Rio Grande Valley FC, the USL hybrid affiliate of the Houston Dynamo, announced several roster moves today ahead of the start of the 2019 USL Championship season, pending league and federation approval.
Rio Grande Valley native Midfielder Victor Garza returns for his third season with the Toros. RGV FC also signed two Houston Dynamo draft picks in DF Andrew Samuels and MF Brad Dunwell along with four Dynamo Academy products in midfielders Nico Lemoine and Kevin Rodriguez and goalkeepers Osmar Chavero and Isaac Acevedo.
In addition, RGV signed MF Andres Arcila, DF Hector Copete, DF Robert Coronado, MF Isidro Martinez, and GK Ben Willis.
Garza played five matches for the Toros last year before suffering a serious knee injury which prematurely ended his season. In 2017 he played in 20 games for RGV. Garza made his professional debut with Tigres UANL in 2012 when he came in as a substitute in a 2-2 draw against Unión Española in the second leg of the Qualification Round of the 2012 Copa Libertadores.
Samuels was drafted in the second round of the 2019 MLS SuperDraft by the Houston Dynamo and spent the preseason with the team. He played his college soccer career at University of Maryland appearing in 78 matches with 51 starts captaining them to the 2018 national championship.
Dunwell was drafted by the Dynamo in the third round of the 2019 MLS SuperDraft and also spent the preseason with the Houston Dynamo. The Michigan native was named to the 2018 All-ACC Second Team and United Soccer Coaches All-America Second Team. He started 91 games, tallied 14 assists and scored a goal for the Demon Deacons and led Wake Forest to four consecutive ACC Atlantic Division titles and an appearance in the 2016 NCAA College Cup Final.
Lemoine joins RGV following a standout 2018 campaign with the Houston Dynamo U19 USDA Academy team, where he was a top performer helping the team to a record of 7 wins and 3 losses while leading the team with 6 assists, and contributing 3 goals.
Dynamo Academy Product Rodriguez was drafted in the Fourth Round of 2019 MLS SuperDraft and joined RGV for the second half of preseason. After playing several years in the Houston Dynamo Academy, he played four years at Northern Illinois University from 2015-18, appearing in 59 games, scoring seven goals and distributing 11 assists while earning conference freshman of the year honors in 2015. Rodriguez played two seasons for the Brazos Valley Cavalry the hybrid PDL affiliate of the Houston Dynamo as well as an additional season with the Houston Dynamo U-23’s prior to the inception of Brazos Valley Cavalry.
Arcilia played at Seton Hall University under RGV head coach Gerson Echeverry appearing in 47 games scoring 18 goals and adding 10 assists. Colombian Copete joins the Toros after playing for CD America de Cali in his native country. Coronado played collegiately at Cal State-Fullerton and appeared in 67 games, scoring 5 goals and dishing out 18 assists.
Brownsville native Martinez played at University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley and appeared in 70 games for the Vaqueros scoring nine goals to go along with 13 assists.
Willis played four years at Gonzaga, totaling 201 saves in 56 matches. In 2017 he received All-WCC Honorable Mention. He participated in the annual Dynamo and RGV Goalkeeper ID Training Camp in December of 2018 and was one of 20 Goalkeepers identified from the Senior College Class.
Chavero also joins RGV on an amateur Academy contract and will continue to play for the Houston Dynamo U19 USDA team, Chavero has played for the Dynamo Academy since he was 11 years old progressing through the ranks. Both are natives of the Rio Grande Valley. Acevedo joins RGV on an amateur Academy contract while he will continue to play for the Houston Dynamo Academy as well. Prior to joining the Dynamo, Acevedo played in the RGV USDA program. Both players are from the Rio Grande Valley.
With the addition of these 12 players, RGV FC will begin its 2019 USL Championship season with 28 players on the official roster:
Goalkeepers (4): Isaac Acevedo, Osmar Chavero, Nico Corti, Ben Willis
Defenders (7): Kyle Adams, Robert Castellanos, Robert Coronado, Conor Donovan, Zach Jackson, Andrew Samuels, Carlos Viveros
Midfielders (13): Andres Arcila, David Cabrera, Hector Copete, Brad Dunwell, Jesus Enriquez, Maalique Foster, Romilio Hernandez, Nico Lemoine, Isidro Martinez, Camilo Monroy, Brandon Morales, Kevin Rodriguez, Victor Garza
Forwards (3): Andres Cabrera, Aldo Quintanilla, Carlos Small
The hybrid relationship between the Dynamo and RGV FC in which the Dynamo control all aspects of soccer operations, including employment of the technical staff and player selection, while RGV FC manages the business side of the club, was unique in MLS when RGV FC was launched in 2016 and has quickly been emulated by multiple MLS clubs over the past year.
TRANSACTION: RGV FC re-signs MF Victor Garza; DF Andrew Samuels, signs MF Brad Dunwell, MF Nico Lemoine, MF Kevin Rodriguez, GK Isaac Acevedo and GK Osmar Chavero, MF Andres Arcila, MF Hector Copete, DF Robert Coronado, MF Isidro Martinez, GK Ben Willis