Rio Grande Valley FC, the USL affiliate of the Houston Dynamo, announced its official roster today ahead of the start of the 2017 USL season.
Heralded by head coach Junior Gonzalez, RGV FC will open its 2017 USL campaign on Sunday, March 26 at home against in-state rival San Antonio FC at H-E-B Park. Before the Toros kick off their league season, they will host CF Monterrey of Liga MX on Wednesday night to open their new 9,700-seat home stadium.
“As a club, we are all looking forward to the upcoming season for our USL team RGV FC and building on the foundation of last season’s success,” said Dynamo Vice President and General Manager Matt Jordan. “This initiative has been critical in completing our technical structure by providing a competitive environment for our players to grow.”
The hybrid relationship between the Dynamo and RGV FC in which the Dynamo control all aspects of soccer operations, including employment of the technical staff and player selection, while Rio Grande Valley FC manages the business side of the club, was unique in MLS when RGV FC was launched in 2016 and has quickly been emulated by multiple MLS clubs over the past year.
The roster features 14 players who return from the team’s 2016 inaugural season along with 6 new signees. Included among the rostered players are 6 players who join RGV FC on loan. Midfielder Christian Lucatero is on a season-long loan from the Houston Dynamo and is eligible for recall by the Dynamo; defender Victor Garza is on loan from Tigres UANL in Liga MX; midfielder Emilio Garcia is on loan from CF Pachuca in Liga MX; midfielder Jorginho James is on loan from Harbour View FC in Jamaican National Premier League; forward Francisco Pungo is on loan from Colombian Club Deportivo Escuela de Futbol Carlos Sarmiento Lora; and midfielder Camilo Monroy is on loan from Deportivo PFC Sport of Colombia.
“We are pleased to return a large core of the team from last season and are very excited about the new signings that have been added,” said Dynamo Assistant General Manager Nick Kowba. “Under the leadership of Junior Gonzalez and his staff, along with the tremendous support from the fans in the Valley and the new stadium, there’s a lot to look forward to in 2017.”
Monroy and Pungo will join the team pending receipt of their International Transfer Certificates (ITC) and P-1 Visas.
"I am confident in the strengths of each individual player to implement our playing style as we compete for a USL championship,” said Junior Gonzalez. “The players have worked extremely hard this preseason and we are all eager to open the stadium tonight for this international friendly."
Gonzalez will be assisted by Brett Uttley and Rafa Amaya. Patrick Mannix will serve as the fitness coach, and Donovan Dowling will coach the goalkeepers.
The full roster is listed below.
2017 RIO GRANDE VALLEY FC ROSTER
Goalkeepers (X): Borja Angoitia, Marco Carducci,
Defenders (X): Leo Ayala, Victor Garza, Kai Greene, Ivan Magalhaes, Robby Sagel
Midfielders (X): Eric Bird, T.J. Casner, Emilio García, Jorginho James, Christian Lucatero, Camilo Monroy, Eric Verso, Charlie Ward, Todd Wharton
Forwards (X): Dzenan Catic, Ruben Luna, Kyle Murphy, Francisco Pungo,