Stephen McCarthy Remains With San Antonio FC

Stephen McCarthy controls (Photo: San Antonio FC)

San Antonio FC has continued to build a solid defensive line, as on Friday they announced that Stephen McCarthy had re-signed for the 2017 United Soccer League (USL) season. McCarthy was a rock in the San Antonio FC defense and is in contention for the San Antonio Soccer News Player of the Year award because of those performances.

Starting at the back for San Antonio FC, McCarthy managed 21 starts (19 USL, two cup) in 2016 managing over 1,600 minutes. McCarthy was rarely subbed out early, playing 80 minutes or more in 18 of his matches the season.

During the season McCarthy managed one team of the week appearance for the week of June 18th 2016. McCarthy scored in the match that week against Colorado Springs Switchbacks, providing the winner in a 2-1 win.

It was a disappointing end to McCarthy’s season as he suffered a season ending injury against Arizona United in mid-August. That disrupted the back line of San Antonio FC which struggled to avoid allowing goals without McCarthy.

San Antonio FC Head Coach Darren Powell reflected the disappointment of losing McCarthy when they did in a press release. “His season-ending injury last year was unfortunate since he was in good form, so we look forward to him being healthy for preseason.”

McCarthy, for his part was also pleased to be returning, after a long professional season that included a stint in Finland he seems settled back in his native Texas. “I’m excited to continue my career with San Antonio FC in my home state of Texas,” said McCarthy in a press release. “As a team, we are looking to improve on last year and work hard on bringing a championship to San Antonio.”

Five Trinity Players Named All-Americans

Photo: Trinity University Athletics

Trinity has had five of their players named to All-American squads announced on Thursday, two men and one woman were named first team all-Americans while two men were on the second team. Laurence Wyke and Austin Michaelis (both sophomores) were named to the first team along with Yasmeen Farra on the women’s side while defending all-American Christian Sakshaug (sophomore) and Kellen Reid (junior) were named second team All-Americans.

Wyke had a strong season at both ends of the field, being a strong member of the Tigers defense through the season. At the other end of the field Wyke scored seven goals and provided two assists through the season and earned Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Michaelis was a vital member of Trinity’s attacking play, often providing the ball before he would be credited with an assist. Michaelis also led the team with 11 goals, and provided nine assists for Trinity earning Conferense Offensive Player of the Year.

Trinity’s other first team All-American is Yasmeen Farra the senior midfielder capping her final season with the honor. Farra scored 14 goals, leading the team and both programs, while also managing seven assists. Winning the All-American award comes as her second honor of the season after winning the Conference Offensive Player of the Year.

Shakshuag improved on his 2015 All-American third-team honor as a freshman moving up to the 2016 second team. Shakshaug led the Tigers with 11 assists and scored two goals for the season continuing his impressive early collegiate career performances.

Reid was a vital captain in the middle of the Trinity defense, often getting his work done in a way that doesn’t get noticed. But the voters noticed and named him to the second team after a notable five assists.

Allysha Chapman Leaves Houston Dash

Allysha Chapman (front) on the ball (Photo: Victor Araiza, used under creative commons license)

Houston Dash has traded away one of their significant players as Allysha Chapman has moved to Boston Breakers ahead of the 2017 season. In exchange Houston Dash received an international slot for two years and the number 15 selection in the 2017 NWSL College Draft.

Chapman has played 14 times for Houston Dash, starting 12 of them, and would have played more if not for the Olympic Games. Chapman’s stock has risen significantly in the last 12 months as she won a bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with Canada.

With Chapman’s stock rising, it seems Houston could have done better in the trade than just receiving international slots for two years and a pick as low as 15th. But despite that Houston Dash seem pleased with the value for a player they regarded as unnecessary.

Dash originally acquired Chapman as an allocated player in their 2015 season and remained allocated in the 2016 season. Chapman was Houston’s only Canadian allocated player until 2016 when she was joined by Janine Beckie a new addition to the allocated player list.

Randy Waldrum reflected on Chapman’s contributions and the decision when he said in a press release.
“These decisions are always difficult, but we see a need to modify our roster as we prepare for 2017, Allysha was a great ambassador for the organization and her country in the community and we wish her good luck in Boston.”

As a result of making the trade, Houston Dash have six international slots for the 2017 season, with three available. Rachel Daly, Denise O’Sullivan and Poliana are the only three internationals on the Dash roster as Lydia Williams holds American citizenship despite playing for Australia.

The draft pick is provisional as the draft pick was acquired by Boston Breakers from Chicago Red Stars as their lowest second round pick. This means that should Chicago acquire the 13th or 14th draft pick that will move to Houston, of course given Chicago don’t have rights to that choice it seems doubtful that would happen.

Four Trinity Women Named to NSCAA All Region Teams

Photo: Trinity University Athletics

Four Trinity women’s players have been named in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-West Region team, announced on Tuesday. Yasmeen Farra, Julia Kelly and Julia Camp were all named in the first team while Colleen Markey was named to the second team.

Farra was the golden boot for Trinity in her senior season as she scored 14 goals through the season, half of them classified as game winners. On top of that she had seven assists and earned Conferense Offensive Player of the Season honors.

Camp was closely behind Farra, scoring 12 goals but had more assists, with eight in another strong season. Camp had a strong season and will return for Trinity next season for her senior season looking to continue winning accolades.

Kelly wrapped up the Tigers who were named in the all-region first team after scoring eight goals and providing three assists. One of those goals opened the season and was the goal of the season for Trinity while she also contributed to a strong Trinity defense, as a holding midfielder, the Tigers only allowed eight goals all season.

For Markey, she has received second team all-region honors for the second season in a row after a strong season on the wing for the Tigers. Markey managed seven goals and seven assists in her junior season building to hopefully push in to the first team in her senior season.

While Trinity’s season ended in disappointment in the NCAA Quarter-Finals that was an improvement on a second round exit in 2015. 2017 will be head coach Dylan Harrison’s second season and with more of his recruits the side will be able to kick on again and remain in contention for a national championship next year.

Cyprian Hedrick Joins San Antonio FC for 2017

Cyprian Hedrick wins a header (Photo: San Antonio FC)

San Antonio FC has made their first new signing for 2017 as they announced the securing of Cyprian Hedrick ahead of the 2017 season. Hedrick joins San Antonio after playing for Oklahoma City Energy in 2016, making the trip south to strengthen San Antonio’s defense.

The move to San Antonio marks the end of a three year stint with OKC Energy FC, having joined the club in 2014. Hedrick was a regular in the OKC Energy FC line up, only missing eight matches in his three years, making 78 appearances out of a possible 86.

Hedrick’s first professional contract was in 2012 when he was drafted by Sporting Kansas City for Major League Soccer (MLS) 30th overall. It was a bumpy start to Hedrick’s professional career as he suffered an injury just three matches in to the season with their reserve team.

Following his time at Kansas City Hedrick joined Phoenix FC, a now defunct USL team, missing only two matches in their 2013 season. Hedrick has routinely been a rock defensively for his teams, and his ability to miss so few matches after that disappointing season in Kansas City will be a vital asset for a San Antonio FC team which was riddled with injuries last season.

His move to Kansas City came after a phenomenal collegiate career with Coastal Carolina University, winning plenty of accolades in his senior season. Hedrick was all region in his senior year, setting up his leap in to a professional soccer career.

Coming to San Antonio marks a return to Texas for Hedrick who lived near Houston as a child and young adult after moving to the United States from Cameroon. Hedrick has been a strong defender in the United Soccer League for four seasons now and marks a strong pick up for San Antonio FC.

“We are excited to have Cyprian join us for 2017,” said SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell in a press release. “He’s a player that we have watched this past season with OKC, and that I have watched in seasons before in Arizona, with Sporting KC and even when he was at Coastal Carolina. He’s always impressed me with his approach to the game and he is a good defender who is going to add experience to our back line.”

Hedrick was similarly excited “We are excited to have Cyprian join us for 2017,” said SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell. “He’s a player that we have watched this past season with OKC, and that I have watched in seasons before in Arizona, with Sporting KC and even when he was at Coastal Carolina. He’s always impressed me with his approach to the game and he is a good defender who is going to add experience to our back line.”

Michael Reed Re-signs With San Antonio FC

Michael Reed controls against LA Galaxy II (Photo: San Antonio FC)

One of San Antonio FC’s key midfielders, Michael Reed, has signed on for the 2017 season, extending his contract with the club for another year. Reed was a crucial part of the San Antonio FC squad through 2016 before he suffered a season ending injury in the early stages of the second half of the season.

Reed managed three goals and one assists during his time through 16 league matches, all but two of which he started, along with two US Open Cup matches. Reed’s impressive goal return is especially notable, since he had to miss the last 11 matches of the season, finishing just two away from the team golden boot.

Coming to San Antonio after four years in the North American Soccer League (NASL) with Atlanta and Minnesota. Reed won the NASL spring season with Minnesota in 2014, where he was a regular feature before moving to San Antonio and becoming a regular at Toyota Field.

San Antonio FC head coach Darren Powell was pleased with the return of his midfielder and he praised him in a press release. “He is influential both on the field and in the locker room because of his ability, knowledge of the game and all of his experiences playing around the country. We fully expect Michael to continue to have a good influence within this team in 2017.”

Reed was just as glowing in his praise as he spoke highly of San Antonio FC and the staff in the same press release. “I am honored to be back in San Antonio, I think the coaching staff and the front office have been nothing but top class here. I have great relationships with them. For 2017, the goal is the same as it is with the staff – to win. I feel appreciated here, I’m honored to play for this club and I’ll give everything I have for the team and for the fans.”

Trinity men see Season end to Kenyon in Round of 16

Kenyon celebrate their third goal Photo: Kenyon University Athletics

Trinity University men’s soccer saw their season come to an end on Saturday afternoon as they fell to fifth ranked Kenyon at Tufts. Kenyon were dominant as they managed a 4-0 win over the Tigers, using a big second half to tear Trinity apart.

After three straight seasons in the final eight, the Tigers had high hopes of making it to Salem in two weeks’ time. But Kenyon came out determined in conditions there were more suited to and won the match convincingly the number five team upsetting the number three team.

In the 40th minute Kenyon’s pressure told as Billy O’Neill opened the scoring as the first half started wearing down. Greg McNeer sent in the ball which found O’Neill who buried the opportunity forcing Trinity to require a comeback.

Two minutes in to the second half things got harder for Trinity as Kenyon was able to double their lead and make things difficult for the Tigers. Jordan Glassman was able to send a ball in for Woo Jeon who buried the opportunity to make it 2-0 to Kenyon.

The match was well and truly sealed for Kenyon in the 53rd minute as they were able to score a third goal. That saw Jeon seal his brace as he did all the work himself, creating the space for the opportunity to give Kenyon their third.

Trinity started the match the stronger side, with Brent Mandlekorn looking a likely outlet for the Tigers coming from set-pieces. Trinity won several corners in the early going but they could not result in goals, the best chance being a header from Laurence Wyke that went high and wide.

The first half was a very stop-start affair as the two teams were giving away a number of fouls which broke up the flow of the match. Kenyon started to take charge of the match in the final 20 minutes of the first half.

Trinity fought hard in the final five minutes of the half as they looked to find a goal to pull back in to the match. First Ryan Hunter had a chance before Kellen Reid had a chance of his own in the final 20 seconds but both chances were saved by Sam Clougher in the Kenyon goal.

Sitting three goals down just before the hour mark, Trinity was forced to go for it, trying to get a goal which would pull them back in to the match. Chris Madden went close twice for the Tigers in the 56th minute, first seeing an effort saved before sending one just wide.

It was all Trinity in the final half hour of the match but they were unable to capitalize and in the 87th minute Kenyon had their fourth. Will Bennett was able to find Greg McNeer who scored the fourth, up against Chris Morrish to seal their passage to the quarter-final.

UIW men Hold Conference Leaders Utah Valley to Draw

Photo: UIW Athletics

The University of Incarnate Word (UIW) soccer season came to an end on Saturday night as the UIW men managed a draw in their last match of the season. Ben Conway scored a brace in his last match for the school but it wasn’t enough as the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) leaders Utah Valley came back for a 2-2 draw at Benson Stadium on Saturday night.

Up against the conference leaders the Cardinals showed no sign of being overawed, starting the match well and opening the scoring in the 12th minute. A foul from Utah Valley allowed Conway to step up, in range, hitting his free-kick perfectly beating the keeper to get a perfect start to senior night.

After being stunned early, Utah Valley was forced to respond, and they did so, going on the attack to try and find an equalizer. But keeping out Utah Valley was Jorge Guzman who was having a phenomenal match in the Cardinals goal.

That Utah Valley domination continued throughout the first half of the match, but could not finish the chances that presented themselves. That allowed the Cardinals occasional chances, but the score remained 1-0 at half-time with UIW winning the match.

Ten minutes in to the second half UIW doubled their lead, punishing the conference leaders for giving away another free-kick. Conway stepped up curling the ball in and bending it in to the near-side of the net for the second.

In the 64th minute, Utah Valley had a way back in to the match after Guzman brought down a striker, earning a yellow card and conceding a penalty. That allowed Aaron Meyer to step up and he buried the penalty to make it 2-1.

With the match running out of time, Utah Valley University were chasing the match and in the 79th minute they were able to get back in the match. After Aaron Caprio’s shot was saved by Guzman, that allowed Paul Hoffmeister to run on and tap home the rebound.

The Cardinals pushed in the final ten minutes to try and find a goal, but they were unable to do so with Elliot Rubio excelling in the Utah Valley goal. He made two great saves late on to keep the match level and send it to overtime.

Utah Valley dominated the opening half of extra-time but could not take advantage of their chances, shooting off target too often. The second half saw that flipped with UIW controlling the match but the Utah Valley defense did enough to keep the Cardinals out to keep it 2-2 and make the teams settle for a draw.

Cesar Elizondo Remains With San Antonio FC

Photo: San Antonio FC

San Antonio FC has announced the re-signing of another San Antonio soccer legend, as the club announced on Thursday that they extended the contract of Cesar Elizondo. Formerly with the Scorpions, SAFC brought Elizondo in mid-season, bringing him back to San Antonio where he excelled.

Since joining the club mid-season Elizondo quickly became a fixture in the San Antonio FC side, playing nine matches. In those nine matches Elizondo managed two goals, and one assist, and managed to come back from injury late in the season.

Elizondo first came to San Antonio as a member of the Scorpions playing in their final two seasons. But with the insecurity of the situation in San Antonio he had moved on before San Antonio FC was announced.

After the Scorpions folded, Elizondo moved back home to Costa Rica playing for Perez Zelondon for the year. Following the end of the Costa Rican season Elizondo was very quickly snapped up by San Antonio FC.

While in Zelondon Elizondo managed 18 appearances, scoring four goals in the process, mostly coming off the bench. It was Elizondo’s second stint with that club, having spent 2010-2011 on loan with Zelondon. On that occasion he scored five goals in 22 appearances before heading off to Thailand and Burinam United.

Since playing in Thailand Elizondo came to the United States, starting with the Carolina Railhawks before making his way to San Antonio.

Elizondo was pleased to be remaining in San Antonio, specifically  referencing San Antonio FC’s fans. “I am proud to be able to continue with an organization as important as San Antonio FC,” said Elizondo in a statement. “I am very glad and motivated to give my all so we can accomplish great things with this great team and its wonderful fans. Our fans are like another member of the team – they are always with us in the good times, and they are also always supporting us in the not so good times. I can’t wait to get the group together and begin training with my teammates in 2017.”

Rafael Castillo Remains in San Antonio in 2017

Photo: San Antonio FC

San Antonio FC has announced the re-signing of one of the very first players signed by the club for another season. On Tuesday San Antonio FC announced that they Rafael Castillo will be remaining with the club for another season.

Returning for 2017 makes it four straight years with a club in San Antonio, after playing the final two seasons with the San Antonio Scorpions. Castillo has become a strong part of the San Antonio soccer community and is one of the favorites of San Antonio FC fans.

Joining the club for another season continues the speculation that Castillo will retire as a San Antonio FC player. Castillo will be turning 37 in the 2017 season, and this could well be his last season as a professional player.

With such experience behind him, Castillo comes in as a vital leader both on and off the park for San Antonio FC. With Josh Ford injured for a big part of the season Castillo stood in as the captain on a number of occasions, captaining San Antonio FC 10 times through the season.

Castillo continued to be a strong player despite his advancing years as he finished with five goals on the season, level with Franck Tayou for the team golden boot. Castillo also put in two assists and 67 shots in 2016, making him third in the Western Conference.

One of those five goals was a memorable goal from back in July when he scored against LA Galaxy II. That goal was voted the goal of the season by San Antonio FC fans and was the only goal that San Antonio FC scored directly from a free-kick.

“The opportunity to continue with SAFC is a blessing from God,” said Castillo, in a statement. “It means I can continue on this great project with a team that aspires to be at the top of American soccer by reaching MLS. It also means representing these colors and representing our families and the San Antonio community. We have the responsibility and the opportunity to make SAFC great and I am happy to continue striving to achieve that goal.”