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Republic FC Inks Greek Defender Chantzopoulos

By USLChampionship.com Staff, 01/09/19, 6:30PM EST

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Switchbacks add young Ghanaian duo; Legion FC signs experienced defender Appiah


24-year-old defender Charalampos “Haris” Chantzopoulos is the newest addition to Sacramento Republic FC's defensive corps.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento Republic FC announced on Wednesday it had signed Greek defender Charalampos “Haris” Chantzopoulos to a USL Championship contract for the 2019 season with a club option for 2020, pending league and federation approval.

Chantzopoulos joins Republic FC after finishing the 2018 season with KPV (Kokkolan Palloveikot) in Finland’s first division, Veikkausliiga. The six-foot-four center back scored four goals in 17 appearances for the club after joining midway through the year from Rot-Weiß Erfurt in the German third division.

“Haris brings a great combination of size, athleticism and technical ability to our back line,” said Republic FC General Manager Todd Dunivant. “We see a very bright future for Haris and are looking forward to integrating him into an already strong defensive group.”

Born in Karditsa, Greece, Chantzopoulos spent the formative years of his career in Germany, including two seasons in the 2. Bundesliga with ASC Arminia Bielefeld’s U-23 team. The 24-year-old defender joined Finland’s FF Jaro in 2017 where he played alongside former Republic FC forward Christian Eissele before signing with Rot-Weiß Erfurt ahead of the 2018 season.

SWITCHBACKS ADD GHANAIAN DUO: Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC added a pair of new signings for its 2019 Championship campaign as midfielder Kwasi Donsu and defender Ibrahim Yaro joined the team from Ghanaian club Medeama SC, pending league and federation approval.

“We are very excited to have Donsu and Yaro join us for the 2019 season,” said Switchbacks General Manager Brian Crookham. “We had the advantage of seeing them live with Medeama prior to their signing and it was clear that both are intense competitors who will immediately give the group a needed edge.”

The pair are the first international signings in a new era for the Switchbacks, with Crookham having scouted both players in person last September. Donsu, 23, was a top performer in Ghana's Premier League, scoring 22 goals in 39 appearances during the last two seasons. Yaro comes to the Switchbacks fresh off a December call-up to the Ghanaian U23 National Team for the U23 African Cup of Nations. The 22-year-old has been used primarily as a center back but has also played as a right back and holding midfielder in his career.

“Donsu is a dynamic attacker who loves to be on the ball,” said Crookham. “He will look to bring others into the game but will always find a way to be in the box and on the end of plays. His work on both sides of the ball will be a great asset as we look to implement our style of play. He is also dangerous every time he stands over a restart.

“Yaro is an excellent 1v1 defender and rarely loses an aerial duel. He is a confident passer who will allow us to play from the back. He brings great athleticism to the back four and can play in multiple positions. These qualities have earned him recognition in the national team program.”

LEGION FC SIGNS EXPERIENCED APPIAH: Birmingham Legion FC added another defender to its inaugural squad with the experienced Marcel Appiah the latest addition to the expansion side's roster, pending completion of a P1 visa and an International Transfer Certificate (ITC).

The 30-year-old brings a decade of professional experience to the roster and spent the past two seasons with VfL Osnabrück in the German third division.

“This is a great addition for Legion FC, on and off the field,” said Birmingham President and GM Jay Heaps. “Marcel brings vast European experience and a desire to come to Birmingham to help the team win in our inaugural season.”

Appiah has been a consistent starter since the 2007-2008 season, having played more than 300 times for TSG Sprockhövel, Arminia Bielefeld, Arminia Bielefeld II, and VfL Osnabrück in Germany and for NEC Nijmegen in the Netherlands. In the 2012-2013 season, Appiah made 31 appearances for Arminia Bielefeld in 3. Liga, and scored three goals with three assists to help the club gain promotion to 2. Bundesliga. Appiah earned himself a transfer to NEC Nijmegen in 2014 and made 27 appearances while helping the club win the Eerste Divisie and, again, gain promotion, this time to the Eredivisie, the top flight in Holland.

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