In two moves Wednesday involving the same position, Republic FC said in the morning it would not pick up the contract option on goalkeeper Patrick McLain, then announced in the afternoon it signed 2015 USL Goalkeeper of the Year finalist Evan Newton to replace him.
Newton, a former San Jose Earthquakes reserve goalkeeper, has played the last two seasons in the USL, including last season for the Oklahoma City Energy FC. He helped the Energy reach the Western Conference championship match in October. Newton was second in the USL with 10 shutouts and 89 saves. He made two saves in a 4-3 penalty-kick shootout win over the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC in the conference semifinals.
Newton played in 28 matches for Arizona United SC in 2014.
“Evan is someone we have had our eye on,” Republic FC coach and technical director Paul Buckle said in a statement. “He had other options, so we couldn’t be more thrilled that a player of his experience is joining us.”
Newton, 27, was taken with the seventh pick in the first round of the 2011 Major League Soccer Supplemental Draft by the Houston Dynamo. He was released at the end of that season and signed by San Jose, though he never appeared in an MLS match for either club.
Newton played at Old Dominion, where he is the career saves and shutouts leader.
Before announcing Newton’s signing, Republic FC announced it had declined the contract option on McLain.
The former Chivas USA goalkeeper played in 29 matches for Sacramento, including 24 USL matches. He had 71 saves and allowed 30 goals. He had a franchise-record nine saves in an Aug. 14 match against Colorado Springs.
The former Cal Poly player had a 1.25 goals-against average, and the team was 11-8-5 in his league matches.
“Pat has been a brilliant player for the club,” Buckle said. “We always do what we can to keep a player, but we didn’t want to stand in Pat’s way as he looked to other opportunities. He is someone that has a desire to play at a higher level, and we wish him all the best in his career.”