Much to my frustration, DCFC has been releasing player information at a snail’s pace this preseason. With my season preview due out in a month, it would be pointless for me to wait until the all the players have been announced to write a roster piece, only to turn around a week later and repeat what I said in the team portion of the preview. Therefore, I’m going ahead with all the info available to me at this particular moment (Sunday, March 27th), although there’s a pretty good chance that this piece will be outdated soon after it comes out. Oh well, on with the show.
As of today, the only players to have been announced are those who are returning to the club, so there aren’t any mysterious and exciting newcomers to introduce. If some of the rumors floating around are true, however, there will be much more to talk about a month from now. Here’s what we DO know (special thanks to Sean Grogan and his handy roster tracker):
Returners: Wade Allan, Tyler Channell
Key Departures: Will Mellors-Blair, Zach Myers, James Murphy
Position Overview: Arguably the position of greatest need, City loses the two best forwards to ever play for the club in Will Mellors-Blair and Zach Myers, who missed the 2015 season and will no longer play due to concussion concerns.
Consummate professional and team leader Wade Allan is back for his fifth year with the club, and I’m very interested to see if Tyler Channell’s tremendous progression in college will carry over into his second year in the NPSL. As a junior in 2014, he recorded a respectable 6 goals and 6 assists for SVSU, but he exploded as a senior this past fall, tallying 19 goals, 14 assists, and was named the D-II Midwest Player of the Year. Several other quality options will no doubt be added to the roster in the coming weeks, but Channell will get his fair share of playing time and may become a regular starter if he can maintain his current trajectory.
***[UPDATE 3/28/16]*** The club announced the signing of Jordan Kalk today. He played with Lansing United in 2014 and 2015 and led SVSU in goals this past season with 20. A very good pickup but more attackers are needed
Returners: Cyrus Saydee, Jeff Adkins, Tyler Stephens
Key Departures: None
Position Overview: April is still a few days away, but City already has a quality starting midfield in place. Cyrus Saydee (now on Twitter!) can fit in virtually anywhere, but his home is at the wide left spot where he regularly embarrasses would-be tacklers with his dribbling and ball-control skills. The wider field at Keyworth should play into his strengths, giving him more space and time to operate. Cyrus + more time on the ball = bad times for defenders.
Jeff Adkins, now free of his Michigan Bucks purgatory, will provide pure speed and attacking ability on the right flank.
The position was a bit of a problem area in 2015 after the early season departure of Tommy Catalano, but a full year’s worth of Adkins would be a welcome solution.
Tyler Stephens can play at a number of spots in midfield and defense, but I’ve listed him at right mid for now. He began last season as a depth player but saw more and more time as the season went on.
Returners: Dave Edwardson, Troy Watson, Matt Ybarra
Key Departures: Latif Alashe, Kevin Taylor
Position Overview: Central midfield has become an area wanting for a bit more depth, but certainly not for quality. One slot will be filled by Dave Edwardson, my presumptive favorite to become team captain. The other will belong to Troy Watson, a complete unknown at this time last year who appeared in every match and quietly turned into a consistent starter and fan favorite for his quality defensive midfield play:
Matt Ybarra is also back, meaning we’ll get plenty more use out of this video:
Returners: Zach Schewee, Alex Isaevski (Injured Reserve)
Key Departures: None
Position Overview: The good news is that both of last season’s starting fullbacks return. The bad news is that only Zach Schewee will begin the season healthy. Alex Isaevski is currently recovering from a recent surgery, so it would be unrealistic to expect to him to see the field until the second half of the year at the earliest. Assuming Schewee slides back over to his natural left side, right back becomes a key area of immediate need.
Returners: Seb Harris
Key Departures: Josh Rogers
Position Overview: Not really enough data here. Seb Harris is back and will see plenty of time here and at right back. More bodies are obviously needed, and it would be nice if one of them was a vocal presence given the loss of Josh Rogers.
Returners: 404 Players Not Found
Key Departures: ???
Position Overview: Ask again later. Bret Mollon may be coming back, he may be coming back strictly as an assistant coach, he may be injured, or he may be gone for good. Alex Bouillennec may or may not be coming back as well. It would be great to have at least one of them on the roster, but nothing is known at this point.
Every position is currently a position of need, but forward and goalkeeper are 1 and 1A in my estimation, followed closely by centerback and right back. I’d feel very good going into the season with the current starting midfield, and any further additions there would only bolster my confidence.
Ben Pirmann mentioned earlier that the club will be housing players (probably 4) again this season, so I’d expect to see some big splashes over the next several weeks since none of those players have been announced. 2016 may give us the most roster turnover we’ve had since City’s very first season, and given the club’s reputation now as compared to then, many of the new acquisitions should be of a high caliber and cause for excitement.