North Carolina FC is pleased to welcome a young but well-traveled veteran of the USL’s topflight in towering 6’5” defender Lamar Batista. The 25-year-old, Oklahoma City native has signed a two-year contract with the club through 2025, pending league and federation approval.
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Making it a Family Affair
Batista joins his adopted brother, Garrett McLaughlin, on the North Carolina FC roster. The two are the same high school graduating class, capturing three Oklahoma state titles together at Heritage Hall plus a national runners-up finish. They also won five club state championships for Oklahoma FC. McLaughlin re-signed with NCFC this off-season to a USL Championship contract after two years captaining the USL League One team, including the 2023 league championship.
Batista, at just 25 years old, will play for his sixth different USL Championship side in 2024. He started his career with Portland Timbers II in 2017. Batista has since played for the Colorado Springs Switchbacks, OKC Energy, Phoenix Rising, and – most recently – San Antonio FC. Across his time in the USL’s topflight, Batista has maintained duel and tackle success rates above 55% and 60%, respectively, across 6,426 minutes of league play.
Batista played one season of collegiate soccer with UC Santa Barbara, where he appeared in 18 games for UCSB while drawing 11 starts. Operating mostly as a center back and holding midfielder, he logged a total of 1,127 minutes; the most among the team’s newcomers. He started in 10 of the final 12 games of the season and helped the Gauchos to a league-best 0.75 goals against average in Big West play. He earned a spot on the 2016 Big West All-Freshmen team before moving on to a professional career.
Batista is the 13th new signing for North Carolina FC this off-season. Combining with 12 returning players, the roster now stands at 25 players for the 2024 campaign, which begins Saturday, March 9, when NCFC hosts the Charleston Battery at WakeMed Soccer Park.
ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA FC
North Carolina FC returns to play in the United Soccer League (USL) Championship (USSF Division II) in 2024. North Carolina FC enters its 18th season of competition in 2024, having played in several professional leagues as both North Carolina FC and the Carolina RailHawks. The team won the NASL (USSF Division II) regular season championship in 2011 and 2013 and won the USL League One (USSF Division III) Championship in 2023. Follow North Carolina FC on the web at www.northcarolinafc.com and on social media @NorthCarolinaFC.