As of right now, the number of players confirmed for the Eastern Division is as follows:
Baltimore Blast: 14
Harrisburg Heat: 15
Florida Tropics: 17
Syracuse Silver Knights: 3
Yes, that’s right. With today’s announcement of Joey Tavernese’s re-signing, the Silver Knights are up to three players who have been announced for the 2017-2018 season. With the season opener against Turlock 28 days from now, the roster situation is up in the air. As a season ticket holder, I am curious as to why more announcements haven’t been made. So, I’m going to look into my crystal ball, and try and predict the 2017-2018 team. Here’s what we know:
- Darren Toby, Kenardo Forbes, and Joey Tavernese have been signed.
- The following players have been confirmed on other teams
- Jerjer Gibson has signed with St. Louis
- Moises Gonzalez, and Antonio Manfut have signed with Rio Grande Valley
With that being said, here is who I think will be on the roster on November 3rd:
- Andrew Coughlin, Ben Ramin, Nate Bourdeau, and Bo Jelovac – These players have been actively involved with summer camps within the Syracuse area. I see them coming back 100%.
- Jake Schindler should be returning for another season with the Knights after the announcement of Rochester not returning to the MASL this season.
- Domenico Vitale owns a business in Syracuse, so it should come as no surprise his return to the Knights.
- Logan Roberts, Slavisa Ubiparapovic, and Stefanos Stamoulacatos played with the Syracuse FC outdoor team this summer. Slavisa is a cornerstone of this team, and his return would help bolster this team. I see both Stefanos and Logan playing bigger roles under coach Ryan Hall for their second season with the team.
- Vittorio Petrera, also known as “The Mayor”, should also be back. His role last year was slightly diminished, as he held more of a coaching role during the season, but the fans love him, so he should be donning a Knights jersey once again this year.
Now for the players who I think will sign elsewhere:
- Luiz Mota and Austin Tom will sign with Rio Grande. I recently saw a picture of Manfut, Gonzalez, Diego Rodriguez (who played briefly with the Knights last season), Tom, and Mota. They were in RGV gear, so my guess is they will be joining Antonio and Moises in Rio Grande.
- Patrick Thompson is someone I haven’t heard any news about recently, so I cannot say whether or not he will be back. My guess would be he signs with Harrisburg or join up with good friend JJ Gibson.
This roster if it pans out, would be rather slim. Now I know that the roster can also consist of players that come out of the combine, which will be held in a couple of weeks. But, I’d like to throw in a few names who I would LOVE to see in Syracuse.
- Nelson Santana – Yes, I do realize he’s 39. Yes, I do realize he just won a title with the Baltimore Blast last season. He has pretty much done everything he can possibly do with his career. So, why not come back to the city where he spent some of his playing time, and being probably one of the most popular players the Knights have ever had?
- With the roster from Kansas City still to be determined, GM Tommy Tanner may pry a few players from last years roster. Some names that I would love to see here are Brian Harris, Vahid Assadpour, and Leo Gibson. I’d also mention Bryan Perez as an option, but I see him staying in KC.
Hopefully, over the next week or so, the roster becomes more solidified. Until then, this is about the best I can do: Predict and hope most of it comes true!