The 2016 USL Season was a good one for Republic midfielder Danny Barrera and forward Cameron Iwasa. Although their team was knocked out of the playoffs earlier than most would have liked, both players put in their best individual years in Old Glory Red.
Barrera, who joined Republic in 2015, started the 2016 season out well when he was given the captain’s armband by Paul Buckle. Through the course of the regular season, Barrera tallied nine assists, second only to Villyan Bijev’s 10 for Portland Timbers 2, and scored three goals. He also played in every single match of the regular season, starting all but one, and played the most regular season minutes (2,588) of any Republic player, about 95% of all possible minutes he could have played.
Barrera also set a new Republic record for most assists by an individual player in a single season, beating out Rodrigo Lopez’s 2014 record of eight assists in a single season.
Iwasa, a Sacramento-area native, was not in Barrera’s position at the start of the 2016 season. Rather than the almost guaranteed starter that he was at the end of the year, Iwasa started his sophomore season as a late-game substitute. He did not receive his first start until four games into the season. Once he did get a spot in the starting XI, however, he stayed there. Iwasa started the remaining 27 games and ended the season having appeared in all 30 of Republic’s matches.
In those 30 matches, Iwasa managed to score 12 goals, record three assists, and set three club records.
Iwasa’s 12 goals set a new Republic record for most goals scored in a single season, beating out Thomas Stewart’s 11 goal season in 2014.
His fantastic goal just 38 seconds into Republic’s June 19th game against Rio Grande Valley FC also set a team record for fastest ever goal. Iwasa once again beat out Thomas Stewart, whose second minute goal against Colorado Springs Switchbacks on August 14th, 2015 was the previous fastest goal in team history.
Finally, Iwasa’s 27 consecutive starts also set a new team record, surpassing the previous record of 24 set by Patrick McLain in 2015.
It is fitting, then, that when the USL announced on Tuesday their All-League First and Second Teams, both Barrera and Iwasa were included.
Barrera was named to the All-League First Team, which also included former Republic defender Harrison Delbridge. Barrera became the third Republic player to be named to the All-League First Team, joining Nemanja Vukovic and Rodrigo Lopez, who were both included in 2014.
Iwasa was named to the All-League Second Team, becoming the fourth Republic player to receive the honor. Mickey Daly, Rodrigo Lopez, and Nemanja Vukovic were all named to the All-League Second Team in the 2015 season.
What are your thoughts on Barrera and Iwasa being receiving league-wide recognition? Are there any other Republic players who you think could have or should have been recognized? Sound off in the comments below!