Defender Mickey Daly and forward Gabe Gissie, two members of Republic FC’s 2014 USL championship team, have signed with Bethlehem Steel FC, the Philadelphia Union’s new USL affiliate.
They were two of the first three players signed by Republic FC and they join midfielder Rodrigo Lopez as inaugural members of the USL expansion franchise who have decided not to return to the team.
Daly, 28, a stalwart in central defense, was named to the USL second team last season after appearing in 33 games and playing 2,899 minutes. In his two seasons in Sacramento, Daly appeared in 66 matches and had six goals and two assists.
“Michael will be a steadying presence for us in the back as we anticipate having a young team,” Bethlehem Steel FC coach Brendan Burke said in a news release. “His experience as a winner in this league should be a great asset to us in 2016.”
Gissie, 19, was Republic FC’s youngest player and appeared in 19 games last season, mostly as a reserve. He had three assists and scored a game-winning goal against the Oklahoma City Energy FC.
“He has already been a pro for two years at a young age and played in some big games, including a final,” Burke said.
Republic FC coach and technical director Paul Buckle said it was tough to lose both players but understood why they signed with a team affiliated with MLS.
“We are obviously disappointed to lose Mickey, but he expressed a wish to play MLS soccer and felt the offer from the Philadelphia Union’s USL affiliate will support those efforts,” Buckle said in a release.
Buckle said Gissie, who is from Logantown, Pa., had an opportunity to play closer to his family.
“He is remarkable as a player and a person,” Buckle said. “We respect his decision and wish him the best.”