On Wednesday, the Carolina RailHawks, Minnesota Stars and Tampa Bay Rowdies all announced players they are re-signing who had option years on their contracts. A number of other players were also announced for the Rowdies who had signed new multi-year contracts.
The Carolina RailHawks will be bringing back the core of their team. The RailHawks squad had been gutted after the 2011 season with coach Martin Rennie leaving for the Vancouver Whitecaps and former Puerto Rico Islanders coach Colin Clarke replacing him. Many of the Carolina players were on new 1-year contracts and some had option years.
The club announced they will exercise the options on 12 players: defenders Austen King and Justin Willis; midfielders Austin da Luz, Floyd Franks, Breiner Ortiz, Tiyiselani Shipalane, Nick Zimmerman, Nick Millington and Jake Beckford; and forwards Brian Ackley, Brian Shriver, and Zack Schilawski will all be returning in 2013. The RailHawks did not announce players they did not renew contracts with.
Minnesota Stars FC
The Minnesota Stars, who had kept the core of their team together the last several years exercising options in contracts, also announced the players they will retain in 2013. The Stars will bring back 13 players: goalkeepers Mitch Hildebrandt and Matt VanOekel; defenders Justin Davis, Brian Kallman and Connor Tobin; midfielders Kentaro Takada, Miguel Ibarra, Michael Reed, Edi Buro and Kevin Venegas; and forwards Travis Wall and Nate Polak.
Minnesota also announced they will retain the services of defender Ernest Tchoupe who was believed to be formerly contracted by Traffic Sports and on loan to the Stars.
Other Stars mainstays over the last 3 seasons will need to negotiate new contacts with the team if both parties so desire. Most notably missing are players Kyle Altman, Simone Bracalello, Devin Del Do, Cristiano Dias, Martin Nuñez, Lucas Rodriguez, Amani Walker and player/coach Kevin Friedland. Altman in particular is a big question mark as he has deferred medical school for several years and now must make a choice to play or he will have to reapply to schools which includes extensive testing again.
The club also declined options on five players: defenders Evan Sassano and Gino Mauro and midfielders Shawn Chin, Fuad Ibrahim and Andy Lorei. Ten more players from the 2012 roster are currently free agents. Midfielder Neil Hlavaty recently announced a move to FC Edmonton.
Tampa Bay Rowdies
The Tampa Bay Rowdies also announced roster moves on Wednesday. Headlining the deals was a new 3-year contract for midfielder Keith Savage and new 2-year deals for midfielder Evans Frimpong and defender Draymond Washington.
The Rowdies also exercised its 2013 option for midfielder Shane Hill. The club declined an option for forward Fafa Picault.
The current 2013 Tampa Bay Rowdies roster is already looking solid as it is comprised of most of last year’s Championship squad: goalkeeper Andrew Fontein; defenders Frankie Sanfilippo, Daniel Scott, Draymond Washington, and Raphael Cox; midfielders Stuart Campbell, Luke Mulholland, Keith Savage, Shane Hill, and Evans Frimpong; and forwards Mike Ambersley and Carl Cort.