Chicago House AC's Roster Grows With Three More Additions

The House Roster Now Sits At 15 Total Players With Additions At Midfield, Defense and Goalkeeper
Published Jul 16, 2021

CHICAGO, IL (July 16th, 2021) – Chicago House Athletic Club, Chicago’s newest professional soccer team, announced the signing of three players to their active roster. Midfielder Michael Kafari, defender Stefan Mijatovic and goalkeeper Brandon Barnes will officially join the House in advance of their friendly match against Steel City FC in Kankakee on Saturday July 17th, 2021.

“We are excited with how the team is shaping up,” shares Chicago House AC Head Coach & Technical Director, C.J. Brown. “We are picking up players that are hungry for the game and love to play. They come to compete everyday and it will soon pay dividends.”

Midfielder Michael Kafari joins the House after spending the Spring 2021 season with New Amsterdam FC in the National Independent Soccer Association. Kafari, 29, brings a wealth of professional soccer experience to the club in advance of their inaugural season. Following his time playing Division I collegiate soccer at the University of New Mexico from 2010-2014, Kafari was a part of the Major League Soccer Combine in 2014 and saw time with Sporting Kansas City in MLS that same year.

After his brief stint in MLS, Kafari traveled overseas to play in Sweden with IFK Ostersund in 2015 before returning stateside to compete with Puerto Rico FC in the NASL during the 2016 and 2017 seasons. He then returned to Sweden to join Motala AIF in 2019 before settling back in the United States with the New York Cosmos in 2019 and Detroit City FC in 2020.

“We are excited to bring Kafari's leadership and experience to our team,” Coach Brown notes. “We feel he will be a great addition to playing in our system and working in the community. Michael will play as a holding-mid and also has the qualities to be a center back, if needed. I love the way he breaks up plays and supports the attack. He is a no nonsense player for me and gets the job done.”

“I’m excited to make Chicago my new home and I can’t wait for the season to start,” says Chicago’s newest midfielder, Michael Kafari.

The House adds defensive reinforcements with the signing of former York High School soccer player and Elmhurst resident, Stefan Mijatovic, 24. Mijatovic got his start playing professional indoor soccer with his hometown Chicago Mustangs during the 2016 and 2017 seasons. From there, he moved south where he saw stints with the Orlando Seawolves from 2018-2019 and the Florida Tropics from 2019-2020. Mijatovic returned to the Midwest to join the St. Louis Ambush in 2020 before joining Chicago House AC on trial and eventually being signed by Head Coach C.J. Brown.

“Stefan is a local product who comes to us with a different professional experience, competing in indoor soccer,” explains Coach Brown. “He has been dominant in the local Chicago leagues. He is strong and powerful in the air, not afraid to get stuck in and has confidence on the ball. He is making a huge sacrifice and commitment to following his dream. He has a very high ceiling.”

“I’m thankful and blessed for this opportunity to represent Chicago House AC. It’s also an honor to be playing for the legend himself, C.J. Brown,” says Mijatovic. “It means the world to me that I can play in front of my hometown and in front of all my friends, family and community. I can’t wait to get out there and go to battle with my new family. I’m excited to be a part of this new journey, and can’t wait to get out there and bring a championship here to Chicago!”

Another local product, Brandon Barnes, 26, becomes the third goalkeeper on Chicago House AC’s roster, joining Mike Novotny and Joel Serrano. Prior to signing with the House, Barnes competed with Forward Madison in USL League One starting in 2019. During this period, he saw action with the Charlotte Independence in the USL Championship League while on loan. Prior to his time with the ‘Mingos, Barnes saw time with the Richmond Kickers in the USL Championship League during the 2018 season.

Barnes played collegiate soccer in both the Missouri Valley Conference with Bradley University during the 2017-2018 season, and in the Big East Conference with Seton Hall University from 2013-2017. During his senior year at Bradley University, Barnes started 21 matches and ranked 2nd in the nation in total saves (103), 9th in save percentage (.851) and 11th in shutouts (9.5). This earned Barnes All-Missouri Valley Conference honors. Following his graduation from Bradley University in 2018, Barnes joined the Laredo Heat in the Lone Star Conference where he started 7 games in net during the Heat’s 12-0 season. Barnes competed at the youth club level with Sockers FC Chicago for two years.

“Brandon will be a great addition to our goalkeeper crew,” says Brown of his newest goalkeeper. “He will help challenge those around him while fighting for the #1 spot. With a great attitude and work ethic, he will keep the group in front of him organized and alert and will be ready to make that game saver whenever needed. Has proven to be a good shot saver in preseason so far.”

“I am extremely excited to be part of Chicago House in their inaugural year,” says Barnes. “I'm looking forward to playing and developing under our knowledgeable coaching staff. Most of all, I can't wait to represent the house and the people of Chicago out on the pitch.”

Pending registration approval from NISA and USSF, the additions of Michael Kafari, Stefan Mijatovic, and Brandon Barnes brings Chicago House AC’s roster to fifteen players:

Chicago House AC Roster (as of July 16th, 2021):

Forwards (2): Jacob Bevan, Wojciech Wojcik

Midfielders (7): Leonardo Acosta, Damon Almazan, Drew Conner, Michael Kafari, Matteo Kidd, Michael Kozielek, Keegan Thompson

Defenders (3): David Abidor, Stefan Mijatovic, Rodolfo Sulia

Goalkeepers (3): Brandon Barnes, Mike Novotny, Joel Serrano

Chicago House AC Transactions - July 16th, 2021:

  • Chicago House AC signs midfielder Michael Kafari to their active roster on July 7th, 2021.
  • Chicago House AC signs defender Stefan Mijatovic to their active roster on July 7th, 2021.
  • Chicago House AC signs goalkeeper Brandon Barnes to their active roster on July 7th, 2021.

For more information on Chicago House AC’s roster, please visit www.chicagohouseac.com/roster.

 

ABOUT Chicago House Athletic Club

Founded in 2020, Chicago House Athletic Club is a community-based professional soccer team which will begin play in Fall 2021 at the 20,000 capacity SeatGeek Stadium at 71st and Harlem in Bridgeview, Illinois. The team will compete in the National Independent Soccer Association (NISA,) a U.S. Soccer sanctioned third division league. Led by Managing Partner, President & CEO Peter Wilt, Chicago House AC is a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC) committed to transparency and working with its constituents to use its platform for social justice, diversity, equality, inclusion and community improvement. For more information, contact us at info@chicagohouseac.com, visit www.chicagohouseac.com and follow on social media @ChicagoHouse_AC. “Our City, Our House.”

ABOUT the National Independent Soccer Association (NISA)

The National Independent Soccer Association was founded in 2017 with a mission to bring professional soccer to every city in the United States. A pro league member of U.S. Soccer, NISA focuses on a model based on meritocracy, independent clubs controlling their own league, clubs owning their intellectual property, all without the barrier of territorial rights. Sanctioned by the U.S. Soccer Federation, NISA also runs the mid-summer pro-am Independent Cup tournament, the year-long amateur league NISA Nation, and NISA Media. For more information about NISA visit NISAOfficial.com or contact at info@nisasoccer.com. Follow NISA on Twitter @NISALeague and on Instagram @nisasoccer.

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