Hammerheads defender trains with NYCFC heading into weekend match

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Fresh off his first goal of the year as a substitute to start the second half in last weekend’s 2-1 setback to Charleston Battery, Wilmington Hammerheads FC defender Ashani Fairclough joined Major League Soccer’s New York City FC in training this week.

The Jamaican defender entered training with the MLS club on Monday at SUNY Purchase and is expected to return to Wilmington on Friday, in time for Saturday’s USL match against the Harrisburg City Islanders.

Ashani Fairclough spent the week in New York training with the Hammerheads MLS affiliate. Photo courtesy Wilmington Hammerheads FC
Ashani Fairclough spent the week in New York training with the Hammerheads MLS affiliate. Photo courtesy Wilmington Hammerheads FC

New York City FC is the official MLS affiliate of Wilmington Hammerheads FC.

At 1-2-2 this season, the Wilmington club added two players from Cameroon on Wednesday in midfielders Brian Anunga Tah and Christian Mougang Bassogog.

“We are delighted to have Christian [Bassogog] and Brian [Anunga] with us,” said Wilmington Hammerheads FC Technical Director and Head Coach Carson Porter. “They have already earned the trust and respect of the team – something not always easy to do when joining a team in the middle of the season, and we anticipate them earning their debuts very quickly.”

Both players were scouted by General Manager Jason Arnold during a trip to Cameroon in  November. The visit was a result of a budding partnership with Rainbow Sports Investments and Rainbow FC, a sports management group.

“We are excited to see these young players arrive in Wilmington and join the club,” said Arnold. “These are talented players that we look forward to watching develop as players and people in our professional environment. It is great to see our partnership with Rainbow Sports Investments come to fruition and we look forward to many more players coming to join our club through Kingsley Pungong and his staff in Cameroon.”

Following the immigration process to the United States, both are now eligible to work and play professionally.

Sunny Jane, left, battles for possession near midfield. Photo courtesy- Wilmington Hammerheads FC
Sunny Jane, left, battles for possession near midfield. Photo courtesy Wilmington Hammerheads FC

Wilmington Hammerheads FC is scheduled to host the Harrisburg City Islanders at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 2 at Legion Stadium.

The match will serve as the first of two encounters between the teams this season.

Harrisburg travels to Wilmington after picking up one point in the standings following a 1-1 draw against Charlotte Independence. The 2014 USL Championship finalists have four points in as many matches this season with a 1-2-1 mark. Wilmington (1-2-2) sits seventh in the 12-team Eastern Conference standings coming off  the setback to Battery.

Saturday’s match will be broadcast live from Legion Stadium with Port City Daily’s Joe Catenacci on the play-by-play alongside Chris Libert on the Hammerheads’ YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/WilmHammerheadsFC.