Nashville SC announced Wednesday that they have signed midfielder Tah Brian Anunga to their roster ahead of the 2020 Major League Soccer season. Anunga, 23, will join Nashville on January 18 ahead of their preseason camp in Bradenton, Florida. Anunga holds a US green card and will count as a domestic player for MLS roster purposes.
“Brian has demonstrated his ability to impact games at the USL level, and at a relatively young age,” said Nashville SC GM Mike Jacobs. “His tenacity and versatility on both sides of the ball fits our profile of what we look for in deep-lying central midfielders.”
Anunga started his professional career in USL with the Wilmington Hammerheads at the age of 17. He’s since played with Carolina Dynamo and has been with Charleston Battery for the past three seasons. He’s been a regular with Cameroon’s youth national team system, representing his country at the U17, U20 and U23 levels.
A box-to-box midfielder who’s strong defensively but able to start plays from a deeper position, he fits the “Nashville SC DNA” that is often preached by the club’s technical staff, and he brings a lot of similarities to some of the other midfielders in the squad.
He has an incredibly high workrate, and has showed an ability so slide into a right back role as well. In possession, he looks to quickly move the ball wide or play a line-breaking pass into feet. He has a solid understanding of space, and while he has a high motor, he also knows how to slightly shift his positioning to make himself open for a pass. He finished 2019 with a 81.6% passing accuracy, which is solid considering a lot of his passes tend to be ambitious. Defensively, he covers a lot of ground and shields the back four, and can quickly close down opposing players, winning a solid 1.92 tackles per 96 last season.
According to The Athletic‘s Jeff Rueter, Nashville paid a transfer fee of $50,000 for Anunga, one of the rare instances of USL receiving a transfer fee for a player.
Anunga is the ninth player signed to Nashville’s MLS roster who spent the 2019 season in USL. He has a lot of upside, but competition for minutes will be intense, and as with the other players brought in from USL, he’ll likely be given a smaller role in the squad to start the season.
Players report for the season on January 18. They’ll attend Nashville’s jersey reveal event before traveling to Florida on the 19th for preseason training camp.