Every professional sports league has had to cope with the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Major Arena Soccer League is no different.
Still, the MASL is trying to prepare for the 2020-2021 season.
The first order of business for teams such as the Mesquite Outlaws is to fill out the roster and they did just that on Aug. 5 by signing local product Bradlee Baladez for the next two seasons.
“As we continue to piece the puzzle together, we are glad Baladez is joining us for another season,” Mesquite head coach Tatu said. “He is an elite competitor who fits the identity of our organization. We are looking forward to training as a team again.”
Baladez, a forward, shined in his first season with the Outlaws, tallying nine goals and one assist a year ago.
“I appreciate the opportunity and I am looking forward to getting back to the game of Major Arena Soccer to compete for a championship with my teammates,” Baladez said.
When Baladez joined the Outlaws last season, it represented a career that has come full circle.
Baladez was an all-district standout and Class of 2010 graduate at Mesquite High, where he earned district most valuable player honors.
In addition to his work with the United States Soccer Development Academy, he then moved onto South Carolina, where he played three seasons and was named the team offensive MVP.
Baladez began his professional career when he signed with FC Dallas in the Major League Soccer, making his debut in 2013.
He has since had stints with several different organizations before signing with Mesquite last season.
Baladez will not be the only representative on the Outlaws roster.
On July 29, Mesquite signed Naaman Forest graduate Cameron Brown.
Brown was a two-time Parade All-America selection while playing with the Rangers and he then went on to a standout career at North Carolina, where he helped the Tar Heels claim the NCAA College Cup Championship in 2011.
Brown spent several seasons with the Dallas Sidekicks, where he still holds the franchise record for most consecutive games scoring a goal at 26 in a row.
“I am very grateful for the opportunity that the Mesquite Outlaws organization has given me,” Brown said. “This is a blessing for my family and to be accepted into the franchise this season.”
Shaun David is a 38-year-old Mesquite native who got his start in the Mesquite Soccer Association and graduated from West Mesquite High School in 2003.
David opted to forego a college career to turn professional and has spent much of his career playing for a number of teams, including the Dallas Sidekicks, where he recorded 134 goals and 81 assists in 228 games, and has also spent time abroad playing internationally.
Brenden Lee is another local product who will be suiting up with the Outlaws.
Lee is a 2012 graduate of Frisco Centennial, who was a four-year varsity player and three-time team captain.
Lee, who was also a decorated club player, moved on to a standout career locally at SMU before turning his attention to a professional career, where he signed with the Outlaws last season.