Sacramento Republic FC Sign Five 'Academy Players on Professional Team' Contracts
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Sacramento Republic FC have added five academy players to their 2018 United Soccer League (USL) roster[M1] . Midfielders Quincy Butler and Esteban Zepeda, defender Mark McEntosh and goalkeepers Johan Garibay and Jordan Martinez join the first team under "Academy Players on Professional Team' contracts, making all five players eligible for selection in USL matches, including Saturday's season opener against San Antonio FC.
USL "Academy Players on Professional Team' contracts are designed to preserve players' amateur status. They allow Republic FC Academy players to play in first team professional matches while still maintaining NCAA eligibility.
"We're excited to give our Academy players experience in a professional environment, both in training and official matches," said Republic FC General Manager Todd Dunivant. "That experience will accelerate the development of our young players and will improve the overall level of the Academy, as they bring a higher standard back to their Academy teams. For our first team, it provides depth to our roster and further integrates the entire club as one collective."
"We've had a lot of Academy players in with the first team during the preseason and these are the guys who have done the most to earn this," said Republic FC Head Coach Simon Elliott. "It's something that they should earn because in professional soccer you need to earn it every day."
Butler was the first Republic FC Academy player to join the club's USL roster on an academy/USL contract. The 16-year-old winger has been with Republic FC's United States Soccer Developmental Academy since its inception in 2015, scoring 26 goals in 83 career academy appearances. Prior to joining Republic FC's Academy, Butler played with San Juan Soccer Club.
Martinez also joined Republic FC's academy for its inaugural season in 2015, playing with the U-15/16 team in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, before moving to the U-19 team last season. The 17-year-old has made 41 career academy appearances for Republic FC.
Garibay joined the Academy in 2016, making 28 appearances in that span. The Stockton native previously played for two seasons at Lincoln High School, posting 22 shutouts in those seasons. He was awarded Goalkeeper of the Year for the Tri-City Athletic League in 2015.
McEntosh has been part of Republic FC's academy since 2016, scoring 8 goals in 54 career appearances. The defender, along with Garibay, have both signed a letter of intent with Gonzaga University.
Zepeda has also played for the Academy since its inaugural season, making 71 career appearances in that time span. The midfielder recently saw minutes with the first team in a friendly against Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders FC and Los Angeles FC during the preseason.
Republic FC kick off the 2018 USL season at Papa Murphy's Park on Saturday, March 17, at 7:30 p.m. against San Antonio FC.
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