Prayag Jina, Kevin Murray, and Brian Potocnik will all be returning to the team for the 2016 season. The return of the three midfielders means that seven players from last year’s squad will be back with the team this season.
“We have a lot of the same guys returning,” says Kevin Murray. “With one more year of experience I think the only way we can go is up.”
Knowing that the core of last year’s team is returning played a large role in convincing the trio to remain with the Royals.
“We had a great experience last year, we had a lot of skill last year, we made a good run into the playoffs and all the guys in the team [and] the coaching staff had a great experience,” says Potocnik. “I wanted to do it again.”
Potocnik was deployed in multiple positions last year, a testament to his versatility. The same may happen this season, as Head Coach Carter Poe believes he is good enough to to fare well in most positions.
“He can play as an attacking center mid or he can play as a winger. He’s another player who is very good,” says Poe. “He can play in a lot of different spots and plays them all pretty well.”
As for Prayag Jina, who is returning from an injury, Carter Poe believes the player is fit enough to have a positive impact on the team.
“We’re hopeful that he’s going to bring something a little bit more dynamic,” says Head Coach Carter Poe. “He’s very good on the ball.”
For his part, Jina is ready to assist however he can.
“If I can help the team in any way with my possessive ability and my creative play, we’re looking good” says Jina.
Fans can see the returning midfielders and the rest of their teammates back in action on May 14, when they suit up for AFC Cleveland’s 2016 NPSL home opener against Indy Eleven NPSL.