RailHawks make a splash with signing of Mexican icon

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Mexican star Omar Bravo speaks on joining the Carolina RailHawks.

The Carolina RailHawks officially unveiled the team's biggest signing Tuesday night at halftime of their biggest home match.

The RailHawks introduced Mexican icon Omar Bravo to fans during halftime of their international friendly against English Premier League club West Ham United at WakeMed Soccer Park.

Bravo, 36, is a Liga MX legend, and the all-time leading scorer for Mexico's most-popular club, C.D. Guadalajara, commonly known as Chivas.

"We are thrilled to welcome Omar Bravo to our RailHawks family and look forward to seeing him on the field," said RailHawks President and General Manager Curt Johnson. "This is a testament to our continued commitment to winning and providing the best brand of soccer for our fans throughout North Carolina."

Bravo made his first-team debut with Chivas in 2001, and remained a starter until 2008, when he made a move to Europe with Deportivo La Coruna of Spain.

After a couple of brief stops, which included a stint with Sporting Kansas City of Major League Soccer in 2011, he eventually returned to Chivas, and became the team's top goalscorer on Aug. 12, 2015, with his 123rd goal for the club.

Bravo will likely make his NASL home debut for the RailHawks on July 22, when the RailHawks host Miami FC at WakeMed Soccer Park.

Signing with the RailHawks was an easy decision, Bravo said at the halftime ceremony, in which he wore his brand new RailHawks uniform. He said once the RailHawks made the offer, he quickly accepted.

Bravo has also enjoyed success internationally, scoring 15 goals in 65 matches for his country and helping Mexico win the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2003 and 2009. He also scored two goals in the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

"He adds so much," said RailHawks Head Coach Colin Clarke. "Obviously the first thing you look at is his goals and his goal scoring pattern. Wherever he's been he has always been prolific. He's a national team player, capped over 60 times. The other little intangibles are going to be his experience and having won championships and been through tough times and coming out the other side."

"I am ecstatic to begin another challenge in my career," Bravo said. "I am grateful for Colin (Clarke) for having confidence in me. I am coming to a league with a lot of tradition in the United States and it's an honor for me to be a part of a league that has a rich tradition and had players such as Pelé, Beckenbauer and Raul."

The RailHawks travel to Fort Lauderdale on Saturday to face the Strikers before returning home to host Miami FC on Friday at WakeMed Soccer Park at 7:30 p.m.

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