One of two new clubs to the USL Championship this season, Monterey Bay F.C. enters as the lone true expansion side as it kicks off its history at Cardinale Stadium on the campus of CSU Monterey Bay this spring. Led by experienced Head Coach and Technical Director Frank Yallop, MBFC has looked to build a squad with Championship experience and promise as it ventures into its inaugural season.
The key for Monterey Bay seems set to be finding a strong spine the club can build around, and with competition in goal between former League One Goalkeeper of the Year Dallas Jaye and Dominican Republic international Rafael Diaz and the experience of Hugh Roberts, Kai Greene and Sam Gleadle in the back line, there appears to be a solid foundation to build around. A combination of experience and local talent can be found in attack, where Christian Volesky brings 45 regular season goals in 154 appearances while the club’s first signing in local product Walmer Martinez enjoyed a fruitful first professional season competing for Hartford Athletic and the El Salvador Men’s National Team.
The challenge for Yallop’s side will be an early-season schedule that sees it head on the road while the renovation of Cardinale Stadium is completed. The opening night at the 6,000-seat venue on May 7 should be a memorable one, however, as the side takes to the field in a region with a strong soccer culture and heritage to build on.
Walmer Martinez – Monterey Bay’s first signing and El Salvador international heads home from Hartford
Hugh Roberts – Veteran USL Championship center back has made 203 regular-season appearances in league
Dallas Jaye – Two-time USL League One Goalkeeper of the Year heads west from Greenville Triumph SC
Christian Volesky – Veteran forward could pass 50 regular-season goals in Championship this season
Walmer Martinez, Forward
The past 12 months for Walmer Martinez have been in many ways remarkable. From signing his first professional contract with Hartford Athletic to making not only his debut for El Salvador but competing for the side at the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup and in FIFA World Cup Qualifying, the 23-year-old has made rapid strides. Now the Santa Cruz native returns home with expansion side Monterey Bay F.C., for which he was the first official signing in club history after a transfer from Hartford. The expectations will be high for Martinez this year, but he’ll be eager to live up to them and push the new club to early success as it joins the USL Championship.
Hugh Roberts, Defender
With more than 200 regular season appearances in the USL Championship under his belt, Hugh Roberts will provide some important experience for Monterey Bay as it enters its first season. Roberts has been a mainstay in the Championship as he approaches his ninth season, ranking third in the league all-time in regular season minutes played, and was a key part of the Charlotte Independence’s advancement to back-to-back postseason appearances in the past two years. Still only 29 years old, the Maryland native heads west for the first time in his career with the prospect of adding to his sizeable legacy in the league.
Frank Yallop (1st Season)
Frank Yallop returns to the sideline to lead expansion side Monterey Bay F.C. into action after most recently leading Las Vegas Lights FC to close out the shortened 2020 Championship season. A two-time MLS Coach of the Year, Yallop’s extensive experience should be a major plus as a squad containing numerous veterans looks to come together quickly and be competitive in the Western Conference.
5Over the past three seasons, five newcomers to the league have reached the USL Championship Playoffs in their first season. Monterey Bay will be hoping to emulate NorCal rival Oakland Roots SC in accomplishing the feat this season.