Last night Forward Madison’s supporter group, dubbed The Flock, gathered at Nomad World Pub to hear about the club’s biggest player signing yet — 29-year-old Brazilian striker Paulo Júnior.
The Flock gathered to listen to Managing Director Peter Wilt and Coach Daryl Shore announce the finalized dates for the upcoming inaugural season while hearing about the Flamingo’s latest player. For Shore, who coached Júnior back in 2010, this will be a reunion.
“I told Peter if we’re going to do this, we have to have this player on our team,” Shore said.
Shore met Júnior when he coached for Miami FC. Júnior was the top goalscorer at the time. His signing with Forward Madison will be confirmed pending league and federation approval.
“Daryl Shore is very special, he was part of my football history early in my career when playing at Miami FC,” Paulo said in a statement released after the announcement. “Playing for him helped me get to MLS (Major League Soccer).”
Júnior played for six different American and Canadian clubs including MLS team Real Salt Lake. The news of his signing follows the announcements of four midfielders: Jamaican Don Smart, American Jeff Michaud, Ecuadorian Danny Tenorio and Panama National Team midfielder Josiel Núñez.
“Our team name is very appropriate and we want to play forward,” Shore said. “We’re not going to change the way we play for other teams. We want to change the way other teams play.”
Shore said Júnior will join a team of strong defensive and offensive players. He also said they are not recruiting players to play in a diamond formation.
“This kid really works hard on both ends of the ball and that’s what we’re looking to bring to Madison,” Shore said.
In addition to the news of Júnior, Wilt gave fans a runthrough of the finalized schedule. Training will begin mid-February and the team will play exhibitions games in St. Louis and Indianapolis. The season will open on Saturday, April 6 against the Chattanooga Red Wolves SC and the first home game will be April 27 against the Greenville Triumph SC at the renovated Breese Stevens Field.
“The final schedule is really good, I think from a fan perspective and business perspective,” Wilt said.
He said about 500 season tickets have sold and expect about 2,000 to sell. Wilt also hopes fans will develop an emotional connection to the team, emboldening the fans. He said the atmosphere created will be unlike any other team.
“We want our city, our fans to be proud of the players we’re putting on the field but win or or lose we I want our fans to say this is a team I can get behind and come back next week,” Shore said.
Wilt and Shore said the players are interested in immersing themselves into the Madison community and look forward to seeing fans support the team.