Bethlehem Steel FC made official on Wednesday the signing of former University of New Hampshire star Chris Wingate.
“It’s something you dream about your whole life,” Wingate said in a news release. “I’m happy to have found a home within this organization and despite my short time with the club, it already feels like I’m a part of the family. It’s been a different journey than I’d dreamt of having to come in late to the club during the preseason but it motivated me to work ever harder and prove that I could be one of the guys.”
Wingate was the 54th overall pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft by New York City FC but joined up with Steel midway through preseason after not being offered a contract with the second-year MLS club.
He’s played well since joining the team, making four appearances in preseason matches primarily as a holding midfielder but can also play on the back line and as more of an attacking player as shown by his 13 goals and 15 assists over 70 career games in college. The America East Midfielder of the Year in 2016, the 22-year-old spent last summer with the Seattle Sounders U23 team in the Premier Development League.
“Chris is an important addition in an area of the field where we needed some depth and I think Chris is more than just depth,” Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke said in a news release. “He is someone has a great background based on his college career. We were fortunate to be able to pick up him up after he was released and he hasn’t had a bad day in training since he arrived. Plus, he has brought a steady influence to our group.”
A native of Hovik, Norway - he played in the youth system for Bærum SK - Wingate is a dual citizen of the U.S. and will not require an international roster spot.
He is the seventh player drafted in January to sign with the Philadelphia Union organization. All five Union draft picks are under either first-team or USL contracts (Chris Nanco and Santi Moar signed USL deals) and Houston Dynamo draft pick Jake McGuire is on a first-team deal.