Los Angeles Blues News Release -- www.labluesprosoccer.com
Thursday, December 8, 2011
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The Los Angeles Blues are excited to announce they have signed forward Allan Russell for the 2012 USL PRO season, pending league approval. The 30-year-old comes to Southern California following a successful career in his native Scotland as well as most recently with the Carolina RailHawks, whom he helped to the Regular Season Championship this year.
After playing for various lower-league sides in England and Scotland early in his career, Russell had his breakthrough in 2007-08 while with Scottish second-division outfit Airdrie United. The striker bagged 19 goals in 32 matches for Airdrie, earning Second Division Player of the Year honors and attracting interest from Premier League sides Dundee United and Kilmarnock along the way. The latter signed Russell to a deal in 2008 and he would go on to appear 25 times for the history-rich club before making the switch to Carolina at the end of his contract in 2010.
Russell started flirting with a transfer to the Blues prior to this year’s campaign.
“Allan reached out to me about a year ago to let me know he really wanted to play for us,” Head Coach Charlie Naimo remembered. “At that time it was a little too late to bring him on for the 2011 season, but we kept in touch because I instantly sensed that he’s a class act from the things he said. I followed him throughout the season and ended up bringing him into camp in November.
“While he was here, he proved that he’s exactly the kind of person and professional I want to build the team around. I think he’ll be tremendous on the field for us but also a great locker-room guy. He’s a player with a lot of experience, meaning he’ll be able to help with some of the rookies and the younger guys on the team.”
During his week-long training stint with Los Angeles about a month ago, Russell was impressed with the vision and professionalism shared by the owners, the front office and the coaching staff led by Naimo and Associate Head Coach Shayon Jalayer.
“What sold me on the club is that it’s so new and has tremendous potential for growth,” the striker said. “Charlie is a great coach who pays outstanding attention to detail and has a definite idea of how he wants to play. I have a great relationship with him, which was a big factor in signing with the Blues. Then there’s another excellent coach and a great guy in Shayon, and really the entire staff works extremely hard as a tight team unit. Everyone is focused on building the club up and making it a success.”
“I really enjoyed my time in November,” he continued. “I liked everyone associated with the club and so we worked out a deal the following week. I’m itching to do my part to help the Blues win the championship and have a good run in the U.S. Open Cup by being a good team-mate, a good professional and a goal-scorer.”
There is no doubt in Naimo’s mind that the Glasgow-native has the potential to be a big star for his new side.
“I expect Allan to be one of our best forwards,” the Blues Head Coach said. “During the time he spent with us, it was obvious that he’s very efficient in front of the goal. He had several big years in Scotland and has proven that he can score at the highest level. We’re confident that he can be a great producer for us because he’s very active on the field and his movement off the ball is fantastic. That’s something we lacked in 2011. We’re solving a lot of last season’s problems by adding Allan.”