Orlando Adds Trialists Jonathan Mendoza, Brian Fekete To Pro Squad
Orlando City U23s captain, University of Tampa product signed to pro squad
ORLANDO, Fla.-- Orlando City announced Friday the signing of Midfielder Jonathan Mendoza and Defender Brian Fekete to the professional squad. Mendoza, the Orlando City U23s team captain in 2012, and Fekete, a three-time All American from the University of Tampa, have been on trial with the Lions since early January and add young talent to Orlando City Head Coach Adrian Heath’s squad for the 2013 season.
“We signed two kids who we believe have potential to move on to the next level,” said Heath. “We’ll give them an opportunity to play.”
Mendoza joins the Lions after playing five years with the Orlando City U23s (formerly Central Florida Kraze). A team captain for the U23 squad in 2012, Mendoza scored four goals while totaling 1,195 minutes played on the Lions run toward the 2012 PDL Southern Conference Championship. He marks the second player to move up from the U23 squad (Adama Mbengue) to the pro team, showing evidence of a successful development pyramid for Orlando.
After an impressive season with the U23s and Stetson University, the speedy midfielder was invited to the 2013 MLS Combine, impressing scouts and coaches alike. Mendoza was also apart of the Orlando City team that played against legendary Italian club A.S. Roma in early January, making a lasting impression on the Orlando coaching staff.
“I'm a big believer in guys who come in each and every day with an incredible amount of effort, they stick out like a sore thumb,” said Heath. “Every day they bring bags of enthusiasm and want to do well. They try to convince the coaching staff why they need to be on the squad. That's what Johnny does."
At Stetson, the Lyman high school product was named the 2011 Atlantic Sun Player of the Year after starting all 19 matches for the Hatters. He also led the conference with 27 points on 11 goals and five assists in 2011.
The second Orlando signing is University of Tampa product and PDL veteran Brian Fekete. Fekete started in all 17 matches for the Spartans as a senior, totaling 1,492 minutes of play. He was named a three-time All-American for Tampa during his collegiate career, playing in a total of 69 matches. The defender from Plant City, Fla., was also with the Lions squad during the preseason friendly against giant A.S. Roma at Rollins College in Winter Park, impressing Heath and his staff enough to grant an invite to the Disney Pro Soccer Classic (PSC).
Fekete then got his shot early on in the PSC, starting the first match against Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union while also scoring a goal in the 79th minute in the 2-3 loss to Columbus Crew.
“Brian comes in and makes competition,” said Heath. “We’ve seen over the preseason that he can play with our first team and believe he has some real upside.”
Fekete began his professional career with PDL’s IMG Bradenton Academy in 2010, continuing on through the PDL with GPS Portland Phoenix. He was an All-Eastern Conference selection in 2011 after totaling 1,213 minutes played with the Phoenix.
Acquisition: Orlando City (USLPRO) signs Jonathan Mendoza, Brian Fekete