The 24-year-old Mentzingen will add a unique dynamic to the Red Wolves' attack in 2021 / Photo courtesy Memphis 901 FC
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Chattanooga Red Wolves SC announced Friday the signing of forward Rafael Mentzingen as the 16th addition to the club's 2021 squad, pending league and federation approval.
Born in Rio De Janeiro, Mentzingen spent his youth career in Brazil before moving to America to begin his collegiate soccer career. The 24-year-old played at Bryan College in Tennessee, where he was teammates with current Red Wolves defender Jonathan Ricketts. Mentzingen completed his collegiate career with NCAA Division I program Valparaiso University, and was then selected in the fourth round of the 2019 MLS SuperDraft by Columbus Crew SC.
Mentzingen began his professional career in USL League One during its inaugural 2019 season, putting away six goals and notching seven assists with Lansing Ignite. In 2020, he signed for the USL Championship's Memphis 901 FC, recording three goals and one assist for the club last season.
Head Coach Jimmy Obleda is eager to see the dynamic Brazilian implemented into his USL League One squad.
“Rafa is a player of the highest quality,” sayid Obleda. “He checks all the boxes of what we are looking for in our attacking players, he has it all and does it all very well. Rafa will be someone that the team will be looking at to take the game by the scruff of the neck when needed.”
Red Wolves General Manager and President Sean McDaniel sees Mentzingen as a key addition to the 2021 roster.
“While most clubs would be satisfied to have our goal production from last year, it really didn’t meet our expectations considering our style of play,” said McDaniel. “We felt it was critical to bolster our attack and find players that can create quality chances for us in front of the net. I’ve watched Rafa’s career for several years and he’s exactly what we have been missing.”
For Rafa, coming back to Chattanooga for the first time since his college days is something he’s looked forward to for a long time.
“I feel like Chattanooga is home,” said Mentzingen. “I already have a strong community of friends in the city and love the beautiful hiking spots Chattanooga has to offer. It’s such a passionate city for sports, I’m very excited to begin the next chapter of my career back in Chattanooga.
"To the fans, we are going to give our 110% to bring this trophy to the city. I would like to ask for your full support, cheering and singing throughout our matches."