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Red Wolves sign three players from Chattanooga, Utah academies

By Staff, 02/27/24, 10:45AM EST


Blake Oberholzer, Gharett Morris and Fernando Guerrero will join Chattanooga on USL Academy contracts

Blake Oberholzer (center), Gharett Morris (left) and Fernando Guerrero (right) will join Chattanooga on USL Academy contracts | Image Credit: Chattanooga Red Wolves SC

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Chattanooga Red Wolves SC announced the signings of Blake Oberholzer, Gharett Morris and Fernando Guerrero from its Chattanooga and Utah academies ahead of the 2024 season, pending league and federation approval. 

These signings mark the fourth, fifth and sixth players from the club's academies to sign USL Academy contracts. With the club containing one of the few complete pathways to pro in the country, these signings mark not only a significant personal achievement for each player but also yet another proof of concept for the club’s mission. 

"One of the major strategic moves I want to make as the Technical Director and the Head Coach of Chattanooga Red Wolves SC is to make sure there is consistent and quality synergy between our youth programs and our first team," said Chattanooga Head Coach Scott Mackenzie. "Bringing internal academy players who have developed in our systems into the first team this year is a major achievement for the players, it's a major strategic step in the right direction to being one of the premier youth development systems in the United States, and it adds an incredibly important boost of youth and hunger to our first team environment. I can't wait to see what each of these young men does with their opportunities."

The 20-year-old Blake Oberholzer ended the 2023 season as the overall leading goal scorer in the USL Academy League with 13 goals in 12 regular season matches and was an honorable mention in the 2022 USL Academy League Finals All-Tournament Team – Showcase Division. Oberholzer also starred on the club's USPL team that won the USPL Mountain Division and the club's USL League Two team that three-peated as USL League Two Mountain Division Champions. 

"Blake is a young man who has had a great year," said Mackenzie. "In the past 12 months, he has developed from a tricky attacking midfielder into a prolific goalscorer. In 2023 he finished as the top goalscorer in both the USL Academy nationally and the UPSL Mountain Division. He can take players on and can finish with his left and right foot. He has all the qualities to be a top forward. I am excited to see how he learns and develops from the likes of Ropapa Mensah and Chevone Marsh, and am excited for his opportunity."

17-year-old central midfielder Gharret Morris captained the Utah Red Wolves SC USL Academy side to a USL Academy Finals appearance in 2023, knocking off the top-ranked team in the country in the process. Morris also played alongside Oberholzer on the Utah Red Wolves SC USL League Two team which three-peated as the Mountain Division Conference Title as well as the Conference champion UPSL side.

"Gharret is a young man who possesses a ton of intangibles," says Mackenzie. "I have met very few people who possess the leadership qualities that he does, who are as driven or who are as competitive. Every challenge Gharret has been given – men's soccer at 15, USL Academy captain, playing USL League Two with some of the best college players in the United States - he has risen to each challenge. When the level goes up so does Gharrett's."

Fernando Guerrero is a Chattanooga Red Wolves SC Academy product, having participated in the academy since 2020 and played on the Chattanooga USL Academy Team in 2022 and 2023, winning the USL Academy division in 2022. Throughout his years at the Chattanooga Red Wolves SC Academy, Fernando was a standout on one of the club's ECNL teams.

When asked about Fernando, Mackenzie said, "I saw Fernando play a USL Academy game against One Knox in the fall. He, for me, was the best player on the pitch: running at the opposition, creating chances, doing his job out of possession. Based on that performance I invited him into first-team training and he put in a series of great sessions, terrorizing some of our first-team guys with his quick feet and explosiveness. I am excited to invite Fernando back into the group on a full-time basis, and I am sure he will make the most of this opportunity."

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