Photo courtesy Darren Abate / San Antonio FC
SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio FC announced on Wednesday it had acquired midfielder Jose Escalante on loan from Honduran first-division team C.D. Olimpia for the 2018 season, and signed 19-year-old forward Alex Bruce for the upcoming USL campaign. The signings are both pending league and federation approval.
Escalante will be a familiar face to SAFC fans, having spent the 2016 and 2017 seasons on loan to both the Houston Dynamo in MLS and Rio Grande Valley FC in the USL. The 22-year-old made 21 appearances for the Toros in the 2017 season, scoring four goals and adding one assist including a fine individual strike against SAFC at Toyota Field on Sept. 23.
Escalante also appeared six times with the Dynamo over the last two seasons. He tallied 133 minutes and four shots while also playing nine minutes in Houston’s 2017 U.S. Open Cup campaign.
“First, I want to thank God for this opportunity,” said Escalante. “I also want to thank the coaching staff, the front office and the rest of the organization for welcoming me. This is a great club and I’m excited for this new challenge. I can’t wait to join the team and get started.”
Bruce joins SAFC after training with the club toward the end of the 2017 season. Originally from England, Bruce was recently a member of the Texans SC Houston soccer club. In 31 appearances overall for the Texans SC Houston U-17/18s in 2016-2017, Bruce scored 17 goals in 29 starts while leading the team to its first-ever U.S. Soccer Development Academy Championship in July after a 2-1 victory over the LA Galaxy.
“I am really excited to have signed for San Antonio FC,” said Bruce. “I know that this is a great club with great players, coaches and fans. I can’t wait to work hard in training and make the best out of the opportunity that has come my way.”
COVARRUBIAS COMES ABOARD IN FRESNO: Fresno FC has signed versatile midfielder Alejandro Covarrubias for the club’s inaugural season in the USL, pending league and federation approval. The 26-year-old Covarrubias spent most of the past four seasons with the LA Galaxy II and leaves as the club’s all-time leader in appearances.
“Alex is a player that is both tactically and technically very smart,” said Fresno Head Coach Adam Smith. “He’s somebody who I have competed against a lot from my time in Sacramento, and he’s always performed well when we’ve played against him. He’s a solid competitor through his consistent play and has a breadth of experience in the league. We will look for Alex to be a big contributor in our midfield.”
Covarrubias made 101 appearances for the Galaxy II over four seasons, and helped the side claim the 2015 USL Western Conference Championship. He opened 2017 season with OKC Energy FC, playing in four matches before returning to Los Dos to finish the season.
AUBREY TO ANCHOR STEEL FC DEFENSE: Bethlehem Steel FC added defender Brandon Aubrey to its roster on Wednesday, with the former Toronto FC II standout set to boost Bethlehem’s back line in the upcoming USL season.
“We are really happy with Brandon joining us and he brings some really valuable experience from a highly successful club,” said Steel FC Head Coach Brendan Burke. “With his age, we believe that he deserves a good look and we’re happy to be the club that gives him that look. We expect him to anchor our defense because we’re a very young team and could get even younger this season so it’s very valuable to us to have young players that already have experience in the USL.”
A native of Plano, Texas, Aubrey was selected in the first round of the 2017 MLS SuperDraft by Toronto FC, and made 21 appearances for TFC II. A member of Notre Dame’s 2013 NCAA College Cup-winning side, Aubrey led TFC II in clearances (121), interceptions (82) and blocks (22) while conceding only 23 fouls. Along with his defensive skills, the 22-year-old completed 77 percent of his 800 passes in 2017.
ROWDIES ADD REYNARES: The Tampa Bay Rowdies announced the addition of former loanee Matias Reynares on a permanent deal to join the club on Wednesday. Per club and league policy, further contract details were not disclosed.
The 19-year-old Reynares linked up with the Rowdies on loan on three separate occasions last season from North Carolina FC, and was part of the gameday squad in six contests during those spells.
“We worked a lot with Matias last year and knew right away that he was a player we wanted to bring to our organization,” Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Campbell said. “He’s really young, but he has all the physical tools you could want in a goalkeeper. With Akira [Fitzgerald] and Cody [Mizell] already on the roster, I feel we have the best set of goalkeepers in the league by far. The competition will make all three of them better.”