Central Florida Crusaders Announce First Four Player Signings
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRUSADERS ANNOUNCE FIRST FOUR PLAYER SIGNINGS
Orlando, FL – The Central Florida Crusaders have announced the signings of four new players to their roster, including former Orlando City SC midfielder Will Johnson and three indoor soccer veterans: Eduardo Cruz, Rodolfo Lopes, and Maycon França.
“I’m always happy to have guys that I've worked with before and guys that have indoor experience,” Head Coach Tom Traxler said, “I’m excited to get the ball rolling.”
Johnson joins the Crusaders for his first season playing indoor soccer but is a player that has over 18 years of professional soccer experience. After starting in 2004, his career has taken him around Major League Soccer, playing for clubs like the Chicago Fire, Real Salt Lake, Portland Timbers, Toronto FC, and Orlando City. In his MLS tenure, he won two MLS cups, is a three-time MLS All-Star, won MLS Goal of the Year in 2008, and was selected to the MLS Best XI in 2013. At the international level, he has represented Canada’s senior team, making 45 appearances at the senior level. Most recently, he has played for the NPSL’s Central Florida Panthers in 2021.
“Will is just a great player in general.” Traxler said, “Will is a fantastic player, it's not going to take much for him to learn the indoor game. His learning curve will be pretty fast.”
Eduardo “Dudu” Cruz, a graduate of Bellhaven Univerity, played almost 50 games with the MASL’s Orlando SeaWolves from 2018-2020, scoring 11 goals and adding 10 assists. The midfielder has also played outdoor locally, taking the pitch with the UPSL’s OFC Barca and Athletico Orlando. Currently, Cruz coaches with Ideasport Soccer Academy and will also serve as an assistant to Head Coach Tom Traxler throughout the season.
“Dudu is a great player, but he’s an even better individual,” Traxler said, “He's the type of guy that's calm on the ball and a player that you want to build with around a locker room with his leadership qualities.”
Rodolfo “Dodo” Lopes, from Santos, Brazil, played with the MASL’s Orlando SeaWolves from 2018-2020, playing in 17 matches and scoring three goals and adding seven assists. The midfielder also coaches at Hunter’s Creek Soccer Club while playing for the UPSL’s Athletico Orlando outdoor team.
“Dodo is a quality person, good player, energetic, an honest hard worker but talented and technical,” Traxler said, “He understands the indoor game, and that's important for us because it is a different game compared to outdoors.”
Maycon França, an indoor soccer and futsal veteran, played three seasons in MASL with the Florida Tropics, where he scored six goals and added six assists in 33 games played. During the 2019-20 season, he spent time as assistant coach to Traxler with the SeaWolves. Prior to his American indoor career, the 25-year-old played outdoor in the Santos FC academy in Brazil. He also played futsal in his native country with clubs Gremetal and Jacarei. Currently, he coaches with Ideasport Soccer Academy in Kissimmee.
“Maycon is a player that I've always wanted to work with on the pitch," Traxler said, "We didn't have the opportunity to previously and he's someone that understands the indoor game, is really talented, and is really clever on a ball. He's going to be a really good piece for us to have.”
ABOUT NATIONAL INDOOR SOCCER LEAGUE (NISL):
The National Indoor Soccer League was founded in January 2021 by a group of seasoned sports team/league owners with over 50 years of ownership experience. The league features both a Men's & Women's Division, competing in double header game days over a 20-game regular season that takes place between the months of December and April. Current teams include Central FL Crusaders (Orlando), Columbus Rapids (Georgia), Fayetteville Fury, Memphis Americans, Rome Gladiators (Georgia), and Tampa Bay Strikers. The NISL is committed to promoting and supporting our member teams, while providing an avenue for players, coaches, and front office staff to develop their skills and gain exposure for opportunities at higher levels, all while providing high-quality, affordable entertainment in the communities we serve.