Bethlehem Steel FC added Boluwatife Akinyode, Michael Daly and Gabe Gissie to their inaugural season roster, the club announced today. Per club and league policy, the terms of the deals were not disclosed.
Daly and Gissie join Bethlehem Steel FC after two years with Sacramento Republic FC. Members of the original Sacramento squad, Daly and Gissie helped lead the team to the 2014 USL title.
28-year-old defender Daly has played the most minutes in club history and is one of three players to have played more than 2,000 USL minutes in back-to-back seasons for Republic FC. In 2015, Daly appeared in 33 games in all competitions racking 2,284 minutes and was named USL best 11 Second Team.
"Michael will be a steadying presence for us in the back as we anticipate having a young team,” said Bethlehem Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke. “His experience as a winner in this league should be a great asset to us in 2016.”
Gissie, 19, appeared in 33 games for Republic FC as a forward during his two seasons with the club. On May 23, Gissie became the youngest player in Republic FC history to record a goal in a USL match with a match-winning goal against Oklahoma City Energy FC at 18 years, 209 days old.
"Gabe is a young attacking player that has demonstrated an excellent work ethic and desire to progress,” said Burke. “He has already been a pro for two years at a young age and played in some big games including a final."
Akinyode, 21, joins Bethlehem Steel FC from New York Red Bull II, where he helped the team reach the playoffs in 2015. Appearing in 21 matches and starting 10, the midfielder scored his first professional goal Sept. 5 against Louisville City FC.
"Akinyode was a player that we tracked through his time in college and the PDL and were able to see in USL this year,” said Burke. “We think he will be an immediate contributor to our squad and look forward to getting him down to Philadelphia to start training in a few months.”
Bethlehem Steel FC was officially announced on Oct. 27, 2015 and will serve as the Philadelphia Union affiliate in the United Soccer League. They will officially join USL for the 2016 season, alongside fellow expansion teams FC Cincinnati, Orlando City B, Rio Grande Valley FC Toros and Swope Park Rangers and will play their home games at Goodman Stadium on the campus of Lehigh University.
Fans interested in season tickets can call 1-844-STEELFC or visit www.bethlehemsteelfc.com to see full ticket prices and view a stadium map.
Born: June 4, 1987
Birthplace: Sonoma, Calif.
Hometown: Sonoma, Calif.
Nationality: United States
Born: November 23, 1996
Birthplace: Monrovia, Liberia
Hometown: Loganton, Pa.
Born: May 30, 1994
Birthplace: Lagos, Nigeria
Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y.