Forward Madison FC has re-signed midfielder Eric Leonard for its 2020 season, the club announced Tuesday. Leonard, 24, made a significant impression in his first season as a professional, earning a starting spot in defensive midfield and playing in all of the Flamingos’ USL League One games.
According to head coach Daryl Shore, Leonard’s return spells good news for FMFC’s defensive solidity.
“Eric was an integral part of how we defended as a group, and the spirit and the fight he brought to every game became a big part of how we played throughout the season,” Shore said. “Eric will continue his role on the defensive side of the ball next season, but we also feel he has the capability to expand his game and become more of a two-way player.”
Leonard, who grew up in Palatine, Ill., captained Butler University before joining Nerang Soccer Club in Australia in 2018. Dubbed the "American Import" upon his arrival in Australia, Leonard made an immediate impact in the Outback, earning the Gold Coast Premier League Player of the Year award.
Upon his return to the United States, Leonard won a spot on Forward’s inaugural roster, impressing Shore in an invitation-only trial. During his first year, Leonard may not have scored a goal, but he provided the Flamingos’ defensive backbone: Forward Madison averaged 1.95 points per game when Leonard started at defensive midfield.
For Leonard, his second season with Forward Madison represents a chance to take more of a leadership role and prove 2019’s successes didn’t come by accident.
“Any pro player can come in and have a stellar year and do well, but for me it’s not about the first year, it’s about [showing I] can be consistent,” Leonard said. “This community has become a family to me, so I’m really excited to be back on the team.”
Season tickets for Forward Madison FC’s 2020 season are now available! Get yours by calling 608-204-0855 or visit https://www.forwardmadisonfc.com/season-tickets.