Zaire Bartley scored several key playoff goals for Cosmos B last summer. (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)
Bronx native and forward Zaire Bartley, one of the Cosmos B playoff heroes last year, has signed with Madison FC of the USL League One for 2019.
His signing was pending league and federation approval.
Bartley, 20, stood out for Cosmos B during the National Premier Soccer League postseason.
After scoring once off the bench during the regular season, Bartley might not have been the leading candidate to become the playoff surprise. But the former Jamaican youth international rose to the occasion and then some, scoring four times in as many matches in the playoffs.
He certainly gave the club a big lift, tallying the insurance goal in the 4-2 win over the Express in the conference semifinals, a goal against the Brooklyn Italians in the final and two in the 2-0 win over FC Frederick in the Northeast Region semifinals July 18.
After the NPSL season, Bartley played with Vyskov in the Czech third division.
“Zaire can play as a winger or as a center forward,” Madison head coach Daryl Shore said. “Even though he is only 20, Zaire’s upside is very big. He came to us highly recommended from Damani Ralph [former MLS rookie of the year) and he’s already had professional experience.”
Bartley will take cues from his longtime friend Don Smart, FMFC’s first signing. Like Smart, Bartley grew up in New York with a Jamaican family. He is eligible for Jamaica’s national team through his parents. Bartley has played for the Jamaica Under-17 team.
“Don gave me a call and he convinced me to come to Madison,” Bartley said. “It’s great knowing that I have somebody there in my corner.”