Austin FC Offloads Rodney Redes, Eight Other Players in Roster Shake-up
Alex Ring contract option automatically exercised
By Eric Goodman,
1:53PM, Fri. Nov. 17, 2023
On Friday, Austin FC announced sweeping changes to its roster ahead of the club’s fourth season in 2024, cutting ties with nearly one-third of its senior roster, including the club’s first-ever signed player.
Forward Rodney Redes, who became Austin FC’s original signing in July of 2020 but struggled in limited minutes over the course of three seasons with the club, joined eight other ATXFC players – defenders Charlie Asensio, Kipp Keller, and Adam Lunkvist; midfielders Sofiane Djeffal and Memo Rodriguez; and forwards Will Bruin, Alfonso Ocampo-Chávez, and Maxi Urruti – in having their contract options declined by the club.
Just two players had their 2024 contract options picked up: integral midfielder Dani Pereira and up-and-coming backup goalkeeper Damian Las.
Midfielder and Designated Player Alex Ring’s contract “option” was also exercised, though there was nothing optional about it. Ring met “certain benchmarks” which triggered the contract to automatically convey to 2024. The Verde Report had previously argued that declining Ring’s option (north of $1.5 million) was a no-brainer decision for Austin FC, but based on the unique structure of the contract there was apparently no decision to be made in the end.
Two Austin FC players remain on loan away from the club. Forward Moussa Djitté will continue a stint in Turkey through the end of June while defender Jhohan Romaña, on loan in Paraguay, could return to Austin FC before the start of the 2024 season in February, but it’s unclear if either player or club has any interest in a reunion.
Defender Brandan Craig, who finished the season on loan with Austin FC but never appeared in a competitive match, will return to the Philadelphia Union before the start of the season.
The roster shakeup leaves ATXFC with 18 players under contract for the upcoming season. Among the returners are the club’s trio of goalkeepers, Brad Stuver, Matt Barsano, and Las. In defense, the club retains Julio Cascante, Jon Gallagher, Matt Hedges, Žan Kolmanič, Nick Lima, and Leo Väisänen. Sebastián Driussi, Owen Wolff, CJ Fodrey, Jhojan Valencia, Ring, and Pereira return in the midfield. At forward, Ethan Finlay and Emiliano Rigoni return on the wings, with Gyasi Zardes left as the club’s only striker under contract.
MLS teams can carry as many as 30 players at any given time, meaning Sporting Director Rodolfo Borrell has plenty of work to do in his first offseason at the helm of ATXFC’s front office. However, he’ll have a solid chunk of resources with which to do it.
According to the MLSPA, Austin FC freed up close to $2.25 million in guaranteed player compensation by declining the contract options of nine players, equivalent to roughly half of the league’s salary cap.
Head coach Josh Wolff, returning for his fourth season with Austin, likely won’t rue the absence of many, if any, of the departing nine players. Perhaps emblematic of the club’s 2023 struggles, none left a particularly notable imprint on any success the club had during the season. Will Bruin led the pack with three goals, but the 34-year-old striker struggled for fitness throughout the season.
Austin FC will hope to reverse its fortunes from a season in which the club missed the playoffs and return to the success of 2022, when ATXFC finished as one of the top two teams in the Western Conference.