OKC Energy FC has announced the signings of Philip Lund, Paul Wyatt and Gareth Evans General Manager Jason Hawkins announced today. Lund and Wyatt’s signings are pending visa processing and receiving their international transfer clearances.
Lund, a center-mid from Vejle, Denmark, played in one game for the Seattle Sounders during the 2013 season. Prior to coming to the MLS, Lund played four seasons in Denmark.
“When Philip first signed with Seattle Sounders, I was very happy for him,” said Energy FC Head Coach Jimmy Nielsen. “I have followed his career in the Danish League. He is a young and hungry player, and he's the kind of player who can make a difference in games. When he was released from the MLS, I didn't have to think twice about signing him to our team. He will be a great addition.”
While in his home country, Lund played for second-division side FC Lyn, Vejle Boldklub in the first division and spent time with Kolding FC on loan. Lund also played for the Danish Under-19 national team.
“I am happy to sign with Energy FC,” Lund said. “I see a lot of positive perspectives and potential that I’m drawn to. We are building this club together, and we will represent it as best we can. I want to do my best to show people this is a sustainable project we’re working to establish in Oklahoma.”
Wyatt, a native of Modbury, England, was a four year starter at forward/midfield for James Madison University, registering 28 goals and 11 assists for 67 points in 73 career games played.
“I was aware of Paul from his time at James Madison University where he was the driving force behind a successful team,” said Energy FC assistant coach Chris Spendlove. “He has two good feet and is extremely athletic with good size and power. With his engine and mentality we are excited to have him on board and have no doubts he will give us everything he has in every practice and game.”
Wyatt was named to the NSCAA All-South Atlantic Region First Team and All-Colonial Athletic Association as a junior and senior. He was also named to the CAA All-Tournament team, a Soccer America Preseason All-America, Top Drawer Soccer Top 100 Underclassmen Preseason list, CAA Preseason Co-Player of the Year, College Sports Madness Preseason All-CAA First Team and named to the Hermann Trophy watch list as a senior. He earned NSCAA All-America Second Team honors as a junior.
Wyatt led the Dukes in goals (9) and points (21) and finished his career tied for fourth in goals (9) and tied for sixth in total points (21). He was named JMU’s Athlete of the Year and the team’s Most Valuable Offensive Player as a senior, earned team Co-Most Valuable Offensive Player as a junior and was named Rookie of the Year as a freshman.
He played for the Reading United of the PDL in 2012.
“Oklahoma City has one of the fastest growing soccer fan bases in the country and becoming part of the first professional soccer team in the city is an extremely exciting and humbling prospect,” Wyatt said. “It’s clear the coaching staff is putting together a squad based on not only a mix of youthful energy and experienced minds, but also players who want to work for the club and for each other. I look forward to getting started and believe that this is the beginning of an exciting journey for the club, the fans and the city.”
Evans previously played defender for the USL PRO’s Wilmington Hammerheads the last three seasons. He also played with the Carolina RailHawks. Prior to his success in Wilmington, Evans began his North American career with the Austin Aztex and later played with the Real Maryland Monarchs.
“We are thrilled to have a player of Gareth's experience and ability to anchor our backline this season,” Nielsen said. “He has continued to develop and mature, and I have no doubt he will be a leader for us this year. Gareth brings all the qualities we are looking for, as well as invaluable multi-year league experience.”
Evans played in the Welsh Premier League for Newi Cefn Druids and then signed a professional contract with Wrexham in 2006.
"I’m very excited to join Energy FC,” Evans said. “I knew as soon as I spoke with the coaching staff this is where I wanted to be, and I’m very thankful to have the opportunity. I am 100-percent focused and determined to do everything I can to repay the faith shown in bringing me here. I want to help this organization be successful from the beginning.”
Season seat holders who have paid in full may participate in the team’s Select-a-Seat event on February 22. Those individuals who have not paid in full and wish to select seats as soon as possible may contact their account representative at 235-KICK.
Energy FC is led by former Sporting Kansas City goaltender and 2013 MLS Cup champion, Jimmy Nielsen. Nielsen was a two-time MLS All Star, the 2012 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, and goalkeeper for the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open championship club.
USL PRO is the strongest, best operated and most experienced North American men’s professional soccer league outside of Major League Soccer (MLS). Focused on franchise stability and longevity, USL PRO features 15 teams for the 2014 season, including expansion teams in Oklahoma City and Sacramento. Presently 10 USL PRO teams have direct affiliations with Major League Soccer clubs.
The league not only serves as a springboard to the MLS for players, but also for franchises. Five of the last six clubs to enter MLS have moved up from the USL’s top professional division. Among the most successful clubs, the Vancouver Whitecaps, Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers, Montreal Impact and Orlando City SC all operated franchises in the USL’s top professional division before making the transition to MLS.