Cal FC trio signs with Wynalda’s Silverbacks


Eric Wynalda's Cal FC influence on the Atlanta Silverbacks is becoming a little more noticeable.

Just a week after taking over as interim manager of the NASL club, Wynalda has brought three of his stalwarts from Cal FC's U.S. Open Cup team along with him to Atlanta. The club announced the signings of Danny Barrera, Pablo Cruz and Mike Randolph Tuesday in hopes of having that Cal FC magic rub off on the last-place team over the course of the final 12 games of the season. Since Wynalda took over, the club is 1-1, defeating the Minnesota Stars on Saturday for just its second win of the season.

Barrera, an attacking midfielder, was the centerpiece of Cal FC, while Randolph, a former Los Angeles Galaxy defender and Cruz, a former U.S. youth national team midfielder, also played large roles for the Gran Liga de Oxnard team that surprisingly advanced to the tournament's Round of 16. 

What do you think of this development? Do you see the Cal FC magic translating to Atlanta? Did you expect these players (and others from Cal FC) to catch on at bigger clubs?

Share your thoughts below.

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25 Responses to Cal FC trio signs with Wynalda’s Silverbacks

  1. Exciting to see Atlanta make some progress in acquiring Wynalda. It could be a good market given the write influence and hope to see the success of these players transfer to the NASL.

  2. Topher says:

    As an Atlanta guy, really excited about these moves.

    Wynalda also cut Turcios, a 34yo mid who played for honduras in the 2010 WC that wasn’t producing for us.

    Hoping this kind of mass overhauling (including a few other squad additions the last few month) will be enough to make a playoff push (top 6 in the league). Big test against Puerto Rico coming up at home this week, hoping a big crowd shows up for Wynalda’s first home match.

  3. jya says:

    He should sign a few more of those Cal FC guys

  4. Primoone says:

    Eric has been a thorn in th side of USSF for quite some time dating all the way back to his playing days. He speaks his mind regardless how people will take it. I have always admired that about him. His ideals are in line with the rest of the footballing world with regards to scouting and youth development. He never got a chance with USSF or any other Pro level club with the exception of a ”
    scouting” position south of the border. That said, I support his line of thinking and wish him the best of luck. Maybe he can turn into a cult figure that sparks a movement. How grand would it be to makes in roads to that inpenetrable federation in Chicago and get people thinking about removing the insecure yes-men that need to stay the F#ck out of the way of real footballing progress..

  5. betamale says:

    Agreed with this. Way too many people fall right into line when then run into the US Soccer hegemony. It’s nice to see Wynalda get his foothold solidified so he can continue to shake up the status quo

  6. Helium-3 says:

    Soccer administrators != soccer players. You need people who have played soccer at a high level to lead a soccer federation. You wouldn’t have secretaries or security desk ppl running your company, would you???

  7. sir coble says:


  8. Eurosnob says:

    Well, part of the problem with the USSF is that it is a lot closer to the corporate culture than soccer culture. Its head, Sunil Gulati, is an economist, a former World Bank type, who had a very casual exposure to soccer prior to getting his gig with the USSF. He is a smart guy, but I have no doubt that he understands the financial part of the game a lot better than the sporting part. In contrast, the head of Spanish Soccer Federation played on Spanish national team numerous times. The head of UEFA is Michele Platini, a magnificent player, who won ballon d’or three times. To borrow from one of movie characters, I hate to say it, but it looks like the accountants are running the USSF, these days. Not that I have anything against accountants.

  9. ButlerBob says:

    Eurosnob, clearly you haven’t been following US soccer for very long. Sunil has been involved with soccer in this country on both the national and regional basis since the late 80s. Granted a lot of that has been on the admin side of the game. But he was also part of MLS for a lot of the early years and involved in signing players to the league. I agree that it would be great to have someone lead the Fed that has US National team experience, but I don’t think we’re at the point where we have someone with the experience to do it. But I could see someone in the next 10 – 15 years doing it. But I think your selling Sunil short on the experience he has and everything he’s done for US soccer in the past.

  10. giggity says:

    Hey, how is Bornstein doing with Atlanta? Glad that he finally found a comfortable professional level for his skill-set…

  11. I didn’t expect Barrera to join Cal FC. He’s definitely a talented attacking midfielder but i think he doesn’t fit in the club’s hierarchy. I still wish him the best!

  12. Joe+G says:

    Are you thinking of “Atlante” in the Mexican League? Jonathan Bornstein was supposed to be loaned to Atlante, but the deal feel through.

  13. Joe+G says:

    Rather “fell through”.

  14. b says:

    What about Eder Arreola, who Thomas Rongen selected for U-20 WC qualifying just a year ago, and who was taken in the last MLS draft, then ended up with Cal FC?
    I still have no idea if he’s good or not but I would have expected him to join Atlanta.

    I can’t believe people are seriously suggesting Wynalda for the Portland Timbers job, if being a good former player and current opinionated loudmouth who thinks he knows more than he does was enough to be a successful coach, Maradona wouldn’t just have been fired from yet another job. Let Wynalda find a permanent job with a lower division team and prove he’s not just full of hot air.

  15. Northzax says:

    Wait, is this the same Michele Plantini who has fought goal line technology tooth and nail? The one who backed world cups in Russia and Qatar over England and the US in exchange for oil money? The one who lets Italy get off with another slap on the wrist for another organized crime match fixing scandal? The one who oversees one of the most corrupt, old boys’ organizations on the planet? So he’s got a couple ballon d’ors. That’s hardly a qualification for running a multinational organization that grosses tens of billions of euros. Say what you will about Gulati, but he works for free, and under his watch there has never been a whiff of corruption at USSF, even among the morass of the Jack Warner/chuck blazer driven concacaf.

  16. Eurosnob says:

    I spoke about Gulati’s soccer experience, which is miniscule compared to many of the foreign soccer association leaders. There is a difference between administrative experience, where he is well qualified, and understanding how the game itself (playing and coaching aspects).

  17. Joe Dirt says:

    Shout Out to THE NINES. We’re making waves on SBI. GO SILVERBACKS.

    “Win-all-da”… games.

    Yeah Baby

  18. jya says:

    There has been in Gulati’s complacency of Blazzer and Warners corruption. Even with both of them gone Gulati has yet to say a word about their corruption. Going along with corruption because it suits your interest isn’t exactly being clean

  19. Eurosnob says:

    Are you trying to smear Platini to make Gulati look good? Contrary to what you say, Platini is well respected. I disagree with him about the goal line technology, but Platini is an old school, when it comes to changing the rules of the game. He does not want to interupt the flow of the game by replays. It’s a legitimate argument. Let’s say a goal is cleared of the goal line and the defending team counters, then slows down the game down putting together a twenty pass sequence, hits the post, the possession changes a couple of times and finally the ball goes out of bounds three minutes later. Do you stop the game at this point, do the replays, reset the clock, etc? Reasonable people can disagree on this one. As for backing the World Cups in Russia and Qatar, Platini is probably one of the few guys that did it for nonmonetary reasons. He is really big on bringing the game to the countries that never hosted and he pushed really hard to award Euro to Ukraine and Poland. For him, Qatar and Russia also fall in the same category. As for Italian soccer match fixing scandal, the UEFA’s role is limited – these things are traditionally handled by national federations. And Platini won three ballon d’ors, which ties him for the first place with Cruyff, Van Basten and Messi. Platini’s roots are in soccer, Gulati’s roots are in economics. They will run their organizations very differently. If Gulati ran the UEFA he would have not awarded the Euro to Poland and Ukraine, but would have gone with the safest option (one of large Western European countries) to minimize the risk and maximize the profit. Yes, Gulati is not paid a salary from the USSF (he makes enough at Columbia University), but he still get to travel first class on the Federation’s dime around the world, which is not a bad perk. His inner circule guys like Dan Flynn make up to $650,000 per year so let’s not act like the USSF brass is not well compensated.

  20. The Imperative Voice says:

    Wynalda may not have brought over everyone he liked at Cal FC, but when you takeover at a minor league team and bring in 3 of your guys after 2 games, that would probably reflect he’s seen enough to feel the guys he is bringing in are better than what’s there already. If Arreola is not on the list, well…..I believe the Dynamo cut him in camp (but then we’re hardly perfect on that score).

    I’m a believer in demonstrated success so I agree we shouldn’t elevate Wynalda straight from Cal FC to Atlanta pitstop to MLS. That being said, going as far as he did and beating who he did with Cal FC, and we’ll see what he does in Atlanta, that sort of thing can catch eyes and he would already have the USMNT cred to back it up. People want to believe someone with this background and a little smarts can seriously coach, which is how a Maradona or Klinsi gets these type of jobs so fast in the first place. But we’ll see.

    Also, the more involved he gets with Atlanta, player turnover, etc., maybe he stays, TV or not.

  21. SilverRey says:

    Here’s hoping Wynalda can translate into bigger fan base. I would love to see the non-MLS markets start to get big numbers for attendance!

  22. betamale says:

    Sorry, Platini is only respected by people who know nothing about the sport, or at least no more than what they can find on wikipedia.

    He is largely disliked in Europe

  23. b says:

    “and a little smarts”

    I thought we were discussing Eric Wynalda…

  24. Joe Dirt says:

    Can’t hurt. Here in ATL were are just happy they are no longer on hiatus.

  25. Eurosnob says:

    Dude, I am originally from Europe. Please don’t talk about European attitudes towards Platini unless you are European or lived there for any significant amount of time.