Mark Hartmann, Justin Bass banner new United City signings

Originally published by Tiebreaker Times

Reigning Philippine champion United City has rebuilt, redesigned, and re-energized its lineup just in time for the upcoming 2021 AFC Champions League.

A week after announcing its holdovers from last season’s Philippines Football league bubble tournament, United City divulged on its social media accounts the new recruits who they hope can bring the club to the next level.

Perhaps the biggest name United City has signed is veteran Mark Hartmann, who last represented Global and Ceres-Negros on Philippine shores. He has also competed for numerous clubs across Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand.

The 29-year-old last suited up for Malaysian side Universiti Teknologi MARA and has 26 caps to his name with the Azkals.

Another high profile addition to the club is Justin Baas, who made waves as part of the Philippine Under-23 National Men’s Football team in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. The 21-year-old is expected to shore up his new team’s defensive prowess with his tall frame at 6-foot-1.

Familiar names also coming in to provide some top competition for its starting 11 include forward Curt Dizon; siblings Omid and Amin Nazari; former Ateneo de Manila University center-back William Grierson; Mendiola 1991 standout goalie Kenry Balob; and former Kaya, Stallions, and Davao Aguilas man Adam Reed.

Midfielder Andreas Esswein, who signed for Global in the past, Nottingham Forest academy graduate Kieran Hayes, 20-year-old Ryan Jarvis, American defender Jonny Campbell, and South Korean wing-back Jung Da-hwon round up the new signings of the Eric Gottschalk-owned club.

United City shall commence its 2021 AFC Champions League campaign either in June or July this year. The four-time Filipino champions are up against China’s Beijing Guoan, Japan’s Kawasaki Frontale and one of Daegu or Chiangrai United. The venue of these matches, though, has not yet been decided.

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