Orlando City B has some new players -- seven of them, in fact. Today the club announced the additions of forwards Pierre da Silva, Dembakwi "Boxi" Yomba, Michael Cox, William Eyang, midfielders Jonathan Mendoza, Marius Obekop and defender Craig Nitti.
"We're obviously really excited with all seven additions," said OCB head coach Anthony Pulis via the club's website."There's been a lot of hard work behind the scenes to recruit and sign these young players who all have tremendous upside. We can't wait to start preseason and begin preparing for the 2016 season."
Yomba is a 19-year-old attacking midfielder/forward, who has appeared in the UEFA Youth League with Atletico Madrid's U-19 team. Yomba, a dual citizen of both the United States and Sierra Leone, has international experience with the U.S. national youth teams, including U-17, U-18 and U-20. He joined the Atletico Madrid program in 2014 and has been in and out of the U.S. youth national teams over the last few years. At just 19, Yomba has a lot of upside and could potentially grow into a spot on Orlando City's senior team in a year or two.
Looks like he reported to Orlando City yesterday.
First day at the New office done ⚽️— Boxi (@Boxi07) January 12, 2016
Cox, 23, is a 6-foot-2 forward from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I couldn't find any 2015 information about Cox but he played in 11 matches with Kuopion Palloseura in Finland in 2014, scoring two goals in 448 minutes of playing time. He also played one game with Kuopio Futis-98 that year, but did not score. Prior to that, he spent three seasons with the NASL's FC Edmonton, scoring nine goals in 52 matches, starting 33 of them.
Mendoza, 25, is a name familiar to longtime Orlando City fans, rejoining the organization after leading the Rochester Rhinos to the 2015 USL Regular Season and Postseason Championships. The Colombian played three seasons with the Lions from 2011-2013, including stints with both the U-23 and USL sides. Johnny was the second player in club history to earn promotion from the U-23 side to the first team in 2013 after captaining the Premier Development League (PDL) team in 2011 and 2012. He made more than 60 USL appearances in three seasons.
Da Silva, 17, is also familiar to those who have followed the Lions. He has been promoted from City's U-18 U.S. Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) program. He originally joined the Club from the Residency Program at IMG in Bradenton, FL., representing the U.S. Men's National Team (USMNT) at the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup and the 2015 U-17 CONCACAF Championship.
Eyang, 21, is a Cameroonian who joins OCB from Swedish team Bodens BK. I couldn't dig a whole lot up on him, but the club's press release says he "provides pace and power to the Lions' front line." OK then. That all sounds good.
Obekop, 21, is another Cameroonian. He has appeared for both the New York Red Bulls and the New York Red Bulls II (USL) for the past three years, compiling 28 appearances and six goals. He played 18 games and scored five goals for Renaissance FC de Ngoumou in the Cameroonian top division. Obekop has also earned 32 caps for Cameroon's U-17 and U-20 teams, scoring 16 goals in international play.
Nitti, 23, spent the 2015 season with the Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 (USL), making 18 appearances and scoring one goal. The Whitecaps' 2015 MLS SuperDraft fourth-round selection (72nd overall) attended Loyola Marymount University (LMU), receiving All-West Coast Conference First-Team and All-Far West Region Second Team honors. The 6-foot-5 defender was also a member of the Portland Timbers U-23s in the summer of 2013.
In one fell swoop, Orlando City B has gone from concept to a pretty well-rounded team. When combined with the young guys who were on the first-team roster last season -- players such as Tommy Redding, Conor Donovan, Harrison Heath, and others -- it should give Pulis a competitive USL roster that can develop players for the senior team.