posted on May 10, 2012 11:05
MOBILE, Ala-- Former University of Mobile men's soccer player Michael Azira has inked a pro contract with the Charleston Battery of the USL Pro.
"In thirty years of coaching, Michael Azira is undoubtedly one of the top 10 players I have ever had the opportunity to coach in the college ranks," UMobile Head Coach Roy Patton said. "If he stays healthy and spends some time at the next level, I fully expect to see him on TV and in the MLS."
The USL Pro is comprised of eleven teams and the season is already underway and runs through August.
A midfielder from Kampala, Uganda, Azira earned Honorable Mention NAIA All-America Honors this season with the Rams after transferring in from Lindsey Wilson. Azira left a lasting impression on the UMobile coaches in just one season.
"Michael is a quiet leader and a tremendous soccer player," Patton said. "I was so impressed with Michael that I called former US National Coach Bruce Arena, who is the current LA Galaxy coach, to keep an eye on him. Michael has a professional attitude and was a pleasure to coach."
He was one of five players to start all 20 games in 2011 as the Rams advanced to the NAIA Men's Soccer National Tournament. He finished the season with two goals and four assists.
"He is extremely technically gifted," Patton said. "He can turn against pressure as well as any rising professional player I have seen. He is tremendous in the air, a natural defense screen and a determined ball winner. One of his greatest assets is to instinctively fill in the defensive lanes and compensate for the positional mistakes of others. In addition, Michael is a great teammate."