Photo credit: Minnesota United
Danny Cruz and Saalih Muhammad are the latest players to sign with the San Francisco Deltas for the inaugural 2017 campaign. The Deltas now have 19 players signed as the organization looks forward to opening night on March 25 against Indy Eleven at Kezar Stadium in Golden Gate Park.
Cruz comes to San Francisco from Minnesota United, joining former teammates and current SF Deltas Greg Jordan and Steward Ceus. Muhammad, a Bay Area native who was invited to training camp through the SF Deltas open tryouts in November, is the first trialist to be signed to a contract.
Cruz, a seven-year veteran of Major League Soccer and an experienced member of U-17 and U-20 World Cups, is entering his ninth season as a professional. After being drafted in the third round of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft, Cruz spent three seasons with the Houston Dynamo where he helped them reach the 2011 MLS Cup. In 2012, he spent half a season with D.C. United before being traded to the Philadelphia Union. He made his biggest impact on the stat sheet with the Union, appearing in 70 matches over three and a half years while scoring seven goals.
"I've always liked his commitment and attitude towards the team," Deltas coach Marc Dos Santos said. "Danny wants to win and always brings the right mentality in training and games."
Muhammad, who was born in Richmond, Calif., and attended El Cerrito High School, earned one of four invites to preseason training camp out of a pool of nearly 300 competitors at the open tryouts. When he was 16, Muhammad moved to Croatia to join the youth academy for powerhouse Dinamo Zagreb for two years. At age 18, he returned to the States, joined the Portland Timbers Academy, and subsequently earned an invite to the U-20 U.S. national team training camp. He returned to Croatia in 2015 and spent the last two years with third-division sides NK HAŠK and NK Äakovo, respectively.
"He's a young player with incredible room to grow," Dos Santos said. "He's worked hard and kept the right mentality since day one. He deserves this opportunity."