Defenders Evan Lee (center) and Tyler Polak (right) are among the players set to return to Greenville Triumph SC for the 2022 USL League One season. | Photo courtesy Greenville Triumph SC
GREENVILLE, S.C. – Greenville Triumph SC announced its initial roster moves for the 2022 USL League One season on Wednesday, with the club having exercised its contract option on goalkeeper Ben Hale while signing goalkeeper Paul Christensen, defender Evan Lee, midfielders Allen Gavilanes and Max Hemmings, and forwards Don Smart and Nico Brown to new contracts.
Triumph SC co-captain Tyler Polak is also set to return, having previously been under contract for the 2022 season. The veteran defender – who served as the club’s first signing prior to its inaugural season in 2019 – has twice previously been named to the USL League One All-League First Team and ranks first all-time in league history with 75 regular season appearances in his career.
Joining Polak for their fourth seasons with Greenville are Lee and Hemmings, with Lee having also previously played alongside Polak and for Triumph SC Head Coach John Harkes at FC Cincinnati in the USL Championship. Hemmings was signed early in Greenville’s inaugural season upon graduating from Georgia State.
Christensen will return to the side after closing the 2021 campaign as the starter in goal for Triumph SC as the side reached its third consecutive USL League One Final. The 25-year-old made 12 appearances for the side in 2021 and recorded eight shutouts while posting a 0.65 goals-against average and a save percentage of 74.2 percent. He will be joined in goal by 2021 midseason signee Hale, who came to the Triumph following his graduation from Furman.
Gavilanes returns to the side after being voted by the club as its 2021 Rookie of the Year having recorded two goals, three assists and a team-high 38 chances created in 26 appearances across the regular season and playoffs.
Veteran forward Smart also returns for a second season in Greenville after joining the club from fellow League One club Forward Madison FC ahead of the 2021 campaign. Smart recorded two goals and two assists while sitting second to Gavilanes on the side with 32 chances created, while he will be joined in the attack by Nico Brown, who provided an offensive spark after signing with Greenville late in the 2021 regular season.
Greenville is currently in discussions with additional players from the 2021 roster about returning to the team and anticipates announcing new player signings in the coming weeks.