Mississippi Brilla FC gets new coach, plans May 27 home opener
Special to The Clinton Courier
Mississippi Brilla FC, who calls Arrow Field their home, recently announced that former Uganda National Team player and seven-year Major League Soccer veteran Micheal Azira will take over the team’s USL2 head coaching duties. Azira replaces Matt Horth, who recently accepted a college coaching position that will prohibit his return to Mississippi this summer.
“Coach Matt was a tremendous addition to our staff last summer and put together a championship caliber team for this summer,” said Mississippi Brilla FC General Manager Rusty Bryant. “It is unfortunate that he will not be able to lead the team this summer, but we wish him nothing but the best in this great opportunity for him and his family.” “Fortunately, we have Mike Azira ready to step into the role,” said Bryant,” and he is more than capable of leading us to make a run at the national championship this summer.”
Azira played for Mississippi Brilla FC in 2010-2011, scoring five goals in 28 appearances. Azira’s professional career included MLS stops in Seattle, Colorado, Montreal and Chicago. He also started and ended his professional career in the USL Championship with the Charleston Battery and New Mexico United. His stellar playing career also includes ten caps with the Uganda National Team.
Azira had been named first assistant for Brilla following his retirement from professional soccer in December. Upon his retirement, he was named head coach of Blue Mountain College, an up-and-coming NAIA program in Mississippi.
Azira also runs the Azira Micheal Youth Foundation in Uganda. The mission is to use soccer as a vehicle to give children in Uganda access to education, nutrition and character development.
Azira has named Jordan Parron and Humberto Pelaez to his coaching staff for the summer.
Parron is currently the men’s assistant coach at Jones Community College (JCC). A native of Brandon, Parron played collegiately at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis and University of Memphis. He served as the graduate assistant at Belhaven University before spending the last two seasons at JCC. The team posted a 16-1 record in 2022.
Pelaez is returning for a fourth season with Brilla. The Panama City, Panama, native had a decorated four-year playing career with Mississippi College, where he was named 2016 Player of the Year as well as GSC Goalkeeper of the Decade. He is one of the premier goalkeeping coaches in the area and currently coaches within the Mississippi Rush United youth system.
Mississippi Brilla FC will kick off its sixteenth year in USL2 with a road contest to Texas United on May 20. The team’s first home game is scheduled for May 27 at 7 p.m. at Clinton High School Arrow Field. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.BrillaSoccer.org.