Former Elon University men’s soccer head coach Darren Powell signed two former Elon players — defender Sam McBride and midfielder Miguel Salazar — to contracts with San Antonio FC, the club announced Monday.

Another former Elon player, defender Austin Dunker, is currently in San Antonio and practicing with the team during preseason training camp, according to a spokesman for San Antonio FC. He has yet to sign a contract with the team. 

Powell was named head coach of the expansion club in January, and the two former players will play in the United Soccer League (USL) for San Antonio FC, which is the third tier of the soccer system in the United States.

“We are very happy for both Miguel and Sam to realize their dream as professional players,” said Elon head coach Chris Little. “They have had fantastic careers here at Elon, winning four championships in four years. They have been instrumental to our success and deserve this opportunity with a great franchise such as San Antonio FC.”

McBride played every minute for Elon in 2015, and played in 78 games during his time at Elon. He was named to the North Carolina Collegiate Sports Information Association’s (NCCSIA) All-State second team for his efforts in 2015, and was also named All-CAA third team.

“I’ve known Sam for a long time,” Powell said. “He’s a very good center back who is very good in the air. He is strong, honest, has great character and will add important depth to the center back position. It will be great to reconnect with a player from my Elon days as well.”

Salazar appeared in 80 games during his four years, starting in the midfield the entire time. He was named All-CAA first team for each of the past two seasons, and was invited and played in the 2016 MLS Combine.

“Miguel is a very talented player who came up in an MLS academy,” Powell said. “I’m very familiar with him from his early days at Elon. He’s a talented midfielder who can get the ball off the back four, look for good passing positions and help build the play forward.”

Both McBride and Salazar were a part of three NCAA Tournament appearances, in which Elon played five games, and won a school-record 53 games with their senior class.

Dunker played at Elon from 2011 to 2014, missing just three games in his career with the Phoenix. He was named to the Southern Conference’s All-SoCon second team in 2013.

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