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NEW PLAYER ALERT: Richard Ballard!

I’m a little bit late on this, but you know, real job.

Louisville City announced this morning that the club has signed Richard Ballard for the 2017 season after he impressed at the club’s January invitational trials. As per usual, the terms, length, compensation, and composition of the paper of the contract were not disclosed. Richard (do you think he really goes by Richard? I hope not) is Louisville City’s first player to actually come from Louisville, having played high school soccer at Manual before matriculating to college soccer powerhouse Indiana. We all have opinions about Indiana, but an actual fact is that they are historically really good at soccer.

Ballard, whose last name I like very much, was a fifth year senior at IU in 2016. At 5’9″ and 145 lbs, he’s probably not centerback material. IU listed him as a midfielder, but Louisville City’s press release says he moved to forward at some point during the season. We can probably expect him to fill one of James O’Connor’s hybrid front four roles, though attacking midfield seems most likely. He had four goals and two assists in twenty-one starts his final season for the Hoosiers, and was named second team All-B1G.

Ballard had this to say in the club’s press release:

“Playing at Indiana, we trained at the highest level every day,” the 23-year-old said. “We had some of the most competitive players in the nation and played against the best competition. I think it prepared me well to be a professional.

“I’ve always dreamed we’d have a professional team in Louisville. Now that we do, to be able to play for it means the world to me. I think it’s going to be awesome to get out there and represent my hometown.”

I think that first quote is adorable because I imagine O’Connor’s training sessions to be something approaching sado-masochism, though I’ve never actually seen them. That second quote is the money one, though. If Louisville City’s mere existence has that sort of effect on a recent college grad, imagine what effect it’s having on kids playing the local club circuits?

Anyway, let’s welcome Richard Ballard home to Louisville. COME ON, CITY!