Lions first signings represent top caliber soccer universities 

 The Orlando City U23s coaching staff has been very active this off-season in their quest to build upon their Final Four appearance from a year ago. The U23s launch the 2013 campaign with their first seven signings of the season, representing reputable soccer universities such as Clemson University, Georgetown University and the University of Tampa. The list of signees includes Kyle Fisher, Cole Seiler, Troy Peterson, Nicolas Russo, Itode Fubara, Tyler Blackwood and Cody Uzcategui.

“The first seven signings are extremely talented guys who we hope will be a big part of our team for this upcoming season,” said U23 Head Coach Paul Shaw in an interview with “They represent top quality schools and could potentially make a big impact this year.”

Kyle Fisher, currently a freshman at Clemson University, played and started in every match (20) for the Tigers in his debut season. A graduate from Wren High School in Anderson, S.C., the defender led his team to four Region Championships during his time there. Fisher was also instrumental in his club team’s five state championships, and was named Anderson Independent Player of the Year in 2012.

A freshman at Georgetown University, Midfielder Cole Seiler was a four-year letter winner and two time captain at Christ Church Episcopal High School, which holds a national record for consecutive state championships with 11. Seiler is a two-time NSCAA All- American and was selected to the U.S. Soccer U17 Residency Program, earning eight caps in his time with the squad.

The signing of Midfielder Nicolas Russo provides a familiar face for the U23s. Entering his second season with the squad, Russo aims to use his past experience to contribute heavily for the club this season. Prior to his time with the U23s, Russo spent three years with the world famous Boca Juniors Youth Academy before transitioning back to Orlando in 2011. Upon arriving back to Orlando, Russo trained with Head Coach Adrian Heath and Orlando City SC, learning the intricacies of Heath’s complex system, while also making appearances for the U23 team.

Midfielder Troy Peterson started in all 18 matches as a sophomore for the College of Charleston. The midfielder averaged 89 minutes per game and logged two goals and one assist, during his second season with the Cougars. Prior to College of Charleston, Peterson played club soccer for the Seattle Sounders U17/18 team and was a member of the Washington Olympic Development Program team from 2006-2008.

In his junior year with East Tennessee State University, Itode Fubara started in all 19 matches and logged 1,734 minutes along with two goals and three assists. The Nigerian international was a crucial part of the Buccaneer defensive midfield and as a result received NSCAA All Region honors. In 2011, Fubara played and started in all 21 games for the second straight season and recorded five assists, tying the ETSU record for assists in a season. The midfielder missed just five minutes of action all season, logging 2,005 total minutes

Tyler Blackwood started in all 17 games for the University of Tampa during the 2012 season, leading the team in scoring with 11 goals. The lethal striker was also named Sunshine State Conference (SSC) Player of the Year, SSC Offensive Player of the Year, NSCAA First-Team All-South Region, Daktronics First-Team All-South Region and Daktronics Honorable Mention All-American, capping off an impressive sophomore season with the Spartans.

Local player Cody Uzcategui, was redshirted during his freshman year with the University of Memphis, but received the nod as the starting goalkeeper for the Tigers in his sophomore season. Prior to attending the University of Memphis, Uzcategui competed at the prestigious IMG Academy for a year following graduation from West Orange High School, and was also in the U.S. U17 Men’s National Team Pool in 2008-2009. 

The U23s begin their season on May 19 at the Seminole Soccer Complex in Sanford, Fla., against the IMG Bradenton Academics. This year’s U23 season ticket is in the form of an Orlando City limited edition t-shirt called the TPASS, and can be purchased for only $25 for pro season ticket holders.

Click here to purchase the TPASS!

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Teams GP Pts
Orlando City SC 28 62
Sacramento Republic FC 28 55
LA Galaxy II 28 51
Richmond Kickers 28 51
Charleston Battery 28 41