Bethlehem Steel FC continued to bolster its roster with the announcement today that the club has signed midfielder Omar Holness. Holness, the fifth selection in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft joins Steel FC after spending the past two seasons with Real Salt Lake and their USL affiliate the Real Monarchs. The move is pending league and federation approval.
“We were really excited the opportunity to approach Omar given his experience in the MLS,” Bethlehem Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke said. “He knows what it takes and what the daily demands are as a professional soccer player and I expect him to a veteran leader for us as a 23-year-old. We think that he has what it takes to translate to MLS and we want to provide him the platform to make that jump here at Steel FC. We knew he’s dealt with a long-term injury but he is a good place to be joining us in preseason on the road to recovery. All signs point to a tempered start but overall a great season for Omar.”
A native of Kingston, Jamaica, the 23-year-old midfielder brings Major League Soccer experience to Steel FC, having made 18 appearances and six starts over the past two seasons with Real Salt Lake. When he wasn’t gaining minutes in MLS, Holness gained experience in the USL with Real Monarchs, where he had nine appearances and collected over 600 minutes in the Western Conference.
Holness made his professional debut on May 13, 2016 with Real Monarchs, coming on as a second-half substitute on the road at Rio Grande Valley FC. He earned his first professional start the following week and made seven total appearances with the USL squad during the summer before earning a return to Real Salt Lake for the gameday 18. Holness made his MLS debut on the road at FC Dallas on June 25, 2016, playing the full match.
A 2016 member of Generation Adidas, Holness prepped at the University of North Carolina for three seasons where he appeared in 59 matches and earned 55 starts. During his time with the Tar Heels, he tallied five goals and contributed 11 assists as he aided the school in three-consecutive NCAA Tournament Appearances. Holness earned All-ACC first team honors in his sophomore season, scoring twice and adding seven assists in 22 starts and he followed up with a conference second-team honor in his final season at North Carolina. Holness also spent time in 2015 playing for the Sounders FC U23 of the Premier Development League where he had a goal and played 585 minutes.
Internationally, Holness has competed for Jamaica with gaining appearances with the senior team along with the U17 and U20 squads. He earned his first senior Reggae Boyz cap against Canada in September 2014, coming on as a second-half substitute. He was also a member of the 2015 Jamaican Gold Cup squad that advanced to the Gold Cup Final in 2015 but didn’t appear. Holness’ most recent appearance with the Reggae Boyz came against the United State in the squad’s friendly in early 2017.
Holness joins Brandon Allen as new signings for Bethlehem Steel FC ahead of the club’s third season in the United Soccer League. The duo will look to continue the club’s strong form in 2017 that propelled the club to the USL Cup Playoffs for the first time in Steel FC history.
TRANSACTION: Bethlehem Steel FC sign midfielder Omar Holness on January 9, 2018.
Name: Omar Holness
Born: March 13, 1994
Hometown: Kingston, Jamaica
Previous Experience: Real Salt Lake (2016-17), Real Monarchs (2016-17)
Acquired: Bethlehem Steel FC sign midfielder Omar Holness on January 9, 2018.