Defender Marcelo Cunha will return to the heart of the Boston City FC defense this coming National Premier Soccer League season, having signed on for a third campaign with the Lions.

Along with Isaac Addai, Cunha was one of only two players to start every match in 2017 and was second on the team in minutes played (1,338).  He began the season at left back, switching to his more familiar role at center half when injury ruled out Gabriel De Souza.

Cunha has played a club-record 2,377 minutes during the Lions’ first two season.

In 2016, Cunha established himself as a key member of the back four, forming a formidable center half partnership with De Souza.  He logged 1,249 minutes, appearing in all but one match, which he missed due to suspension.  He was one of four Lions to convert a penalty in the shootout loss to Legacy 76 in the NPSL playoffs.

Cunha joins De Souza and fullbacks Michael Rincon and Jadson Leite as defenders who have committed to return from the 2017 NPSL campaign.

“Marcelo is a versatile defender who has been a consistent player for us during the past two seasons and has enjoyed a very successful college career,” said Lions coach Palhinha.  “He is vocal in the locker room and wants to win, so we are pleased to have him back with Boston City.”

In 2017, the Goiania, Brazil-born defender closed out an 82-match college career with UMass Boston and was named to the Little East Conference (LEC) first team for the second year in succession and to the United Soccer Coaches Division III New England All-Region Teams.  He represented UMass Boston at the New England Intercollegiate Soccer League Senior Bowl and was named to the inaugural New England Soccer Journal Division III Best XI.

In 2016, Cunha was a National Soccer Coaches of America Association Second Team All-American.  He helped UMass Boston win a third consecutive LEC title and record the most wins (18) and longest unbeaten streak (13) in school history as the Beacons reached the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 for the first time.

He played as a forward in high school in his hometown of Marlborough, Mass.

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