The last day of November 2016 provided a huge glimpse at what the 2017 RGVFC Toros’ roster will look like. 12 player options from the 2016 team were picked up, while three were declined. The picked up options include: Charlie Ward, Christian Lucatero, Dzenan Catic, Eric Bird, Eric Verso, Jose “Memo” Rodriguez, Juan “Charly” Flores, Kai Greene, Kyle Murphy, Leo Ayala, Ruben Luna and Taylor Hunter. The declined trio was goalkeepers Devin Perales and Callum Irving, as well as Todd Wharton. The club is currently in negotiations with Wharton, out of contract players George Malki, TJ Casner, and Arturo Sanchez. They are also in talks with the respective clubs of 2016 loanees Emilio Garcia and Jorginho James, of Pachuca and Harbour View FC respectively.
One member of last year’s sturdy backline did agree to a new deal.
2016 Houston Dynamo draft pick Ivan Magalhães came to terms with the Toros, after appearing in 26 matches as a rookie. The former Maryland Terrapin, and native of Brazil, shared his reasons for a return to the club. “RGV was the right fit because it felt like the right place to continue my development, and ultimately reach my goal which is playing in MLS,” explained the defender. “This past season was a wonderful one to me, the players, staff, and the fans made me feel so comfortable. I was happy in playing for RGVFC. I'd like to thank Wilmer (Cabrera), Matt (Jordan) and Nick (Kowba) for trusting in my potential and wanting me back for next year!”
Largely rumored already, the big number of player options being picked up hints towards some Toros players getting a look in camp with Houston this offseason. Charlie Ward, who played every minute for RGVFC in 2016, Memo Rodriguez, and Eric Bird are among the top names Dynamo fans are clamoring for. If he doesn’t end up on the Houston roster, Rodriguez will be ready to take care of unfinished business in the USL. Memo told me, “Yeah I'm very excited ready to start again! We fell a little short last year and I know that the guys want to be in the finals. So we want to start strong this upcoming year.”
The two goalkeepers, Perales and Irving, moving on may be an indication that Calle Brown will spend more time with RGVFC in 2017. Wilmer Cabrera’s Dynamo will have Joe Willis, Tyler Deric, and Brown under contract. Speaking of the new Houston head coach, the vacancy he left at the helm for the Toros has yet to be filled.