NASHVILLE, TN – Nashville SC and Huntsville City FC announced Isaiah Johnston as the first-ever signing in the MLS NEXT Pro club’s history. The 21-year-old midfielder spent the last three seasons with York United FC in the Canadian Premier League, where he made 53 appearances in all competitions. Nashville paid an undisclosed transfer fee to York United.
From the press release:
Huntsville City Football Club today announced Isaiah Johnston as its first-ever player signing ahead of the club’s inaugural MLS NEXT Pro Season which is scheduled to kick off in the spring of 2023. Johnston’s MLS NEXT Pro professional contract is pending league and U.S. Soccer Federation approval as well as the receipt of his ITC and work authorization. The financial terms of the transaction will not be disclosed.
“Isaiah is a talented young midfielder who has the qualities we look for in a potential first team player for Nashville SC. In many ways, he embodies the project behind Huntsville City FC as a talented prospect who has the potential to influence winning, and will continue to grow and make strides in MLS NEXT Pro with HCFC,” said Mike Jacobs, General Manager of Nashville SC and its affiliates, including Huntsville City FC.
As an affiliate of Major League Soccer club Nashville SC, Huntsville City FC players may see an opportunity to move to Huntsville’s parent club throughout the season.
“Hey Huntsville! I’m so excited to be joining the first professional football club in the beautiful city of Huntsville, Alabama,” said Johnston. “Being the first signing in club history means everything to me, as the club has showed faith in my abilities as a footballer and I will give everything to keep that faith in them and for the fans of Huntsville. Thank you for all the support we have already received. I can’t wait to get started and play in front of all our Huntsville City FC enthusiasts!”
After making his professional debut at just 18 years old, Johnston has already amassed 3,901 minutes and just turned 21 last week. 43 of his 53 appearances for York United were starts, as he quickly integrated himself as a core member of the squad and a high-potential prospect in Canadian soccer.
At 6’0″, he’s a physically imposing midfielder, capable of playing as a no. 10 or in a deeper box-to-box role. He’s more than willing to take players on with the ball, making late runs into the box to get on the end of service. With a good range of passing, he consistently looks to move the ball forward, capable of hitting a mean diagonal ball to an overlapping fullback.
At just barely 21, Johnston still has a lot of room to develop, but it’s not hard to see a player with his upside and profile at a position of need for Nashville SC eventually growing into a first-team role. He’ll be one to watch closely with Huntsville in 2023.