NASL: Armada FC Sign Experienced U.S. Defenders in Bahner and Nicklaw

The Armada FC, Jacksonville's new North American Soccer League (NASL) team, continued to grow its roster on Wednesday with the signing of two American defenders in Matt Bahner (Bay-ner) and Shawn Nicklaw.

Bahner and Nicklaw join goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo, midfielders Jaime Castrillón and Lucas Rodriguez and defender Fabricio Ortiz on the Armada FC first-team roster.
"We are thrilled to welcome Matt Bahner and Shawn Nicklaw to the Armada FC family," said Armada FC General Manager Dario Sala. "They are both versatile players who will be important additions to our defense as we continue to build our squad." 

A 2014 All-USL PRO second-team selection who hails from West Chester, Ohio, Bahner helped lead the Harrisburg City Islanders to one of its most prolific seasons in club history with an appearance in the USL PRO Championship and a run to the fourth round in U.S. Open Cup play. In two seasons with the Islanders, the 24-year-old netted three goals and dished out four assists in 52 appearances and 3,361 minutes of action. 

Prior to joining the professional ranks, Bahner was a four-year starter at the University of Cincinnati and 2010 All-Big East second-team selection. He netted 13 goals in his collegiate career, with seven of them proving to be game winners. Bahner also had a successful amateur club career, claiming an MRL Championship with Cincinnati United Premier in 2005 and an Ohio State Cup championship in 2008.

He scored 26 goals and recorded 19 assists as a four-year letter winner at Lakota West High School in Ohio. Bahner earned co-GMC Player of the Year honors and was a first-team all-state selection as a senior.

Nicklaw comes to Jacksonville after stints with Icelandic Premier League club Thór (2014), USL PRO side Wilmington Hammerheads (2013) and Danish Premier League club HB Koge (2012-13). The 25-year-old San Diego, Calif., native has logged 3,892 minutes of action in 47 professional career appearances and has recorded four goals and four assists.

He also brings a strong international competition pedigree, competing in the 2015 East Asian Cup and AFC Challenge as a member of the Guam national team. Nicklaw also earned his stripes as an amateur with FC Porto (2010-11), the University of Connecticut (2007-10), University City High School (San Diego) (2005-07) and NOMADS Soccer Club (San Diego) (2007). His NOMADS team earned a 2007 Red Bull National League Championship, and he also helped lead University City to a 2005 California Interscholastic Federation Championship.  

The Armada FC expects to make additional player announcements over the next several weeks as it eventually rounds out its roster to 27 by January 2015.

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