ATLANTA (November 8, 2011) — One day after naming a new head coach, the Atlanta Silverbacks have begun addressing the 2012 roster, exercising the options of nine players and releasing three others, the club announced Tuesday.
Silverbacks team captain and midfielder LUCAS PAULINI will return for another season to serve under new head coach Alex Pineda Chacón, as will a trio of offensive playmakers. Forward MATT HORTH and midfielders CIARAN O’BRIEN and RAPHAEL COX enjoyed individual successes in their first season in Atlanta, with Horth leading the team in goals scored and O’Brien leading the way in assists.
Defender WILLIE HUNT will also be back in a Silverbacks uniform in 2012 after this year scoring three goals, the league high among defenders. Joining Hunt on the list of returning defenders are SHANE MORONEY, PATRICK ROBERTSON, and KOHEI MATSUSHITA.
After missing most of his rookie season due to injury, midfielder FERNANDO GONZALEZ will return in 2012. Gonzalez started the first four games of the season before suffering a season-ending foot injury in May.
“We’re excited to announce the return of several key players from last season’s team,” said Director of Soccer Rodrigo Rios. “We know we have a lot of work to do in order to be more competitive next season, and we are actively scouting players who can make an immediate impact on the field.”
The Silverbacks chose not to exercise the options of three players: forward JON COX and midfielders MOUSSA TOURE and JOSE PARADA.
The organization has until the end of November to decide on player options and negotiate the contracts of the remaining players from the 2011 team.