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Dutch Lions Unveil Five Signings
Bardsley returns, joined by Harada, Swartzendruber

Dayton Dutch Lions News Release -- www.daytondutchlionsfc.com

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

DAYTON, Ohio – The Dayton Dutch Lions FC are pleased to announce the signings of five players to the club's USL PRO squad. The roster is beginning to fill out and take shape as the home opener approaches. Forwards Gibson Bardsley and Brandon Swartzendruber, midfielder Irakli Khutsidze, and midfielder/defenders Shintaro Harada and Glenn Visser bring a wide range of skill sets and experience to the team.

Bardsley, 23, returns for his second season with the Dutch Lions. He led the team in scoring in 2012 with five goals and an assist. He also took a league-leading 54 shots last season. Bardsley’s aggressive style, combined with the Dutch philosophy implemented in Dayton, should allow for him to create and finish opportunities as a winger in the 4-3-3.

"Bardsley is great in one-on-one situations, which is required of wingers in our system," Head Coach Patrick Bal said. "He has speed and a good shot.”

When asked why he decided to rejoin the Dutch Lions, Bardsley echoed the sentiments of other players returning to the club, “I want to push for a playoff birth and make a statement to the league.”

Japanese native Harada is an accomplished USL veteran, who spent the previous three seasons with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. The midfielder/defender was named to four consecutive USL Second Division All-League teams from 2007 through 2010. In 2010, Harada was also named as USL 2’s Defender of the Year and Player of the Year. Harada’s experience and leadership will enable him to organize the Dutch Lions from the back of the formation.

“He makes the players around him better," Bal said of Harada. "It will be good for some of our younger players to learn from him.”

Prior to signing with the Dutch Lions, Khutsidze played for FC Gagra in the premier league of his native country of Georgia. In 2011, Khutsidze scored 10 goals and added 17 assists while helping to lead FC Gagra to claim the Georgia National Cup Championship. He gained valuable experience while making two appearances with FC Gagra in the 2012 UEFA Europa League.

“Irakli is an offensive midfielder who is great on the ball and possesses excellent vision. His ability to place a through ball is something the team lacked somewhat last year,” said Bal.

Swartzendruber had a standout collegiate career for the Midwestern State Mustangs and accumulated several 2006 postseason awards, highlighted by his inclusion on the NCAA Division II All-American Team. The former Harrisburg City Islander most recently played for the Thunder Bay Chill in USL PDL for whom he tallied 13 goals in 16 appearances in 2011.

“[He is a] real striker and clinical finisher," Bal said. "If he gets the ball in front of the net, he will put it away.”

Visser was scouted by Dutch Lions Assistant Coach Erik Tammer at a tryout in the Netherlands. According to Tammer, Visser was clearly the “best player on the field.” Visser is the product of two youth academies associated with professional clubs in the Netherlands. The left-footed talent is comfortable at back and midfield. At just 18 years of age, Visser has yet to realize his full potential.

The Dayton Dutch Lions FC kicks off its season at home against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Saturday, April 20 at 7:30 p.m. at Beavercreek High School Stadium. To purchase tickets or to learn more about the Dayton Dutch Lions FC, please visit www.daytondutchlionsfc.com.

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