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By ESPN Staff

Aztex sign striker Gifton Noel-Williams

Ex-Watford and Stoke City striker Gifton Noel-Williams has agreed to a two-year deal with the Austin Aztex FC, the USL club announced Thursday.

The 28-year-old Noel-Williams has extensive experience at the highest levels, beginning his career with Watford at 16 in 1996. Noel-Williams scored 33 goals for Watford in seven years before moving to Stoke City in 2003.

While at Stoke, the 6-foot-3 striker led the Potters in scoring two consecutive seasons (2003-05), where he found the net a total of 23 times. He continued his career at Burnley before moving to Spain to play for second flight Real Murcia, helping lead the club to La Liga before joining Elche. He began the 2008-09 campaign with Millwall in League 1, but has spent most of the season with fellow League 1 club Yeovil Town on loan.

Aztex president and team owner Phil Rawlins, who is also part owner and on the board of directors at Stoke City, said the signing of Noel-Williams is a significant event for the Aztex.

"I expect him to be a 'franchise' player for us and to make a significant contribution to our team's development," Rawlins said. "Gifton has 10 years experience playing at the very highest level in both England and Spain and that experience and leadership will be invaluable to us both on and off the field. I am absolutely delighted that he has agreed to join us."

The English-born center-forward, who will join the Aztex in February for preseason training, agreed.

"I am very happy about this move. It comes at the right time for me in my career. I am still only 28 and have my best years ahead of me as a striker. The chance to join [head coach] Adrian [Heath] and Phil in Austin is an opportunity I couldn't pass up. It's very exciting to be in at the beginning of something new, where I feel I can make a big contribution."


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