CINCINNATI – FC Cincinnati has signed midfielder Nazmi Albadawi ahead of FC Cincinnati’s debut season in Major League Soccer. Albadawi, 27, will be on an MLS roster for the first time after playing four seasons in the NASL with North Carolina FC (2014-17) and one season in the USL with FC Cincinnati (2018).
As a United States citizen, Albadawi will occupy a domestic roster spot on Cincinnati’s 2019 MLS roster.
“It’s always been my dream to play in MLS. I’ve had a few opportunities in the past, but they didn’t necessarily feel right at the time,” Albadawi said. “Now, I’m very grateful, very thankful to Cincinnati for giving me the opportunity. I feel very at home at this club and I couldn’t be happier to make the move with them.”
Albadawi joined FC Cincinnati on Jan. 15, 2018. During his season with the Orange and Blue in the USL, he made 27 appearances, including 24 starts, recorded a career-high 11 goals and added four assists.
“Nazmi had a terrific season for us last year and we are thrilled to give him his first opportunity in MLS,” Koch said. “He is a player that has shown consistency every year of his professional career. He has very high expectations of himself, which is great, because we’ll be there to push him along the way and hopefully we’ll continue to see very positive performances from him."
In addition, Albadawi has been named to Palestine’s roster for a training camp in Doha, Qatar as well as four international friendlies prior to the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. Albadawi and Palestine will play Yemen (Dec. 20), Iran (Dec. 24), Iraq (Dec. 28) and Kyrgyzstan (Dec. 31). The midfielder was named to Palestine’s preliminary roster for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, the final roster is expected to be announced during the final week of December. On Nov. 16, 2018, Albadawi made his international debut with Palestine. In his first match, he scored the game-winning goal in a 2-1 win against Pakistan at Faisal Al-Husseini International Stadium in Al-Ram, Palestine.
The Raleigh, N.C., native proved to be one of FC Cincinnati’s greatest offensive threats in 2018. After missing the first five matches at the beginning of the season with an injury, he played in 27 of Cincinnati’s last 29 matches. Along with Emmanuel Ledesma (16), Corben Bone (11) and Danni König (11), Albadawi was one of FC Cincinnati’s four players to reach at least 10 goals on the season. He scored in four consecutive matches from June 13-30 during the beginning of FCC’s USL record 23-match unbeaten run. He started each of FC Cincinnati’s two USL Cup Playoffs matches.
Albadawi’s professional career began in 2014, when he signed with the NASL’s North Carolina FC after a four-year career at NC State. The midfielder went on to make 108 appearances with 103 starts across all competitions for North Carolina FC from 2014-17, he scored 18 goals and added 19 assists. He was named to the NASL All-League First-Team in each of his final two seasons with the club.
The next time Cincinnati takes the field, it will be as MLS’ 24th team in 2019 when the club debuts in the top professional league in the U.S. and Canada. Season tickets for the 2019 season are now on sale at fccincinnati.com/tickets.
For up-to-the-minute information about FC Cincinnati, visit the team’s official website at fccincinnati.com, or follow the team on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @FCCincinnati. For more information about FC Cincinnati tickets - including 2019 season tickets - call 513-977-KICK (5425) or visit fccincinnati.com/tickets.
Transaction: FC Cincinnati signed M Nazmi Albadawi as a free agent on Dec. 10, 2018.
Pronunciation: NAHZ-me al-bah-DAHH-wee
Jersey Number: 5
Birthdate: August 24, 1991
Birthplace: Raleigh, N.C.
Hometown: Raleigh, N.C.
Last Club: FC Cincinnati (USL)
Nationality: United States
MLS Roster Status: Domestic Player
How Acquired: Signed as a free agent on Dec. 10, 2018