Oklahoma City Energy FC signed its first player in team history on Wednesday afternoon, inking a deal with former Toronto FC center midfielder Michael Thomas.
The 25-year old Olathe, Kan., native stood in the lobby of the Oklahoma History Center looking out at the State Capitol before posing for pictures and signing a contract.
Energy FC head coach Jimmy Nielsen was all smiles and said he thought Thomas was the perfect fit for what Oklahoma City was trying to do.
“He's the guy you want on the field,” Nielsen said. “I called him before I signed my own contract.”
Nielsen and Thomas were teammates in Kansas City in 2012 and for the first half of 2013 before Thomas was traded to Toronto FC.
“A 30 minute conversation with Jimmy and I was sold,” Thomas said.
Thomas has played in eight career games in Major League Soccer, starting in three of them.
General Manager Jason Hawkins said going with Thomas had a lot to do with his ability to lead the ship.
“You have to have those central pieces. You have to start with the backbone,” Hawkins said.
Thomas played high school soccer at St. Thomas Aquinas in Kansas. He led his team to three state championships and earned a spot on the National Soccer Coaches Association of America's boys All-American team.
From there, Thomas went to Notre Dame. He played all four years for the Irish, scoring 19 goals and recording 13 assists. But Thomas doesn't want it to all about the goals.
“I'd love to contribute to as many goals and assists as possible, but I would also like to shut the other team out and contribute defensively too. I consider myself a two-way midfielder. Just being that consistent performer I think would be my biggest goal."