Of the 22 players that dressed for the Republic's friendly against the Colorado Rapids, 7 were not under contract with the club. Those 7 were: Harry Williams, Alex Mangels, Mackenzie Pridham, Diego Lopez, Alex Risdale, Nabilai Kibunguchy, and Joe Restani.
Although we saw a bit of what they could do through a few substitute appearances, there was little in the way of background information on them given on Saturday. Even though there is always a chance that we might not be seeing these guys again, we want to clear things up and provide what information we can.
Williams goes first here because he doesn't really fit in the same category as the rest of these guys, mostly because we knew about him before the start of the game. We've been hearing rumors of Williams's arrival in Sacramento since last month and know at least a little about the former Cheltenham Town man.
Williams is 20 year old a product of the Cheltenham Town academy system. He signed his first professional contract with the team in 2014 and was at the club during current Republic head coach Paul Buckle's very short time as manager of The Robins . He made 13 appearances for Cheltenham Town and 44 appearances in various loan stints in the lower echelons English soccer, scored 22 goals along the way.
A goalkeeper from UC Berkeley, Mangels did not make an appearance in Saturday's match. During his time at Cal, he made 26 appearances from 2013-2015, with half of those coming in 2015. In his final year he put up a goals against average of 1.45, making 39 saves and putting up a save percentage of .696.
A 25 years old forward, Pridham is most notable for his accomplishments in his five years at Cal Poly, where he is the all-time leading goalscorer with 27, including two double digit seasons in 2012 and 2013.
After being drafted in 2014 but going unsigned, Pridham signed for Minnesota United, playing one game before being loaned to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. In 2015 Pridham went back to the Whitecaps organization and played with Vancouver Whitecaps 2, putting in 420 minutes over 20 games but scoring no goals.
You can see a highlight video of Pridham down below.
A midfielder, Lopez played for Western Illinois University from 2013-2015. He made 45 appearances for the Leathernecks during that time, scoring 5 goals and registering 6 assists.
Kibunguchy, a defender, was one of two Republic academy players on the bench during Saturday's friendly. He played in 17 games with the Republic's U17/18 academy team, scoring one goal.
He has also committed to play his college ball with UC Davis.
The Nelson, New Zealand native comes to Sacramento having recently played for Xavier University from 2014-2015 after transferring from McKendree University. The winger played 42 games over his two years at Xavier, scoring 13 goals and registering 5 assists.
One of his 2015 goals, a well taken bicycle kick, landed him on ESPN. A full highlight video of Risdale can be found below.
Restani was the second Republic academy player that dressed for Saturday's match. The forward made 14 appearances for the U17/18 academy team, scoring 6 goals along the way.
He has committed to play his college ball with St. Mary's College.
We will surely see more of what these players can do at the USL level as the Republic's preseason rolls on. Only now we can watch with a bit more of an understanding of their soccer background.
Which of these trialists or academy players are you most intrigued about? Let us know in the comments below.