Fan favorite and captain Connor Tobin headlines the recent string of Forward Madison FC roster announcements.
The 31-year-old defender saw the pitch more than any other player in Forward Madison’s inaugural season, but endeared himself to fans off the field with his engagement in the community.
“Connor is the captain of our team and the life of our club,” head coach Daryl Shore said in a statement. “Forward Madison is Connor Tobin and Connor Tobin is Forward Madison. He emulates everything our fans and our community is about.”
Tobin teased fans with a series of tweets over the course of the last two weeks before Forward made the announcement official on Twitter.
No more new chapters: He's back for real. pic.twitter.com/X802nl3CSs— Forward Madison FC (@ForwardMSNFC) February 17, 2020
Returning to the back line with Tobin is fullback Carl Schneider. Schneider, a Madison native and former Wisconsin Badger, appeared in 10 matches for the ‘Mingos last season.
“It’s important that we continue to build our club both on and off the field,” Shore said in a statement. “When you have players of quality that come from your city and your state, it’s important that you keep them on your team.”
The club re-signed another Wisconsin native in Louis Bennet, who appeared in nine matches with the Flamingos while on loan from USL Championship side Memphis 901 FC last season. Bennet, a 24-year-old midfielder, has played in Cyprus and the Czech Republic, as well as for the Swope Park Rangers of the USL Championship.
The ‘Mingos also signed defenders Eli Lockaby and Josiah Trimmington to shore up a defense that only conceded 28 goals last season, second best in the league.
Forward fans will remember Trimmington from his trial match against Minnesota United in a friendly last season. While the Flamingos had already maxed out their allowed international players last year, Trimmington impressed enough in the friendly to receive an offer from the club for this season.
Lockaby is a new face to Madison after playing in 22 matches for the Richmond Kickers last year. A Virginia Commonwealth University alum, Lockaby is a versatile defender who can grow with the club.
“Eli gave us a hard time when we played against Richmond,” Shore said in a statement. “He’s an athletic player, he gets up the field quite well and he’s a good 1-on-1 defender. We’re extremely excited that he’s decided to join our club.”
Following the transfer of Brian Sylvestre to Miami FC in January, the Flamingos needed to find a replacement in goal. Brandon Barnes, who re-signed with Forward Madison in late January, will have a shot at landing that open spot this season.
“We think Brandon has a bright future, so we felt it was important for him to be back, especially with the recent changes in our roster,” Shore said in a statement. “We thought having some continuity was important, and Brandon knows he’s going to have an opportunity to win the job.”
Expect the Flamingos to bring in a few more players to compete for that job and provide depth in the coming weeks.