The travel ban saga surrounding Spanish midfielder Manuel Ferriol Martínez is finally over. The Levante Unión Deportiva product rejoins FC Tucson and lands in the Old Pueblo six months after signing with the club.
“I’m so happy to finally be here with the team. This is what I have wanted ever since I was a kid, to be a professional,” says Ferriol. “I am so thankful to Tucson for the opportunity. I look forward to working hard for the team and hopefully we can achieve all the goals the club set at the beginning of the season.”
Ferriol, 22, officially signed for the club on February 27, 2020. Due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Ferriol remained in Spain before being allowed to return stateside. He joins after being selected 40th overall by FC Dallas in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft - however, was not signed by the club.
“Delighted to finally welcome Manu to the club. It’s been a long wait, but well worth the wait,” said FC Tucson Head Coach John Galas. “He’s an exciting dynamic attacking mid that brings great quality and a high football IQ to our team.”
Born in Valencia, Spain, the Spaniard developed within the Levante academy in La Liga for four years, from 2010 to 2016 before joining NCAA Division 1 soccer program James Madison University (JMU) in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Ferriol played three seasons with James Madison University, making 64 appearances, scoring 30 goals and adding 10 assists. The midfielder collected accolades such as CAA Player of the Year, All-CAA First Team, ECAC Offensive Player of the Year. Ferriol has experience playing in the No. 10 role from his time at JMU and played the No. 6 and 8 roles during his Levante academy development.
Now in Tucson's Kino Sports Complex, Ferriol has made officially made his return to the field, making his professional debut in the club’s 2-0 loss to 2019 USL League One Champions, North Texas SC on September 12, 2020. Ferriol entered the match in the 79th minute, playing 11 minutes.
“My first goals are to help the team in whichever way I can. Whether it’s on the bench or starting in the first 11, I don't care, I just want to help the team,” said Ferriol. “If it’s with goals and assists it will be better but the common goal is the most important to me of trying to win the league.”
Ferriol will be available for selection in FC Tucson’s next match against New England Revolution II on Wednesday, Sept. 16 at Kino Sports Complex.