Photo courtesy Mark Thor / Orlando City SC
FRESNO, Calif. – Fresno Football Club announced on Thursday the club had signed defender Zachary Ellis-Hayden to a 2018 USL contract, pending league and federation approval. Ellis-Hayden joins Mickey Daly in the Foxes’ inaugural back line after playing the previous two seasons with Orlando City B.
“Zachary is a player that both myself and [General Manager] Frank Yallop have identified as someone who is extremely athletic,” said Fresno FC head coach Adam Smith. “He’s somebody that’s proven with Orlando that he can compete in the league, and, I think, there’s a lot more to come from him. I can’t teach athleticism. That’s a god-given talent, and he’s blessed with that. What we can do is sort of fine tune him and make him into a really good, modern-day full back.”
Ellis-Hayden appeared in 24 matches for OCB in the 2017 season, and won a team-leading 45 tackles, becoming a key part of a defense that recorded 11 clean sheets in the regular season. He also scored one goal, a game-tying tally against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, that earned him USL Team of the Week honors in Week 11. In his first season at Orlando, Ellis-Hayden had three assists in 21 appearances.
Prior to the USL, Ellis-Hayden was part of the K-W United FC side that claimed the 2015 PDL Championship. A native of Kitchener, Canada, Ellis-Hayden played college at Cleveland State University, where he was a four-year standout, winning a Horizon League title and earning All-Horizon League First Team honors as a senior.
Ellis-Hayden is the Foxes’ eighth signing as they build their roster for the 2018 USL season. Also on the roster are Daly, Agustin Cazarez, Christian Chaney, Matthew Baldisimo, Sean Melvin, Terran Campbell, and Rony Argueta.