The Atlanta Silverbacks have added defender ANDREW DURAN and forward JAHBARI WILLIS, the club announced Friday, pending USSF approval.
Joining the Silverbacks on a season-long loan from Seattle Sounders FC of Major League Soccer, Duran was the 15th overall pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft. The versatile defender signed with the Sounders after a successful four-year career at Creighton University. A native of Mokena, Ill., Duran took home Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors during his senior season and helped anchor one of the top defenses in NCAA history. The 6-foot-1 defender helped the Bluejays record a staggering 19 shutouts in 24 games in 2011.
“We’re excited to bring in a defender of Andrew’s caliber,” said Silverbacks Head Coach Alex Pineda Chacón. “He experienced a lot of success during an impressive college career, and we think he will really help improve our team.”
Willis, a hometown product, joins the Silverbacks first team after spending the early part of the 2012 season with the Silverbacks Reserves. The Atlanta native scored a goal in each of the two games he played in for the Reserves this season, and has been recently training with the professional side. The 6-foot-2 forward spent four strong seasons playing for Florida International University before joining the Silverbacks Reserves in NPSL play.
“Jahbari has impressed us recently with his offensive abilities, so we’re thrilled to be able to add him to the roster,” Chacón said. “Whenever we’re signing players from the Reserves, it shows that the talent development system that we have in place is working well.”
Willis will wear #77 for the Silverbacks, while Duran will wear #17. Duran is currently in Atlanta with the team, and could possibly feature in Saturday’s contest at home against the Carolina RailHawks. Willis' contract with the first team will begin on Monday following the Reserves' clash with Jacksonville United this Saturday.
Saturday’s game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow night at Atlanta Silverbacks Park.