The Melbourne Lions (hey, Orlando City B needs a nickname, right?) bolstered their defense today by signing defender Zach Ellis-Hayden and goalkeeper Jake Fenlason. Ellis-Hayden's acquisition is dependent upon him receiving his ITC and Visa.
Ellis-Hayden, 23, is a 5-foot-8 native of Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. He's coming off a PDL championship with K-W United FC, a team based out of the Waterloo-Kitchener region of Ontario. K-W United defeated the New York Red Bulls U-23 team 4-3 in the final. The Cleveland State University product made 78 career appearances in college from 2010-13, earning first-team All-Horizon League honors in his senior season. He was All-Great Lakes Region and second-team All-Horizon in his junior year and finished second on the Vikings in scoring that season.
Fenlason, 23, played for the University of Akron from 2011-15, where he was a college teammate of Orlando City's first-round draft pick, Richie Laryea. The 6-foot San Diego native helped lead the Zips to the NCAA tournament semi-finals this past season. He posted a record of 18-3-3 with a career highs in saves (105) and shutouts (9).
He made 21 starts as a junior, earning first-team All-Mid-American Conference honors after leading the league in saves (73) and shutouts (7).
"The addition of nationally recognized college players like Zach and Jake is a big boost for the team as we continue building our roster for our 2016 season," said OCB Head Coach Anthony Pulis in a club press release. "Zach is a solid defender that can operate in a number of positions in the back four. He's very athletic, hungry to learn and do well for us. Jake has shown a tremendous amount of talent and dominance in goal throughout his college career. We are really excited about both players and look forward to working and developing them with OCB."
This is the second time in a week's time that Orlando City B has added a defender and a goalkeeper. The team signed defender Andrew Ribeiro and keeper Mark Ridgers on Jan. 29. This move gives OCB five defenders and two goalkeepers, officially. Ellis-Hayden is joined on the back line by Ribeiro, Mikey Ambrose, Kyle Callan-McFadden, and Craig Nitti.
Of course, it is almost a certainty that a number of players will be loaned from the senior team to the USL side, including the likes of defenders Tyler Turner, Tommy Redding, and Conor Donovan, as well as Homegrown keeper Mason Stajduhar.