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Chris Cortez Leads Three New Arrivals in Monterey Bay

By Staff, 02/04/22, 6:18PM EST


Dominican Republic international Rafael Diaz, defender Morey Doner also set for new season

New Monterey Bay F.C. signing Chris Cortez has recorded 51 goals in the Championship's regular season, most recently competing for Miami FC. | Photo courtesy Orovio Photography / Miami FC

SEASIDE, Calif. – Monterey Bay F.C. announced on Friday three new additions to its inaugural squad, with the arrival of veteran forward Chris Cortez, goalkeeper Rafael Diaz and defender Morey Doner ahead of the 2022 USL Championship season. The signings are pending league and federation approval.

Cortez arrives in Monterey Bay having recorded 50 regular season goals in the Championship over the course of his career. Cortez joined Orange County SC for the 2013 season after beginning his professional career at former Major League Soccer club Chivas USA and recorded 21 goals in 66 appearances across three seasons. He then joined Phoenix Rising FC and recorded 29 goals in 76 regular-season games to join the league’s 50-goal club.

“I’ve worked with Chris during my time at Phoenix Rising FC,” said Monterey Bay F.C. Sporting Director and Head Coach Frank Yallop. “He is a proven goalscorer and a very versatile forward. We’re happy to have him.”

After competing overseas for two-and-a-half year, Cortez returned to the Championship last year withn Miami FC, where he recorded one goal in four games late in the season. A Mission Viejo, California native, Cortez is looking forward to reuniting with Yallop and has some personal ties to the Monterey area.

“I’m very excited to be here and really excited to reunite with Frank again. He was a big reason I came here. I worked with him in Phoenix, and it was fantastic, it led to some great things over there and I’m hoping to repeat that here as well,” said Cortez. “For me, I also have a bit of a connection here. My sister went to California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) and played soccer here on the women’s team, so I’m familiar with the area and that will help with the transition. Anytime I need anything I’ll know I can call her.”

Díaz joins MBFC following four seasons with fellow USL Championship side Sacramento Republic FC. While in Sacramento, the goalkeeper recorded nine clean sheets in 27 appearances and earned Republic FC’s 2021 Save of the Year honor for an impressive double-save in a match against El Paso Locomotive FC this past September.

Prior to his stint with Republic FC, the Dominican Republic native spent three seasons with the New York Red Bulls organization from 2015-2017. During his time with Red Bulls II, Díaz earned eight clean sheets in 21 appearances. In addition to competing at the club level, Díaz has also made five appearances for the Dominican Republic Men’s National Team, four of which came this past year in FIFA 2022 World Cup Qualifying.

“Rafi is a seasoned goalkeeper that has found success in the USL Championship,” said Yallop. “He’s athletic, a very good shot stopper and full of all-around ability.”

Doner joins Monterey Bay F.C. after spending the 2021 season with Canadian Premier League side HFX Wanderers. Prior to joining the Wanderers, the 27-year-old had a brief stint with Next Academy Palm Beach of USL League Two before stops with League1 Ontario clubs Durham (2014) and Aurora FC (2016-2018).

While in his final season with Aurora FC in 2018, Doner was named team captain, scored three goals and played every minute of every match on his way to earning a League1 Ontario All-Star selection. Doner then joined CPL side York9 for its inaugural season in 2019 where he recorded one goal and four assists in 36 appearances across two seasons.

“Morey is an exciting and quick right fullback that adds to the attack while also being a good one-on-one defender,” said Yallop. “We’re excited to add him to the group.”

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