Sacramento Republic FC have exercised the contract options on defenders Elliott Hord and Carlos Rodriguez, midfielders Danny Barrera and Luis Espino and forward Wilson Kneeshaw for the 2018 USL season.
“By exercising these options, we set a foundation as we look towards the 2018 season,” said Technical Director and Head Coach Paul Buckle. “All five of these players have shown us what they are capable of doing on the pitch and we look forward to seeing their potential fully realized in this upcoming season.”
Barrera is the all-time leader in USL assists for Republic FC. The midfielder has made 77 appearances all-time, including 62 USL appearances, during his three seasons with Republic FC. Barrera made 16 appearances, all starts, scoring a goal and recording four assists before undergoing a season-ending foot surgery on July 7, 2017.
Kneeshaw returns to the club for his third season on the Republic FC roster. The forward recorded five goals and five assists in 22 USL appearances last season. Kneeshaw has scored eight goals in 27 career USL appearances with Republic FC and ranks sixth all-time in Republic FC history for minutes per goal average, scoring a goal on average every 194 minutes.
Rodriguez will also play his third season with Republic FC in 2018. The defender has made 17 USL appearances since joining Republic FC as a 19-year-old in 2016. Rodriguez broke his leg in a 2017 preseason fixture against the San Jose Earthquakes, keeping him out of action until Aug. 23. He made eight appearances late in the season, including five starts, scoring his first USL goal as a last minute substitute against Rio Grande Valley FC on Sept. 9.
Hord played his second season with Republic FC in 2017, making 27 USL appearances, including 21 starts. The defender created 31 chances, had a pass success rate of 82 percent and a tackle success rate of 82.4 percent in 2017. Hord was in the top five in chances and tackle success rate and top ten in passing success on Republic FC last season.
Espino returns to Republic FC after signing with the club on Sept. 14. Espino signed with Republic FC from the CESIFUT Academy, joining Rodriguez as the second player on Republic FC’s roster from the renowned Mexican academy. Espino made six appearances for Republic FC in 2017, scoring his lone goal of the season in his debut on Sept. 16, against LA Galaxy II.
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