The Atlanta Silverbacks have been busy adding players to their 2013 roster this week, and that continued on Thursday when the team announced the signings of midfielders BRANDON MANZONELLI and MARK WITHERS, pending USSF approval.
The pair of midfielders joins the Silverbacks after successful preseason training stints. Manzonelli, 23, brings extensive international experience with him, having signed for Spanish giants Villarreal CF at the age of 16. The St. Louis native has also represented the U.S. at the international level, appearing in games for the U-18 and U-20 national teams. He was in the U.S. squad for the 2008 Milk Cup, and played against the likes of Belgium, Northern Ireland, and Wales.
While with Villarreal from 2006-2007, Manzonelli was a regular in the Villarreal B squad, which competes in the third tier of Spanish soccer. The 5-foot-8 midfielder then landed with Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution after training stints in England with Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers. After a season with the Revolution, Manzonelli’s ambitions took him back to Europe where he would go on trial in Italy, Spain, Germany, Denmark, Scotland and England. He is now back in his home country, and ready for a new chapter with the Silverbacks.
A native of Lake Mary, Florida, Withers comes to the Silverbacks from the Dallas Sidekicks of the Professional Arena Soccer League. The 5-foot-10 midfielder signed with the Sidekicks in January after playing with the Silverbacks Reserves in 2012. With the Reserves, Withers played alongside current Silverbacks forward Jahbari Willis and former Silverbacks defender Chris Klute, who is now with the Colorado Rapids of MLS.
The 20-year-old midfielder has also gone on training stints with top-tier clubs in Germany, Mexico, and Ecuador. Both he and Manzonelli arrived in Atlanta for the early part of Silverbacks preseason training camp, and have already appeared in a few of the club’s preseason games this month.
“We have been very fortunate to have several extremely talented players in camp with us this preseason,” said Silverbacks General Manager ANDY SMITH. “Our goal with bringing this talent in was to evaluate which players would compliment what we already have on our roster, and guys like Brandon and Mark fit that mold perfectly.”
Withers will wear #17 for the Silverbacks, while Manzonelli will wear #23. The addition of the two players brings the Silverbacks official roster count to 21 players. The club will kick off its 2013 NASL season on April 13 against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers at 7:30 p.m. at Atlanta Silverbacks Park. Single-game and season tickets are on sale through the Silverbacks ticket office at 404-969-4900.
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