SAN ANTONIO – Former Elon University men’s soccer standouts and recent graduates Sam McBride and Miguel Salazar have signed professional contracts with expansion San Anotnio FC of the United Soccer Leauge (USL) as announced by the club on Monday, Feb. 15.
Both players rejoin former Elon men’s soccer head coach Darren Powell, who was named San Antonio FC’s head coach in January. Powell was recently the director of Orlando City SC’s pro academy.
McBride was a four-year starter with the Phoenix mostly at one of the center back spots. A native of Greensboro, N.C., McBride played in 78 career games and helped the Phoenix to three NCAA Tournament appearances and four conference championships over his four seasons. He also helped lead a defensive unit to a Colonial Athletic Association-best 18 clean sheets over the past two seasons. As a senior, McBride earned a third team All-CAA selection as well as a spot on the league’s All-Tournament team.
“I’ve known Sam for a long time,” said Powell. “He’s a very good center back who is very good in the air. He is strong, honest, has great character and will add important depth to the center back position. It will be great to reconnect with a player from my Elon days as well.”
McBride also played every minute for the Phoenix during the 2015 season. He was named to the 2015 North Carolina Collegiate Sports Information Association’s (NCCSIA) All-State second team following his senior season.
“I’m extremely honored and excited to start my professional career with SAFC,” said McBride. “San Antonio is a great soccer city with a lot of potential for future success in the game. I can’t wait to get started with the coaching staff, but I am also looking forward to helping out in the local community and serving the people who have and will continue to support our team. I hope we can have a successful first season and start something special here.”
Salazar was also a four-year starter at holding midfield and a two-year team captain for the maroon and gold. The Tucson, Ariz., native appeared in 80 career games and was a part of a senior class that won a Division I school-record 53 games. As a junior, Salazar scored a career-best three goals including two game-winners and has been a first team All-CAA selection the past two seasons. He also was named to the league’s 2015 All-Tournament team and aided Elon to its first-ever win in the NCAA Tournament with its 3-0 victory over Winthrop this past fall.
“Miguel is a very talented player who came up in an MLS academy,” said Powell. “I’m very familiar with him from his early days at Elon. He’s a talented midfielder who can get the ball off the back four, look for good passing positions and help build the play forward.”
Salazar was also invited to compete at the 2016 adidas MLS Combine where he performed in front of MLS and USL coaches and scouts in advance of the 2016 MLS SuperDraft.
“I am very happy to sign with San Antonio,” said Salazar. “I thank God and my family for their support. I am very grateful with Darren and the San Antonio organization for this opportunity. Finally, I want to thank my teammates, (Elon head men’s soccer coach) Chris Little and the Elon men’s soccer program because without them I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
San Antonio FC begins its first season on April 3 with a contest at Sounders FC 2 in Seattle, Wash. The club’s first-ever home match will take place on April 9, versus Sporting Kansas City affiliate Swope Park Rangers.
“We are very happy for both Miguel and Sam to realize their dream as professional players,” said Little. “They have had fantastic careers here at Elon winning four championships in four years. They have been instrumental to our success and deserve this opportunity with a great franchise such as San Antonio FC.”