The Charleston Battery announced Thursday the signing of midfielder Emilio Ycaza to a multi-year contract, pending league and federation approval. Ycaza (EE-cah-zah) is the first new player signing since Ben Pirmann became the club’s head coach.
Ycaza, 25, arrives in Charleston after spending the previous two seasons with Western Conference side Rio Grande Valley FC Toros. With RGV, Ycaza made 50 appearances across all competitions, tallying seven goals and six assists.
“I’m excited to join Charleston, one of the longest-running and most historic clubs in the USL,” said Ycaza. “It was an electric atmosphere experienced when I played here back in September, there was something special about Patriots Point.”
The midfielder was a constant force for RGV last season, leading the team in matches played (35), starts (33), minutes played (2,893) and chances created (44). He also registered an 81.7% passing accuracy, 40 tackles won and 160 duels won. Ycaza’s marks in chances created, tackles won and duels won topped those by Battery players in 2022.
Ycaza earned Team of the Week honors for his two-goal performance against San Diego Loyal SC in Week 11. His versatility has seen him deployed across the midfield, primarily in attacking roles, centrally and on both wings.
Head Coach Ben Pirmann is looking forward to integrating Ycaza into the club.
“Emilio is one the premier midfielders in the USL, he’s shown that in his three seasons that he is trending upward,” said Coach Pirmann. “He’s a courageous leader and a versatile midfielder who can play in advanced roles to contribute to goals. He can also play deeper and help us build the game from the back to break down our opponents.
“Emilio is a top player, as we mentioned, but he is an even better person and teammate. He will do excellent in the Charleston community, both on and off the pitch, to help us achieve our goals and he will be one for the supporters.”
Ycaza is not a stranger to Patriots Point after playing a full 90 minutes and contributing one assist against the Battery in September 2022.
Prior to RGV, Ycaza played for former USL Championship teams Austin Bold FC in 2021 and Reno 1868 FC in 2020. The midfielder helped lead Reno to the Western Conference Semifinals of the USL Championship Playoffs.
The Florida native played collegiately at the University of South Florida, competing with the Bulls from 2018 to 2019 and making 35 appearances. Before USF, Ycaza was part of the youth sector of Swedish club IF Brommapojkarn from 2015 to 2016.
By joining the Black and Yellow, Ycaza reunites with former Reno teammate Aidan Apodaca and former USF teammate Avionne Flanagan.
“I’m looking forward to playing for Coach Pirmann, who for many reasons was voted the league’s coach of the year in 2022,” said Ycaza. “He implements an attacking and creative style of football. Together with President Lee Cohen, I know they will build a team that is entertaining for the fans and will give supporters many reasons to come to every game.”
Defenders: Leland Archer, Benji Ettienne, AJ Paterson
Midfielders: Fidel Barajas, Andrew Booth, Robbie Crawford, Avionne Flanagan, Joe Schmidt, Emilio Ycaza
Forwards: Aidan Apodaca, Augustine Williams
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