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Cox, Casarona Sign Contracts with Silverbacks

April 6, 2011 - North American Soccer League (NASL) - Atlanta Silverbacks News Release

The Atlanta Silverbacks brought their player count to 20 on Wednesday, announcing the signings of midfielder RAPHAEL COX and defender JOSH CASARONA, pending USSF approval.

The additions of Cox and Casarona will add depth to the Silverbacks roster, opening up competition at each of their positions in advance of Saturday's season opener. The two newcomers also bring important experience to the team: Cox played one season for Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer, and Casarona spent the past two seasons playing in professional ranks in Argentina.

Cox comes to the Silverbacks after spending the 2010 season in the PDL, playing for the Tacoma Tide. In 2009, the 5-foot-7 midfielder played for Real Salt Lake, in the year the club won the MLS Cup. Cox appeared in six games for Real Salt Lake, scoring his first and only professional goal against the Columbus Crew. The Tacoma, Wash. native played college soccer for the University of Washington, amassing 14 goals and 17 assists over his three-year career. He earned All-Pac-10 honors twice, making the first team his senior season.

At the young age of 18, Casarona brings international experience to the Silverbacks roster, after spending the past two year training with a variety of clubs in Argentina. The 5-foot-10 defender played at Cefar Soccer School and Deportivo Español in Buenos Aires for the majority of his time in South America. Casarona, a native of Lanett, Ala., also gained experience during a stay in England, where he played for the United States U-20 ODP Region III team. He had the opportunity to practice at the training facility of English Premier League giants, Chelsea F.C., and he competed against reserve teams from English clubs such as Fulham, Crystal Palace, and Charlton Athletic.

"Raphael and Josh are fantastic additions to our team," said Silverbacks Assistant Coach Alex Pineda Chacón. "When you look at where they have played previously and what they have gained from those experiences, it's easy to see how valuable they can be to our team."

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