The Little Rock Rangers announce the 2019 roster. With the series of pre-season matches behind them, head coach Will Montgomery and his staff have made a solid roster of returning and new players alike.
Ever on the road visiting matches to watch the talent from across the state, Montgomery concentrates on assessing the roles the team needs and then inviting players to be evaluated in training sessions and matches in pre-season. The team hosted open tryouts in December 2018, as well. The National Premier Soccer League allows for a 28-man final roster. Under certain circumstances, like for injury, the team can be granted an extra player or two.
Marking their return to the Rangers’ fourth season, by position, are:
Goal Keeper: Walid Birrou, Dylan Perdue
Forwards/Wingers: Donald Benamna, Alex Guadron, Sabelo Hlongwane
Midfielders: Ulises Caba Cordova, Trevor Reed, Daishi Uekuri
Backs: Carlos Beltran, Nick Doyle (captain), Jaden Hoth, Tyler Mackenzie, Arne Meyer, Joseph Oliver, Ade Oshikoya, Nick Vasquez, Ben Watson
Newcomers to the squad include:
Goal Keeper: Jake Askew
Forwards/Wingers: Lance Crabtree, Robel Dent, Blain Hickman, Eric Ramirez
Midfielders: Nyasha Dube, Leo Martinez, Julio Martins, Hayden Tucker
Backs: Ryan Blair, Jack Selig, Andy Stewart
Montgomery offered some insight into the rookie selections. Askew was chosen for his shot stopping ability and presence in the goal. Ramirez was selected as a “crafty” winger with a good left foot. Hickman was an absolute standout at Ouachita Baptist University where he was named male athlete of the year, all-central region, and first team for the conference. Crabtree is tall, fast, and will score goals, as he showed in pre-season. Dent is actually returning to the team from 2017 and is a proven goal scorer with high energy and dynamic.
In the midfield, Tucker’s stamina will make him a standout as he gains chemistry with the team, while Martins and Dube will add to the attacking threat, along with Martinez ability to dispossess with good foot work. Stewart is large and in charge on the backline, while Selig and Blair both fill needed roster depth.
For more information about the players, click here. A few in-depth profiles are also available for returning players as part of an on-going series. The Rangers began Heartland Conference play Sunday in Tulsa, OK, having reached far into the NPSL playoffs in 2018 as South Region Finalists and will compete in the US Open Cup Round 1 on Wednesday at Episcopal Collegiate School.