BIRMINGHAM, AL (Jan. 24, 2020) -- Birmingham Legion FC announced today that it has retained midfielders Daigo Kobayashi and Marcos Ugarte ahead of the 2020 USL Championship season.
“We’re excited to bring back two key players in Daigo and Marcos,” said Legion FC President and GM Jay Heaps. “They fit well into our locker room culture and played an important role in the club’s inaugural season.”
Kobayashi returns to the club for what will be his 19th season as a professional and third season in the Championship, while Ugarte returns not only as a player but also as the first head coach for the Legion FC D-League team.
“I’m looking forward to being part of the club for year two,” said Ugarte. “I hope to assist in helping the club continue to succeed both on and off the pitch. We all believe that 2020 will be an exciting season and can’t wait to get started.”
The club also announced that defender Femi Hollinger-Janzen and midfielder Daniel Johnson will retire ahead of the 2020 season. Hollinger-Janzen made 23 appearances for Legion FC and scored the first playoff goal in the club’s history. Johnson won the 2019 Community Engagement Award.
“We want to thank Femi and Daniel for their contributions last season,” said Heaps. “They will always be a part of this club’s history, and we wish them the best moving forward.”
Kobayashi and Ugarte join Mikey Lopez, Matt VanOekel, Prosper Kasim, Anderson Asiedu, Mathieu Laurent, Razak Cromwell, Chandler Hoffman, Brian Wright, and Trevor Spangenberg as returning players.
Legion FC kicks off the 2020 preseason with a showdown in Birmingham vs. MLS powerhouse Atlanta United on February 8. Tickets are available now. The club's first USL Championship regular season match will be at home on Sunday, March 15. Find the full schedule here.