Oakland Roots SC has signed forward Jeciel Cedeño to a new contract, one of 15 players currently set to return to the club for the 2024 USL Championship season. | Photo courtesy Oakland Roots SC
OAKLAND, Calif. – Oakland Roots SC announced its initial roster moves for the 2024 USL Championship season on Wednesday, with the club signing forward Jeciel Cedeño to a new contract among 15 players set to return overall.
Cedeño joined Oakland midway through the 2023 campaign via transfer from Hartford Athletic and recorded one goal, one assist and 32 chances created in 22 appearances for the club. The 23-year-old will be joined in the forward line by leading goalscorer Johnny Rodriguez, who was previously under contract.
Also previously under contract for the 2024 is 2023 Championship All-League selection Paul Blanchette, as well as Daniel Gomez, Ryan Her, Napo Matsoso, Lindo Mfeka, Trayvone Reid, and Tim Syrel. Roots SC also exercised contract options on Memo Diaz, Irakoze Donasiyano, Neveal Hackshaw, Baboucarr Njie, Wolfgang Prentice, and Bryan Tamacas.
Danny Barbir, Emrah Klimenta, Tarek Morad, Joseph Nane, and Kevin Wright are all out of contract.
Oakland will see some key figures return for the new season as the side seeks a return to the playoffs, with Paul Blanchette’s continued presence in goal a major plus after his career-best campaign. The Palo Alto, Calif. native’s 116 saves led the Championship, while he also recorded a Goals Prevented mark of -4.57 in the regular season.
The return of experienced heads like defender Bryan Tamacas and midfielders Memo Diaz and Neveal Hackshaw for another year is also positive. The hope will be players like Lindo Mfeka and Trayvone Reid can provide more secondary scoring behind Johnny Rodriguez, whose 12 goals led the side.
The most pressing need in the free agent market, however, appears to be in the center of defense with all three of Emrah Klimenta, Tarek Morad and Danny Barbir – who ranked second on the team in minutes played – out of contract. Finding a solid group to help Blanchette be a little less busy next season will likely be at the top of Technical Director Jordan Ferrell’s to-do list.
OAKLAND ROOTS SC CURRENT 2024 ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS: Paul Blanchette, Tim Syrel
DEFENDERS: Memo Diaz, Baboucarr Njie, Wolfgang Prentice, Bryan Tamacas
MIDFIELDERS: Irakoze Donasiyano, Daniel Gomez, Neveal Hackshaw, Ryan Her, Napo Matsoso
FORWARDS: Jeciel Cedeño, Lindo Mfeka, Trayvone Reid, Johnny Rodriguez