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Bulls in the pros: three former soccer players make big moves

Former goalkeeper Harrison Devenish-Meares celebrates with fans following a 2-0 victory over then-No. 5 Louisville on Sept. 9. Devenish-Meares was one of three former USF soccer players to make pro moves this week. ORACLE PHOTO/BRIAN HATTAB

There might not be a college soccer season this fall, but there’s plenty going on in the world of pro soccer.

As preseasons begin for European teams, so starts the cycle of contract renewals, new signings, loan deals and, of course, first professional contracts. 

Three former USF soccer stars joined new teams this week — forward Evelyne Viens signed a new loan deal, while goalkeeper Harrison Devenish-Meares and fullback Brianna Blethen both signed their first professional contracts.

Viens joins Paris FC on loan

It’s been just over a month since Viens scored her first pro goal for Sky Blue FC in the NWSL Challenge Cup semifinal 3-2 loss against the Chicago Red Stars, but now she’s on the move again.

Viens on Friday joined Paris FC on loan for the 2020-21 season.

“It was a great opportunity for me. I am happy to be able to develop new aspects of my game with Paris FC, especially the tactical aspect,” Viens said in a statement posted by Paris FC.

Viens made her debut for Sky Blue off the bench in New Jersey’s NWSL Challenge Cup opener. She made her first start the following game in a 1-0 loss to Utah Royals.

Viens appeared in all six games and scored once.

Devenish-Meares signs first pro contract

Men’s soccer’s former brick wall Harrison Devenish-Meares has taken the first steps of his pro career.

Devenish-Meares on Friday signed for Romanian side FC Rapid Bucuresti.

“This is both a huge accomplishment for me, but also the start of something new and exciting,” he posted to Instagram. “Thanks to my family and friends in Australia and all around the world for your support. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to keep playing.”

Last season, he made 49 saves in 16 games to lead the Bulls to their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2016.

He made 116 saves across 35 games in his USF career.

Blethen signs first pro deal

Former USF women’s soccer fullback Brianna Blethen is one of the latest in the trend of American players moving to Europe.

She signed her first professional contract on Monday with Czech First League team 1.FC Slovácko Ženy.

“It’s been quite a process to get here but I’m so excited to finally announce that I have signed my first contract to play professional soccer overseas for 1.FC Slovácko Ženy in the Czech Republic,” Blethen wrote on Instagram.

She helped lead USF to the third round of the NCAA tournament last season, appearing in 21 games and starting 20.

During her time with USF, she scored four goals, assisted five and took part in 27 shutouts across 73 appearances.