FRESNO, Calif. — Fresno Football Club has signed versatile winger Jemal Johnson for the club’s inaugural season in the United Soccer League, pending league and federation approval. Johnson, 32, played in Europe from 2004 to 2012 before spending the previous five years with various clubs in the North American Soccer League. He joins the Foxes from Jacksonville Armada FC, where he departs as the club’s all-time leader in appearances with 76 matches played.
“Jemal is an exciting, wide forward and has an eye for goal from long range,” said general manager Frank Yallop. “He brings a great amount of experience having many years in Europe and later in the NASL. We are looking forward to having him join Fresno Football Club.”
Johnson started his soccer career in England with clubs like Manchester United and later Blackburn Rovers Academy. He made his professional debut at 20 years old, coming on as a substitute for Blackburn in a FA Cup third round match. That year also saw him make his English Premier League debut, with three substitute appearances during the 2004-05 season.
Johnson has also played for Wolverhampton Wanderers, Leeds United, Milton Keynes Dons and Lokomotiv Sofia among others. During his time in Europe, he scored 25 goals and provided 13 assists in 194 career appearances.
Most recently, Johnson tallied seven goals and 10 assists in three years with the Armada. He holds the club’s record for fastest goal when he scored just 12 seconds into the Armada’s inaugural NASL match in 2015. Before Jacksonville, Johnson played two seasons with New York Cosmos and one season with Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
Jemal Johnson / Photo courtesy of Jacksonville Armada FC
Johnson is the Foxes' 13th player signing ahead of the 2018 USL season. Also on the roster are Rony Argueta, Agustin Cazarez, Mickey Daly, Christian Chaney, Matthew Baldisimo, Sean Melvin, Terran Campbell, Zachary Ellis-Hayden, Lamin Suma, Juan Pablo Caffa and Alejandro Covarrubias.
Fresno FC will kick off its inaugural season in the USL on March 17, 2018 against Las Vegas Lights FC at Chukchansi Park. Fans interested in season tickets can contact The Foxes’ sales office at 559-320-2525 or FresnoFC.com.
Transaction: Fresno Football Club sign forward Jemal Johnson to a one-year contract on Jan. 18, 2017.
Name: Jemal Johnson
Weight: 168 lbs.
Date of Birth: May 3, 1985
Hometown: Manchester, England
Last Club: Jacksonville Armada FC (NASL)