USL Roundup: Sacramento shakes up technical staff

In the wake of a midseason departure by former head coach Preki and the hiring of Paul Buckle to replace him, Sacramento Republic FC has changed titles and responsibilities of several key members, effective immediately.

USL 2015:
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Buckle will take on the title and duties of technical director, and TD Graham Smith is now the director of football. Assistant coach Chris Malenab will work as video analyst with the first team and the development academy as a video analyst. Malenab will also guide the curriculum for Republic FC camps and clinics.

“At this critical point of Republic FC’s maturation, it is imperative that we give the title of head coach and technical director to Paul because of his vast experience not only as a head coach, but because of his extensive experience as a coaching educator,” said team president Warren Smith in a team release announcing the changes. “This multifaceted responsibility will enable the Republic FC Academy staff to benefit in every way from his knowledge and coaching philosophy. His ability to form the bridge between the first team and youth is undoubted.”

Buckle will oversee all first team roster changes, academy development issues, and call-ups. Smith has worked as the team’s technical director since May, 2013, and played a key role in the signing of MLS veterans Rodrigo Lopez and Justin Braun. As director of football, Smith will continue to oversee personnel matters such as hiring of coaching staff. Malenab joined Republic FC as an assistant coach prior to the club’s first season in 2014.

MLS Connection

Rookie Oniel Fisher has been used mostly as a backup to Seattle right back Tyrone Mears when not playing for Sounders 2, but when a hole opened up at left back, he was ready to step in.

In just his third MLS start last Sunday he played the full 90 minutes as the Sounders halted a six-game winless streak by beating Orlando City, 4-0. Injuries to Leo Gonzalez and Dylan Remick opened the door for Fisher, who has started three games and come on as a sub twice since getting his first shot June 24. He gives considerable credit to the steady diet of play he gets with Sounders 2.

“For game time and stuff like that, it did help a lot,” Fisher told the Seattle Times. “The pace of S2 and the pace of the first team is different, but I had to adjust. … It kind of prepared me for both, when to up the tempo a bit and when to slow it down. It surely helped.”

Head coach Sigi Schmid isn’t all that surprised. During preseason, he told former GM Garth Lagerwey and technical director Chris Henderson that the Jamaican drafted out of the University of New Mexico could be an asset. “What I like about Oniel is that he’s not in awe of the situation,” Schmid said after taming the Lions. “He’s going to come in and battle.”

Trade Central

Sounders 2 has signed St. Vincent & the Grenadines forward Myron Samuel. Samuel, 22, joins countryman and teammate Oalex Anderson -- as well as head coach Ezra Hendrickson -- as natives of the Caribbean nation employed by the Seattle organization. Orange County has signed former Sounders forward David Estrada, 27. He started his pro career with the Sounders in 2010 and has also played for D.C. United and Sacramento FC.

Player of the Week

Matt Fondy drilled home four goals to earn a unanimous selection as USL Player of the Week. The Louisville forward nailed his quartet in a 5-1 win against the Harrisburg City Islanders last Wednesday. The four-goal game was a season high in the USL and Fondy thus captured the weekly award for the third time this season.

USL Team of the Week:

Andrew Wolverton, LA Galaxy II
Michael Thomas, OKC Energy FC
Alberto Navarro, Orange County
Enrique Montano, Louisville City
Massimo Mirabelli, Toronto FC II
Kenardo Forbes, Rochester
Luke Vercollone, Colorado Springs
Brent Richards, Timbers 2

Cristian Mata, Tulsa
Matt Fondy, Louisville City
Jack McBean, LA Galaxy II

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