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John Rooney excited about new home
by Paul Kennedy, February 14th, 2012 6:27PM

TAGS:  usl


[USL PRO PRESEASON] After one season in MLS with the New York Red Bulls, John Rooney, the younger brother of English star Wayne Rooney, has moved to USL PRO champion Orlando City. John Rooney said his loyalty to Everton made it a natural that he'd take to Orlando City, whose coach is former Toffee player Adrian Heath.

"The manager was definitely a big pull for me," Rooney told "I’m an Everton fan and he’s [Heath] a great former player and has been a great success as a manager. When he told me of the vision for the club and the exciting times ahead, I knew it was the place for me to be playing my football. The club was known to me too from my time in America. The great stadium, fantastic fans, and the chance to be part of a group of players ready to defend the championship, I can’t wait to get going."

Other Orlando City offseason signings include James O'Connor (Sheffield Wednesday) and Anthony Pulis (Aldershot Town). It also locked up forward Matt Luzunaris, a product of nearby UCF who played on loan last year from the San Jose Earthquakes.

-- The Rochester Rhinos bolstered their squad with five signings, including three players -- Tam McManus, Conor Chinn and Michael Zaher -- with MLS experience.

McManus had six goals in 20 games in 2008 for the Colorado Rapids before returning to his native Scotland. He started his pro career with Hibernian in the Scottish Premier League in 1997, then moved to Dundee in the January 2005 transfer window. Most recently, he's had two stints at Ayr United and one at Falkirk.

Graciano Brito, the the former Northeastern Conference Player of the Year at Quinnipiac, also signed with the Rhinos. He played for FC New York in 2011 after spending time with Operario dos Acores in the Portuguese Second Division.

Chinn played 10 games for MLS's New York Red Bulls in 2010 before moving to the Atlanta Silverbacks in 2011.

Zaher, who played in 13 MLS matches in 2009 with D.C. United and the San Jose Earthquakes, spent the last two seasons at the Charleston Battery, while Jack Traynor was a left back with Orlando City in 2011.

-- The Los Angeles Blues signed three forwards: George Davis IV, who had seven goals and two assists for the Dayton Dutch Lions last season, Luis Gonzalez, who played at Cerritos College and Cal Poly Pomona and starred for PDL club Thunder Bay Chill in 2010 and 2011, and Matthew Fondy, who scored twice last season for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.

-- The Charleston Battery signed defender Kyle Hoffer, a second-team All-USL PRO pick with FC New York last season, and midfielder Jose Cuevas, who starred for the PDL's Fresno Fuego for three seasons. The Battery discovered him at the 2011USL Combine.

-- Former FC Dallas forward Jason Yeisley signed a long-term contract with the Richmond Kickers. The ex-Penn State star made six appearances with FC Dallas in 2010 and was a second-team All-USP PRO pick with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in 2011.

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