Well, the rumor was a younger guy with a huge pedigree and a lot of experience for his age would be heading to Bethlehem Steel FC.
The 23-year-old Jamaican international Omar Holness fits that bill perfectly.
Starting in college at the University of North Carolina, Holness notched five goals and 11 assists in 59 matches while helping to lead the Tar Heels to three NCAA tournament appearances. He spent a summer playing for Portland Timbers U23 team in the PDL and left after his junior season to sign a Generation adidas deal. He was drafted fifth overall - behind Philadelphia Union picks Keegan Rosenberry (third) and Josh Yaro (second) and one spot before Fabian Herbers (sixth).
made his USL debut for Real Monarchs against Rio Grande Valley FC and would play seven games before RSL brought him up for a debut against FC Dallas on June 25th of 2016 where he played all 90 minutes. When he wasn’t with the first team, Holness put up over 600 minutes in USL.
On the international side, the Kingston native has competed for the Reggae Boyz at every level from U17 and was a part of the 2015 Gold Cup side that went to the final.
Steel head coach Brendan Burke had this to say about the second new player announcement this week (Brandon Allen was announced on Monday):
“We were really excited for the opportunity to approach Omar given his experience in the MLS. He knows what it takes and what the daily demands are as a professional soccer player and I expect him to a veteran leader for us as a 23-year-old. We think that he has what it takes to translate to MLS and we want to provide him the platform to make that jump here at Steel FC. We knew he’s dealt with a long-term injury but he is a good place to be joining us in preseason on the road to recovery. All signs point to a tempered start but overall a great season for Omar.”
Holness is still recovering from an ACL injury he suffered last July but given it’s still January, he’ll have a good amount of time to be assessed further and treated by the Philadelphia Union/BSFC medical staff.
Also per the club, Omar Holness will occupy an international spot.