Instead of announcing roster additions as they came, the front office decided to give everything to us all at once. We learned in the offseason of departures of previous T2 players when their new USL clubs announced their signings. Such as when Kharlton Belmar went to Swope Park Rangers or Ben Polk over to Orlando City B.
But things had been very quiet on the addition side until now. Four T2 players from 2017 were kept on. The 2016 USL assist leader, Villyan Bijev, midfielders Dylan Damraoui and Andre Lewis, and forward Augustine Williams. In addition, previous first team loanees, Neco Brett and Wade Hamilton were signed to T2 contracts for the 2017 season.
Those are the names we are familiar with, so let’s go over the names we aren’t. T2 signed defenders Kyle Bjornethun and Shaquille Jimenez but haven’t been added to the roster until the USL and USSF approve. Not sure what they need to approve but likely international transfer certificates and business of that sort. Another interesting addition is a loaned player from not just another USL team but a MLS ‘2’ team from our own conference. Goalkeeper Christian Herrera joins T2 for the full season on loan from Real Monarchs SLC.
We also have draft picks that were expected to join T2 in 2017. Michael Amick and Russell Cicerone were drafted by the Timbers in the 2017 superdraft and join the USL side on T2 contracts for the season. You might also be familiar with Lamar Bautista, defender from UC Santa Barbara who spent the preseason with the Timbers in Arizona.
The rest of the names should be new to most of us. Defenders Harold Hansen and Max Ornstil and midfielders Tomas Granitto and Omar Mohamed. Hansen joins T2 from the US Soccer Dev Academy team FC Golden State. He has represented the national youth teams at the U-15, U-16, and U-17 levels. Ornstil comes from Santa Clara University and played on the Portland Timbers U-23 last season. Granitto comes from fellow USL side Swope Park Rangers and represented El Salvador in the recent U-20 World Cup qualifier tournament. Finally, Mohamed joins us from another USL side, FC Cincinnati.
We will still see plenty of first team loans and academy players in and out of the team throughout 2017. But at least now T2 has a base of signed players to start off with. The home opener is Saturday, March 25th at 7:30pm pacific here at Providence Park. This Saturday, the 18th, they will play a final tune-up friendly versus the University of Portland men’s soccer team at Merlo Field. That kickoff will be at 11am tomorrow.
The full press release (which is a long one):
T2 ANNOUNCE ROSTER FOR 2017 USL SEASON Club to open third USL season March 25 at Providence Park against Real Monarchs SLC
PORTLAND, Ore. – T2 today announced the club’s roster ahead of the team’s opening match of the 2017 USL regular season. Portland will play host to Real Monarchs SLC in the team’s home opener to kick off the 2017 USL season at Providence Park on Saturday, March 25; kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. (Pacific).
Players returning from the 2016 season include midfielders Villyan Bijev, Dylan Damraoui and Andre Lewis, and forward Augustine Williams. Additionally, midfielder Neco Brett and goalkeeper Wade Hamilton return as signed T2 players after playing with the club last season on loan from the Portland Timbers.
Bijev, 24, played in 29 games (23 starts) in 2016 for T2, where he tallied eight goals and led the USL with 10 assists on the way to earning USL All-League First-Team honors. Brett, 24, played in 28 games (22 starts) for T2 in 2016, tallying seven goals and three assists. Damraoui, 19, played in 16 games (12 starts) last season, recording one goal and one assist. Lewis, 22, played in 24 games (24 starts) last season for T2, where he recorded one goal. Hamilton, 22, recorded 41 saves and two shutouts in 11 games started for T2 in 2016. Williams, 19, played in 11 games (10 starts) with three goals and an assist in his first season as a professional.
Newly signed players for the 2017 season include defenders Michael Amick, Lamar Batista, Harold Hanson and Max Ornstil; midfielders Tomás Granitto and Omar Mohamed; and forward Russell Cicerone. Additionally, T2 have signed defenders Kyle Bjornethun and Shaquille Jimenez, and the two players will be added to the roster pending USL and USSF approvals. Goalkeeper Christian Herrera joins T2 for the 2017 season on loan from Real Monarchs SLC.
Amick, 21, was selected by the Timbers in the second round of the 2017 MLS SuperDraft in January after playing four seasons at UCLA (2013-2016) and logging 73 games played (68 starts) with the Bruins.
Batista, 19, played his freshman season at UC Santa Barbara (2016), where he played in 18 games (11 starts) and recorded one assist on the way to earning 2016 Big West All-Freshman Team honors.
Bjornethun, 22, played four seasons at Seattle University, where he appeared in 85 games (85 starts) and recorded nine goals and four assists.
A fourth-round selection of the Timbers in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft, Cicerone, 22, played four seasons at the University of Buffalo (2013-16), where he recorded 42 goals and 22 assists in 71 appearances.
Granitto, 23, played last season with Swope Park Rangers, where he played in 24 games (12 starts). Additionally, Granitto made three appearances for El Salvador at the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Hanson, 17, joins Portland after playing the 2016-17 U.S. Soccer Development Academy with FC Golden State, and has also represented the U.S. National Team at U-15, U-16 and U-18 levels.
Herrera, 19, joins T2 after spending last season with Pachuca II on loan from Real Monarchs SLC. He has represented both the U.S. and Mexican National Teams at the U-18 level and also has trained with the Mexican U-20 National Team.
Jimenez, 20, played last season with Costa Rican side Deportivo Saprissa II and also played with Deportivo Saprissa (2014-15), where he played in one game (1 start) and recorded a goal.
Mohamed, 20, recorded 298 minutes played in 19 games across all competitions for FC Cincinnati last season.
Ornstil, 23, played four seasons at Santa Clara University (2012-15), where he played in 74 games (66 starts) and recorded five goals and three assists. Ornstil played for the Portland Timbers U-23s last season in the PDL, where he appeared in six games and recorded one goal.
Per USL rules and regulations, up to five Academy players can occupy a roster sport without counting against the official roster count. T2 will receive additional players on loan from the Portland Timbers over the course of the 2017 USL season.
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