Mondays. They’re objectively the worst. But if you’re a soccer fan in San Antonio, this is a Monday you should avoid hating if possible. Today saw the start of the first full week of work the San Antonio FC roster has seen as a unit. As pre-season training continues, what better time to take a short look at every player the new franchise has signed so far?
Alternatively, a mostly complete roster can be found on the team’s website here.
Josh Ford – 1
Ford comes to San Antonio from MLS side Orlando City SC. The 28 year old spent most of the 2015 season on loan to NASL’s Ft. Lauderdale Strikers where he made 16 starts. While its still very early, I expect to see Ford get the first chance between the posts this season. His experience exceeds the other potentials keepers, and with the organization’s clear intent on winning games this season it makes sense to give the man with experience the first chance.
Matt Cardone – 0
Cordone is a Trinity graduate and San Antonio native. Having played for the San Antonio Scorpions last season, Cardone was a perfect candidate to be signed for the new club. The 22 year old has a size advantage over Ford, but with only 4 professional starts under his belt I don’t expect him to edge out Ford for the starting job in April. If Ford struggles or suffers an injury, Cardone is a solid backup with potential but hasn’t proven himself as a starter in his short professional career.
There were at least two trialist goalkeepers working out with the team on Thursday and Friday.
Max Gunderson – 19
After two stints with the Austin Aztex, Gunderson finds himself back in Texas with SAFC. The Nevada native played college ball at University of the Incarnate Word. The 26 year old made 27 appearances for Austin in 2015, primarily at right back.
Sam McBride – 4
An Elon University alum, McBride played one year under San Antonio head coach Darren Powell when he held the same position at the university. McBride had a remarkable college career at a very good soccer program and is making his professional debut with SAFC.
Stephen McCarthy – 15
“Big Steve” comes to San Antonio from the top tier of Finnish soccer. Before his time with KuPS, the 27 year old Tar Heel played with New England Revolution. Its hard to imagine a player with so much experience in top level leagues will be left out of the starting XI in April.
Fejiro Okiomah – 23
Fejiro (pronounced “Fe-jeer-oh” I’m told, not “Fe-Hear-oh”) is an Austin native who has years of experience in USL, both at the PDL and Pro levels. He spent 2015 with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds where he made 21 appearances and put 1 in the back of the net. I’m assuming he’ll be paired with McCarthy in the center of the backline.
Milton Palacios – 2
Palacios is another name familiar to Scorpions fans. The 27 year old made 10 appearances for the NASL side in 2015. The Honduran has spent his entire American professional career in San Antonio, so he should pick up right where he left off last season coming back to Toyota Field.
Carlos Alvarez – 10
Alvarez was the first player signing that SAFC announced back on February 2nd. The 25 year old Los Angeles native spent most of the 2015 season on loan to USL’s Charlotte Independence, but was previously with Colorado Rapids and now-defunct Chivas USA. As with a handful of other players on SAFC’s roster, Alvarez being on such poor quality clubs (Chivas USA & Colorado) doesn’t reflect negatively on him as much as it does those clubs’ front offices. But coming from poorly managed clubs makes it difficult for the untrained eye to know what potential he holds.
Victor Araujo – 7
Araujo is a Trinity graduate that hails originally from Brazil. He played in second division Belgian soccer before coming to Trinity, but SAFC is his first American professional soccer club. Given the club’s wealth of experienced midfielders Araujo might be mostly used as a depth player initially, but no player would be signed to this roster if Powell and his staff didn’t believe they had something to contribute.
Rafa Castillo – 16
A hero of the 2014 Scorpions NASL championship title and fan favorite, Castillo will look to continue to contribute at Toyota Field with the new club. At 35, he is the oldest player on the roster, but the Columbian still has some thread on the tires as evidenced in the media portions of training last week. He may not be on the field for too many more years, but the he’ll be exciting to watch for as long as he plays.
Danny Garcia – 11
Dallas born and FC Dallas bred, Garcia knows both Texas and professional soccer like the back of his hand. After spending the first 3 years of his professional career with his hometown MLS club, Garcia comes south to San Antonio looking to contribute to SAFC. The 22 year old spent some time on loan with Arizona United SC in 2015 and will look to bring that experience onto the pitch for SAFC.
Michael Reed – 8
Reed is an experienced midfielder hailing originally from Albuquerque where he also went to college at the University of New Mexico. Playing three seasons with former Scorpions rival Minnesota United FC and 2015 with Atlanta Silverbacks, the 28 year old brings significant experience with him to San Antonio.
Miguel Salazar – 28
Salazar has a similar story to defender Sam McBride, also coming directly from Elon University where SAFC head coach Darren Powell was head coach before his time with Orlando. Before his time at Elon, Salazar grew up in the RSL academy. The Tucson native is a player that Powell and company obviously see potential in, but a crowded midfield may have him seeing more minutes on the bench than on the pitch this year.
Sebastien Thuriere – 6
Thuriere joins SAFC after spending 2015 with Charleston Battery where he made 21 appearances and 9 starts. The 26 year old has also made at least 19 apperances with the Haitian national team. Powell specially said he sees Seba fitting in as a central midfielder in the club, and I would assume that his extensive experience will make him a contender for a spot in the starting XI in April.
Shawn Chin – 17
Chin has been playing with NASL and USL clubs since graduating from University of South Florida in 2010. The 26 year old spent the last 2 seasons with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, helping to lead them to a 2014 NASL championship appearance.
Jason Johnson – 18
Johnson was the first forward announced by SAFC. The 25 year old Jamaican spent 2015 with the Chicago Fire where he made 20 appearances. Coming off a season that saw Johnson’s MLS club finish at the bottom of the table, its tough to evaluate who has the edge between Chin and Johnson if Powell only plays one forward.