Micheal Azira may be from Uganda, but Mississippi will always be his second home. The former Mississippi Brilla FC standout is returning to Brilla as an assistant coach after an impressive 11-year professional career.
Azira came to the United States to attend and play soccer for Lindsey Wilson College in 2008. He wrapped up his college playing career at the University of Mobile in 2011. During college, Azira made 28 appearances for Mississippi Brilla FC in 2010-2011. Brilla compiled a record of 23-2-5 over that two-year span.
Azira then went on to have, arguably, the most successful professional career of any Brilla player. The well-traveled midfielder began his pro career with the Charleston Battery, winning the USL Championship in 2012 while scoring the game winning goal in the championship match. From 2014-2020, the Uganda National Team member was a mainstay in Major League Soccer (Seattle Sounders, Colorado Rapids, Montreal Impact, Chicago Fire). He recently finished his playing career with New Mexico United in the USL Championship.
“When Mike called back in December to let me know that he was retiring from his playing career, I immediately told him that he always has a home in Mississippi,” said General Manager Rusty Bryant. “God worked things out to bring his family back to Mississippi, and we are thrilled to add him to our staff this summer.”
Azira was recently named the Head Coach of Blue Mountain Christian University in Blue Mountain, MS.
Azira’s wife, the former Callaghan Starrett, is no stranger to Mississippi, or soccer for that matter. The former Madison, MS resident played soccer for Millsaps College in Jackson, MS, and the two met while Azira was playing for Brilla. They have 2 children, Gabriel (7) and Noa-Grace (5).
Azira is also the Founder and President of the Azira Micheal Youth Foundation in his home country of Uganda. The foundation uses soccer as a vehicle to give children in Uganda access to education, nutrition, and character development.