Yesterday Bethlehem Steel FC continued the roster building process for its inaugural USL season, announcing a trio of new signings. Two of the newly minted Steel FC players, Mickey Daly and Gabe Gissie, were signed as free agents but spent the past two seasons with Sacramento Republic FC in USL's Western Conference.
Daly, a 28 year old center back, is undoubtedly going to be expected to act as a veteran presence on a team that Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke said he anticipates will be on the younger side. Fortunately for the fans, there is hardly a better USL centerback that Steel FC could have chosen to fill that role.
Daly showed with Sacramento Republic that he is a fantastic defender at the USL level. In 2014 he helped to lead the Republic to the USL Championship, playing in 30 of the team's 31 league and playoff matches. Just this past year he anchored a Republic defense that allowed the fewest goals in the USL Western Conference, earning a place in the All-League Second Team.
Not only is Daly a quality defender, he can also score on occasion as well. He scored 6 goals during his time in Sacramento, including a fantastic back heel that won him a Goal of the Month award in 2014.
In a testament to how important a piece Daly was to the Republic, he was named Indomitable City Soccer's top re-signing priority for this upcoming season. Sacramento's loss is Bethlehem Steel's gain.
While Daly is in his prime, Gabe Gissie has yet to enter his. The 19 year old is a product of the New England Revolution academy system that left early to go pro with Sacramento Republic in 2014. To put it bluntly, Gissie had the highest potential of any player on the Republic before he left. It would be very surprising not to see him playing in MLS one day. He is fast, strong, and has an incredible work rate.
Although he is not a finished product, Gissie has the capability to make an impact for Bethlehem Steel. He needs to work on some aspects of his game, but at 19 he still has plenty of time to develop fully. He already greatly improved while in Sacramento, evolving into quite a dangerous player by the end of 2015. He was most often used as a second half substitute to wreak havoc on a tired defense, something he was generally effective at.
Many Republic fans were expecting next season to be a breakout year for Gissie. If he gets consistent minutes next season, expect him to continue improving and potentially have that breakout year for Bethlehem Steel.
On a non-soccer note, Gissie also has an incredible story. If you read one other thing today, make it this profile that the Sacramento Bee did on Gissie and his journey out of a horrific situation in his native Liberia.
Bethlehem Steel's roster building process is far from complete and it will be quite a while until the full inaugural roster takes shape. However, the team has already made two fantastic signings in Mickey Daly and Gabe Gissie.