Yakima, WA – With just over a week until they kick off their 2015 league campaign, Yakima United FC have released their 2015 player pool.
“League rules stipulate we can have 25 players activated at a time,” said United’s General Manager Josh Vega. “but for training purposes and because over the course of a season things do fluctuate, we will probably continue to carry a few more guys than that” he added.
That player pool, which stands at just under 30 players, features a mix of several returning players and a host of new faces. Yakima’s Vice Captain, Daniel Hernandez said about the squad “We’re looking good. We have several solid returning players and a lot of new, young talent.” He went on to say, “The new guys look strong, and I think they’ll all contribute to the team in different ways”
Team owner and head coach Hector Vega will be relying on those new players to help improve on the Hoppers 2014 mid table finish. “We have quite a few new players but they’re not without experience, I expect them to be able to step in and perform,” he said. While the additions may not be recognizable within the league, around the Yakima Valley their quality is already known. “We will always build our team with local players, some of these guys had injuries or college commitments that kept them from participating last year, but we’re glad they’re with us now” said Vega.
Among the returning players are familiar faces such as club captain Dennis Stevenson, Yakima’s top scorers from 2014 Jesse Esquivel and Hector Valdovinos, and 2008 PDL leading scorer and MVP Junior Garcia.
For the new players, this is a chance to continue playing at a higher level. “I want to keep improving myself,” said Jhony Mendoza, Hoppers newcomer and former WSSCA 4A second team all-state defender and NWAC all-star. “I think it’s a great program to be a part of, we’re not just a team but a family. Not everyone gets this opportunity and I try to remember that every time I go to practice or play a game, I want to take advantage of that and keep moving forward,” He added. Mendoza not only views his opportunity in a sporting sense but as a chance for a positive lifestyle improvement. “After high school and college, I was probably starting to head the wrong way, but now I’m here and I love the support the coaches give us as a team”
Joining Mendoza, as new arrivals, are the likes of former Evergreen Geoducks midfielder Albert Anabtawi, Daniel Saucedo who spent time with the Everett Trojans and was a former Yakima Reds PDL player at the age of 17. Adding to an already strong contingent of Columbia Basin College alum are Adolfo Mora, Jordan Jones, and Carlos Gonzalez.
Full Training Squad
Goalkeepers: Jacob Rhoads, Antonio Gonzalez, Jose Ramirez
Defenders: Dennis Steven (C) , Daniel Hernandez (VC) , Alex Castro, Armando Escobedo, Alberto Farias, Jiovanni Arellano, Jordan Jones, Luis Nogales, Jhony Mendoza, Miguel Muniz, Daniel Saucedo
Midfielders: Albert Anabtawi, Alexio Garcia, Andres Ruiz, Carlos Gonzalez, Cristian Gonzalez, Guillermo Silva, Luis Martinez, Rafael Valle, Ramon Ayala, Sergio Gutierrez
Forwards: Hector Valdovinos, Ceveriano Garcia, Jesse Esquivel, William Pineda, Cesar Rodriguez, Adolfo Mora