Ekstraklasa

Legia Invest in American Talent

Brian Iloski signed with Legia despite being drafted by the Colorado Rapids of the MLS / Legia.com
Legia Invest in American Talent

WARSAW, Poland. February 21 (PSN) – Legia Warsaw have started to invest in American soccer talent with the inclusion of two new players from the United States.

The Polish capital club have signed a first team contract with Brian Iloski, as well a reserve team contract with Amos Shapiro-Thompson.

Iloski, an Escondido, California native, who to this point has only had experience playing NCAA soccer for the UCLA Bruins of the University of California, Los Angeles, joined Romeo Jozak’s team on a trial back in January during Legia’s winter camp in Florida. The 22-year-old American was already in the area for the 2018 MLS Combine and afterwards received an invite to train with the Legion.

The UCLA Bruins midfielder was included in Legia’s roster for the 2018 Florida Cup and appeared in each game against Barcelona SC and CD Club Atetico Nacional. Iloski then joined Legia in their Spain training camp and even scored the lone goal in an exhibition with Chinese side Shanghai Shenxin (1:1).

After impressing during his trial with Legia in Florida and Spain, Iloski signed with the Polish champions a two-year contract with an option to extend for another year.

“Brian is a young, talented player whom we found in the United States. He was one of the best players in the UCLA Bruins for the last few years. We think he can develop in the future. During his tests, we saw him improving his skills every day. The biggest impression on us was the fact that when he came first to the pitch with us, he didn’t have any fears playing against more experienced players. We see a lot of quality in him and we believe in his future. We didn’t expect results immediately but maybe he will surprise us soon” said Ivan Kepcija, technical director of Legia Warsaw.

Interestingly enough, Iloski also impressed during the MLS Combine and as a result was drafted by the Colorado Rapids as the 72nd overall pick in the fourth round of the 2018 MLS Superdraft. However, he instead opted to start his professional career in the Ekstraklasa over the MLS.

In addition, Legia have also acquired Amos Shapiro-Thompson. The 17-year-old midfielder, who hails from Worthington, Massachusetts, has been training with the Legia reserves since January. He ended up dazzling the club staff enough to eventually offer him a contract, primarily after a friendly against Juventus Primavera where he fired two goals (3:2).

Shapiro-Thompson is technically a product of the Dinamo Zagreb scouting system, having been initially uncovered by Kepcija during a Dinamo tryout camp in the United States. However, when Kepcija left Zagreb to take a job as technical director of Legia last year, he decided to invite Shapiro-Thompson to Warsaw and later offer him a contract to stay.

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