2015 NASL Best XI midfielder Richie Ryan has been sold by Jacksonville Armada to expansion franchise Miami FC. Ryan was purchased for a $750k transfer fee according to a source with knowledge of the deal who wished to remain anonymous. The deal runs through the end of the 2018 season. Salary figures were not given. Neither of the teams immediately returned messages.
The timing of the transfer comes as a bit of a shock as the NASL Spring season is only halfway completed. Jacksonville signed the central midfielder this off-season amidst the dismantling of Ottawa Fury’s roster. Ryan had served as the Fury’s captain for the 2015 season. As head coach Marc Dos Santos left for Sporting Kansas City’s staff, many key players (including defender Ryan Richter, midfielder Sinisa Ubiparipovic, and forward Tom Heinemann) all left the organization, forcing a total makeover for the team from Canada’s capital.
When Richie originally came to Jacksonville, head coach and technical director Tony Meola told Empire of Soccer’s Jake Nutting that he was looking forward to building around the Irishman. “I expect Richie to be an integral part of the culture that my staff and I are trying to build both on the field as well as in our locker room. I have spoken to Richie, and he is extremely excited to get to Jacksonville and get started.”
However, both Florida clubs have had a mixed bag of results thus far in 2016, currently holding the 10th and 11th place spots in the league table. A shake-up this early in the season is a gamble, and spending $750,000 in transfer fees for the 31 year old is a risk as well as a sum almost completely unheard of in the American lower divisions. There’s no word on whether or not Ryan will be able to play this weekend as Miami FC heads north to face Carolina RailHawks.