Silverbacks Sign Cal FC Trio
Forward Danny Barrera, defender Mike Randolph and midfielder Pablo Cruz now head to Atlanta after a U.S. Open Cup run with Cal FC.
The Atlanta Silverbacks have signed forward Danny Barrera, midfielder Pablo Cruz and defender Mike Randolph, the club announced Tuesday, pending USSF approval.
The trio comes to Atlanta after most recently playing for Cal FC, an amateur club assembled by current Silverbacks Interim Head Coach Eric Wynalda. The team, led by Barrera, Cruz, and Randolph, made national headlines in June when they topped a pair of professional clubs, the Wilmington Hammerheads of USL Pro and the Portland Timbers of MLS, to make it all the way to the fourth round of this year’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Although Cal FC is considered to be an amateur club, Barrera, Cruz and Randolph all boast experience playing in the U.S. youth national team system. Barrera and Randolph also have professional experience.
Barrera, 22, comes to the Silverbacks after scoring four goals in three games for Cal FC in the U.S. Open Cup. The Colombian-born forward played professionally for Serbian side FK Spartak Zlatibor Voda in 2011, and was an offensive standout for PDL side Ventura County Fusion from 2008-2011. Before playing in college at UC-Santa Barbara, he was a member of the U-17 and U-18 U.S. Men’s National Team, appearing in the Pan-American Games in 2007.
"Danny is and always has been a tremendously talented player," Wynalda said in a statement. "We're thrilled to be the starting point of what very well could be an excellent professional career."
The 25-year-old Randolph brings key experience to the Silverbacks, having appeared in 39 league games for the Los Angeles Galaxy of MLS from 2006-2008. The left back has also spent time with professional sides Miami FC, Portland Timbers, California Victory, and Los Angeles Blues. The former U-23 U.S. Men’s National Team defender is a former teammate of current Silverbacks captain Martyn Lancaster (Miami FC in 2010).
"Mike is a solid pro and someone who knows the left back position extremely well," Wynalda said. "His experience, speed, and team attitude will greatly improve the quality of our squad."
Cruz, 21, is coming off playing a key role in the U.S. Open Cup for Cal FC, and he's expected to add creativity and skill to the Silverbacks' midfield. Another former U.S. youth international, Cruz went on trial with Mexican side Club América and MLS club Chivas USA before joining Wynalda’s Cal FC team.
"Pablo is a very impressive young talent that I've admired for awhile now," Wynalda said. "I think he will thrive in the professional environment that Atlanta now provides him."
The Silverbacks also announced Tuesday that the club and Honduran midfielder Danilo Turcious have mutually agreed to terminate their contract. The 34-year-old veteran, who recorded three assists in 13 appearances for the Silverbacks, has returned home to Honduras for personal reasons.
The three newcomers, Barrera, Cruz, and Randolph are expected to be eligible for this Saturday's game against the Puerto Rico Islanders at Atlanta Silverbacks Park. Kickoff is at 7:30pm.
In other news, the Atlanta Silverbacks have appointed Brian Haynes to be the team’s primary assistant coach.
Haynes will start with the club in an assistant role, but will eventually take over for current interim head coach Eric Wynalda later in the season. Wynalda personally selected Haynes after conducting an extensive coaching search once he took charge of the club on July 2.
"It has always been a dream of mine to become a head coach at the professional level, so I'm thrilled to be given this opportunity by the Silverbacks organization," Haynes said. "I feel that after all of these years of coaching, I'm ready for the challenge, and to be able to get an opportunity in a city like Atlanta is fantastic."
The 50-year-old Haynes brings six seasons of experience as an assistant in Major League Soccer with the Dallas Burn (now FC Dallas). He was with the organization from 2000-2006, and helped the team get to the U.S. Open Cup final in 2000 and 2005.
Following his time in MLS, Haynes took charge of W-League side Real Colorado Cougars from 2007-2008. He then settled in Texas with his family, becoming the Boys Director for Albion Hurricanes FC, an elite youth club in Houston.