Republic FC’s offseason has been busy as the USL club picked up the contract options for 2017 on goalkeepers Dominik Jakubek and Evan Newton, defenders Emrah Klimenta and Carlos Rodriguez and midfielder Agustin Cazarez and signed forward Harry Williams to a new contract. Sacramento also announced the signing of former Louisville City FC defender Enrique Montano.
Klimenta, Republic FC’s all-time leader in minutes and starts, was arguably Republic FC’s most valuable player last season before an ACL tear July 2 ended his season.
“We have watched his rehab and he will greatly impact the team because he is such a great player down the right side,” said Republic FC coach Paul Buckle in a release.
Jakubek and Newton shared time in goal last season in producing a club record 12 shutouts and a stellar 0.90 goals against average during the USL regular season.
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The promising 20-year-old Rodriguez, the team’s youngest player, appeared in nine USL matches last season and also scored his first professional goal in a U.S. Open Cup match. Cazarez played in 14 USL matches and was a valuable utility player in midfield and on defense.
Klimenta, Jakubek and Cazarez all are members of Republic FC’s 2014 USL championship team.
The 20-year-old Williams scored five goals and had an assist in 30 matches last season after coming over from England.
“We saw enough last year to seal his return, and we believe that he will be even better next season,” Buckle said.
Williams played three years previously in England with his hometown Cheltenham Town ‑ Buckle’s last coaching gig overseas – after playing with the club as a youth player since the age of 8.
Montano appeared in 23 games in 2015 for Louisville City FC, making 20 starts, and played in nine games for the USL Eastern Conference team in 2016.
Buckle said Montano was looking to return to California, where he grew up and played at San Jose State.
“He knows the area, knows the club and has a very good left foot,” Buckle said.
Preki lands Mirkovic – Former Republic FC midfielder and team captain Ivan Mirkovic is joining new Saint Louis FC coach Preki.
Mirkovic was a key player for Preki during the former Major League Soccer coach’s one and half seasons as Republic FC’s first coach. Both are natives of Serbia.
Mirkovic started last year with Sacramento before being sent to the Orange County Blues FC, where he was the team captain and helped the Irvine-based team reach the USL Western Conference semifinals.
Mirkovic may not be the last former Republic FC player that winds up with Preki in St. Louis.