise Louisville City FC for the 2015 season.  The 25 year-old Striker signed today as a Free Agent after impressing during pre-season and will add to first year head coach James O'Connor's attack in a 4-3-3 system.  Polak had previously spent the last three seasons with Minnesota United FC where he helped the club win the 2012 NASL Championship, 2014 NASL Spring Championship and the 2014 NASL Regular Season title. 

"Nate has been in camp with us since last month and he's been impressive during this time," Louisville City FC Head Coach James O'Connor said.  "With his goal-scoring ability and his past accomplishments, we are confident Nate will make an immediate impact with the squad."

After a standout career at Hastings College earning All-American Honors as well as winning the NAIA Championship, the New York Red Bulls selected Polak during the MLS Supplemental Draft. An off-field injury set him back and he was unable to participate in the pre-season and would ultimate sign with the Minnesota Stars FC. He scored his first professional goal against the Puerto Rico Islanders which helped the club secure a playoff birth and ultimately winning the title.  

"This is a great move for Nate to be a part of an inaugural seasion in Louisville and to continue his development under James O'Connor," remarked  SSM’s President and Players’ Agent Justin B. Stone. “Nate was behind some talented strikers in Minnesota on the depth chart, and I am confident that with a new slate in Louisville, he will be primed for his best professional season yet." 

SSM would like to congratulate Nate on his signing and wish him the best in his transition to Kentucky. Click HERE to see Louisville City FC's schedule and follow Nate on Twitter @PolakHWHL to follow his progress during the season.

[UPDATE] - See below a sample of Nate Polak's pre-season highlights:


About Stone Sports Management, LLC

From developmental to Designated Players, Stone Sports Management, LLC is a Washington, DC based boutique agency representing football/soccer players domestically and internationally.  Stone Sports Management takes a cooperative approach to athlete representation in order to provide the most opportunity for its clients.  Since its 2008 inception, Stone Sports Management has represented a versatile client portfolio having negotiated contracts for its clients based in Belgium, Canada, China, Cyprus, Egypt, Finland, Germany, India, Israel, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, and the United States.  Follow Stone Sports Management on Twitter @StoneSportsMgmt 


New Zealand International James Musa Signs w/Saint Louis FC

Musa -_FulhamMusa -_NZ_Kit

Washington, D.C. (Stone Sports Management, LLC) – February 25, 2015

Today, Stone Sports Management, LLC (“SSM”) in cooperation with The Pitch Management (“TPM”), is pleased to announce that current New Zealand Senior National Team member James Musa has signed with USL expansion franchise Saint Louis FC on a 2-year contract.  The 22 year-old ex-Fulham defender split 2014 between Southern Melbourne FC in the Victorian National Premier League and Team Wellington in New Zealand’s ASB Premiership, playing in 44 matches in total and helped the former club win the league title.

“I am excited to commit to Saint Louis FC and embark on a new challenge in the United States,” remarked James Musa.  “After speaking with Head Coach Dale Schilly and performing my research on Saint Louis FC as a club and city, I am confident that it is the right environment for me at this stage of my career.  I look forward to giving it my all for the club, fans and teammates and cannot wait to join the rest of the squad for pre-season training.”

Musa started his professional career in 2010/2011 signing with Wellington Phoenix in the Australian A-League as an injury replacement.  As a 17 year-old, he started three games before being released at the end of the season.  In Summer 2011, he featured in the U20 World Cup where his play caught the attention of Bradford City who offered a two-year contract, but unfortunate circumstances with the manager’s sacking prevented the deal from being finalized. Instead, Musa returned to New Zealand in search of regular playing time with Team Wellington and helped the club to the Grand Finals. 

After competing in the 2012 London Olympics where New Zealand played against Brazil, Belarus and Egypt, Musa’s play and background caught the attention of Fulham FC.  Musa, who holds duel United Kingdom citizenship having been born in England, convinced the Premiership side to offer him a one-year after impressing on trial.  He would play one season at Craven Cottage Road and also went on loan to Hereford for three months and featured in 15 games in the Conference National.  Fulham did not extend a first team contract so Musa returned to New Zealand to return to Team Wellington during the 2013/2014 season where the team once again made it to the Grand Finals and secured the club’s first Oceania Champions League birth.  After that season, he signed with Southern Melbourne FC which started the season on a thirteen game winning streak.


Musa -_NZ_Tackle 

(Photo Credit: Yuki Otsu; New Zealand vs. Japan July 11, 2012 at Kirin Cup, Tokyo Japan)


“I want to thank my coaches and the entire staff at Team Wellington and Southern Melbourne FC for helping me the past couple of seasons and prepare me to re-enter a professional environment with St. Louis FC,” said Musa. 


Anthony  Hudson, current New Zealand National Team Head Coach and an Ex-USL Pro Player and Head Coach, spoke with Musa and with the Saint Louis FC’s coaching staff before endorsing the move. 

Read more: Signing: Saint Louis FC Inks Kiwi International James Musa

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