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Orlando City Signs English Championship Veteran

March 21, 2011 - United Soccer League Championship (USL) - Orlando City SC News Release

ORLANDO - Orlando City Soccer Club is proud to announce the signing of English Championship veteran midfielder Lewis Neal to a multi-year contract, pending US Soccer Federation approval.

"Today's a great day," said Neal. "We've had a good preseason playing the MLS teams. We've put in a good showing, and now I'm looking forward to getting the season started."

Neal began his career with Stoke City in 2000, then in the English Championship division. After five seasons with Stoke, Neal moved to Preston North End, also of the English Championship. In 2009, Neal moved to Carlisle United before signing with Shrewsbury Town. In all, Neal has made over 150 appearances in England, scoring 17 goals.

"I'm delighted that we've signed him," said Head Coach Adrian Heath. "It is very unusual to get a player of his talent, age, and experience to come to our level. He'll be a huge influence on the club not only on the field, but off the field as well. He's a great professional - he's been there, seen it, and done it. There players will be very pleased that he's signed as well. The fans have already taken to him as well. It's a fantastic signing all around."

Neal has been Orlando City's most explosive player this preseason, playing in every match. He scored the club's first ever goal on a bending free kick against the Philadelphia Union. He leads the team with five goals in six matches, including two in the span of five minutes against UCF on Sunday.

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