Duo to Make Indoor Debut this Sunday in Chicago
Laventure will join the New Jersey Ironmen this Sunday.
Newark, N.J. (Thursday, February 12, 2009) – The New Jersey Ironmen formally announced today the addition of two New Jersey college products. Former New York Red Bull/ Seton Hall standout Jerrod Laventure and St. Benedict’s Prep/ New Jersey City University midfielder Edison Bilbao will play the first games of their professional indoor careers this Sunday when the Ironmen travel to Chicago for a 4:00 p.m. start against the Storm at U.S. Cellular Centre Arena.
The duo has prior experience together, playing as teammates in helping the Newark Ironbound Express Soccer Club reach the Eastern Conference playoffs in their inaugural season this past summer in the USL Premier Development League. Laventure was second on the Express with 20 points on nine goals and a pair of assists in 13 games, leading to an All-Eastern Conference selection.
“Jerrod is a natural forward, but he has been training with us as a defender,” Ironmen Head Coach Omid Namazi commented about the Haitian striker. “He is a tenacious player with very good athletic ability, and we feel those qualities will make him a nice addition to our team.”
While playing college soccer at Seton Hall University, Laventure tallied 40 points in four seasons with the Pirates. He knocked in 14 goals and assisted on an additional 12 scores. Following his senior year, he was named to the All-Big East First Team after registering eight goals and six assists. After that last season in South Orange, Laventure signed a developmental contract with Red Bull New York of Major League Soccer (MLS) in 2006, making his debut that year against FC Dallas on July 8. He made an immediate impression in the MLS by notching an assist in his first appearance. He then won the MLS Goal of the Week when he scored his first career professional goal on a 30-yard chip over Columbus Crew goalkeeper Noah Palmer. Laventure has also earned two caps with the Haitian National Team.
Joining Laventure in the Maroon and Mandarin this Sunday will be his teammate from the Express, Edison Bilbao.
“Edison makes quick decisions, and the ball is never at his feet too long,” Namazi stated. “He also plays at a good pace, which will help in the transition game. While he may be small in stature, he is tough and plays big.”
Edison and his identical twin brother, Jonathan, moved to Carteret, New Jersey, by means of Santiago, Chile, at the age of 11. They both played high school soccer at powerhouse St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, which produced such former U.S. National Team stars Claudio Reyna and Tab Ramos. From there they headed to the college ranks at New Jersey City University, where Edison was twice named the New Jersey Athletic Conference Midfielder of the Year. Edison hit six game-winners for the Gothic Knights in college, and his 79 points rank him fourth in school history.
Following the contest on Sunday, the Ironmen return to Prudential Center for a pair of midweek games next Wednesday and Thursday. On Wednesday, New Jersey will host the Detroit Ignition at 11:00 a.m. in a special business outing game before hosting the Chicago Storm in a Thursday night showdown at 7:30 p.m. Joining the Ironmen as honorary captain that Thursday will be former IBF Junior Welterweight Champion Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi.