Tag Archives: Matt LaGrassa

Sacramento Republic FC Sign First Academy Product, 16-Year-Old Roberto Hategan

Hategan becomes the first player to be signed from Republic FC’s U.S. Soccer Development Academy.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. Sacramento Republic FC have agreed to a two-year USL contract, with a club option for the 2019 season, with 16-year-old midfielder Roberto Hategan.  Hategan becomes the first player in Republic FC’s history to be signed directly from the club’s own U.S. Soccer Development Academy.

“Signing our first Academy player to a professional contract, especially at such a young age, shows just how much faith we have in Roberto,” said Republic FC Head Coach and Technical Director Paul Buckle. “We look forward to developing him as a player and have faith in his potential.  This signing is another positive step for the club and would not be possible without the investment and shared vision of our ownership group, led by Kevin Nagle, to provide the talented youth of our region a pathway to the professional game.”

Hategan has scored 20 goals in the last two seasons playing with Republic FC’s Academy teams. In addition, the midfielder was honored with a call-up in April 2016 to the U.S. National Team U-16 Boys’ Team. Hategan appeared in two matches with the National Team, including an appearance in the Delle Nazioni Tournament against England. 

“Hategan highlights the immense talent in the Sacramento region and will be one of many future Academy signings,” said Republic FC Owner Kevin Nagle. “Today’s signing is not just an accomplishment for our Academy coaches and staff, but is a tribute to the strength of the youth competitive leagues in the region. We’ve always known Sacramento to be a leader in youth participation, but signings such as Roberto also reaffirm our club’s commitment to develop this talent and grow the beautiful game to support our team now and at the MLS level in the future.”   

Hategan played with San Juan Soccer Club prior to joining Republic FC’s Academy in the 2015-16 season.  Sacramento’s youth soccer programs have developed numerous talented players that have gone on to play in Major League Soccer, and professionally around the world, including current MLS players: Jalil Anibaba (Houston Dynamo), Connor Hallisey (Sporting KC), Niko Hansen (Columbus Crew) Ryan Hollingshead (FC Dallas), Cameron Iwasa (Sporting KC), Adam Jahn (Columbus Crew), Amobi Okugo (Portland Timbers) and Tommy Thompson (San Jose Earthquakes).

Current Republic FC goalkeeper Dominik Jakubek and former Republic FC players Iwasa, Thompson, Jahn and Matt LaGrassa are all players who grew up and played youth soccer in the Sacramento region before representing their hometown on the Republic FC roster. Hategan is the second Republic FC Academy player to sign a professional contract following Ryley Kraft who signed with Orlando City B prior to the start of this season.    

Hategan will be available for Republic FC’s next match on July 1 at Papa Murphy’s Park. Tickets for the match are available at SacRepublicFC.com. Kickoff is 8 p.m. To view the entire Republic FC roster, visit sacrepublicfc.com/republicfc-roster.

Press Release Courtesy of the Sacramento Republic FC Media Relations

Sacramento Republic FC Fall To Reno 1868 FC 2-0

Sacramento Republic FC fall 2-0 to their newest rivals, Reno 1868 FC, behind a goal and an assist from Dane Kelly and four saves from Andrew Tarbell.

Sacramento Republic FC came out strong in the match pushing the ball forward and pressuring the Reno 1868 FC defense.  The pressure looked to have paid off for Republic FC in just the 4th minute when a long pass by defender James Kiffe sprang forward Tyler Blackwood who went one-on-one with Reno goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell.  Blackwood looked to chip a right-footed shot over the onrushing keeper, but Tarbell was able to deflect the ball away, keeping the match scoreless early.

 After a lot of back and forth play for much of the middle of the first period, Reno would break the deadlock in the 39th minute. Reno forward Dane Kelly was able to intercept a Republic FC throw in near midfield.  Kelly then played a one-two with Antoine Hoppenot on the right side before taking the ball down the side of the field.  Kelly then sent a through ball back to Hoppenot who just got past the sliding reach of defender Chris Christian.  Hoppenot then sent a grounded ball past Evan Newton that hit the back post and rolled into the back of the net to put Reno ahead 1-0.

 Reno nearly doubled their lead in stoppage time on a free kick from a few yards outside the box.  Midfielder Chris Wehan sent a driven ball into the box that went over the players in the box, including the hand of Newton who came out to punch the ball away, finding the head of Jordan Murrell who was wide open on the back post.  Murrell looked to nod the ball into the empty net, but the ball went well over the post, keeping the score 1-0 going into the half.

 Republic FC came out strong again in the second half looking for an equalizer.  In the 47th minute, defender Elliott Hord took the ball down the right side before sending a cross into the box that found forward Sammy Ochoa who had found space between Reno defenders. Ochoa dove forward to redirect the cross toward goal, but his headed shot went wide left of the post keeping the score 1-0.

 In the 59th minute Hord again sent a cross into the box.  This time the cross cleared everyone, finding an open Agustin Cazarez near the back post.  Cazarez settled the ball before blasting a left-footed shot on goal, but a sliding Seth Casiple and Tarbell were there to deflect the ball away.  The ball went as far as Blackwood who looked to hit a curling left-footed shot into the upper right corner of the goal, but his shot went just high and wide of the goal.

 Republic FC would have another good look at goal in the 62nd minute.  This time Kiffe drove the ball down the left side of the field before sending a cross toward the middle of the box.  Substitute forward Christian Chaney redirected the cross on target, but Tarbell was there again for the save punching the ball up and over the bar.

 Reno would double their lead and seal a victory in the 73rd minute.  Former Republic FC and current Reno midfielder Matt LaGrassa intercepted the ball in the middle of the pitch before quickly passing the ball wide to Casiple.  The Granite Bay-native played a long ball to Kelly, starting the counter attack.  Kelly drove the ball down the middle of the field before getting to the top of the box and striking a right-footed shot that deflected slightly off the back of Julius James and into the bottom left side of the goal putting Reno ahead for good at 2-0.

 Republic FC returns home and to Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play when they host Real Salt Lake (MLS) on Wednesday, Jun. 14.  Kickoff is 8 p.m. at Papa Murphy’s Park.  Tickets are still available at Ticketmaster.com.

Match Recap Courtesy of  Sacramento Republic FC Media Relations

Sacramento Republic FC Ties With Reno 1868 FC 3-3

Goals from Trevin Caesar, Tyler Blackwood and Sammy Ochoa put Republic FC ahead early, but a late trio of goals, including a brace from former Republic FC forward Mackenzie Pridham, salvaged a draw for Reno 1868 FC.

Republic FC started the game quickly, keeping possession and seeing many good looks on goal. Republic FC would open the scoring in the 17th minute. Defender James Kiffe took the ball toward goal on the top left side of the box, before sending it back to midfielder Tyler Blackwood who was making a run behind him. Blackwood then played a one-two with forward Sammy Ochoa at the corner of the box, receiving the ball back on the left side of the box. Blackwood then played the ball across goal to forward Trevin Caesar who was making a run in the middle of the box and just flicked the ball with the outside of his foot and past goalkeeper Matt Bersano, putting Republic FC ahead 1-0.

In the 20th minute, Blackwood stole the ball in the middle of the field and took a few touches down the middle of the pitch. Blackwood then unleashed a strong right-footed shot that beat Bersano, making the score 2-0 in favor of Republic FC.

Republic FC would increase their lead again in the 25th minute. After a corner went long, defender Elliott Hord stole the ball, taking it from box-to-box before laying the ball off to Caesar who was sprinting down the middle of the field. Caesar was then taken down in the box as he attempted a shot, earning a penalty. Ochoa stepped up and calmly slid the ball into the left side of the goal, while Bersano dove right, putting Republic FC ahead 3-0.

Reno 1868 FC would get a goal back in the 41st minute. Midfielder Antoine Hoppenot received the ball in the middle of the field before sending the ball wide to forward Dane Kelly who was making a run on the right side of the box. Kelly then sent a grounded ball to forward Mackenzie Pridham who was open in the middle of the box. Pridham settled the ball and then sent the ball into the goal, making the score 3-1 going into the half.

The second half started much like the first with Republic FC maintaining a majority possession. In the 67th minute Republic FC would see their best chance to increase their lead in the second half. Substitute forward Wilson Kneeshaw was played open by a long ball down the left side from Kiffe. Kneeshaw then went one-on-one with Bersano, but the keeper was quick to the ground and blocked the shot, clearing it from danger.

1868 FC would counter the Kneeshaw shot with a goal to pull themselves within one. After the ball was cleared, Pridham received the ball in the middle of the field. The former Republic FC forward took a few touches toward goal before sending a strike on goal. Goalkeeper Evan Newton was able to block Pridham’s shot, but only as far as Kelly who was following the play and tapped the ball into the net making the score 3-2.

Reno would score their third and final goal of the night in the 88th minute. Former Republic FC midfielder Matt LaGrassa sent a long ball to the middle of the box, toward forward Brian Brown. The substitute forward chested the ball to Pridham who had found space behind the defense and send a strong shot past Newton and into the back of the net, ending the match in a 3-3 draw.

“We knew it would be a tough game,” said Republic FC Head Coach and Technical Director Paul Buckle. “It was wonderful to see so many of our supporters make the trip here and we thank them for that. For a preseason friendly to have so many fans travel for us is remarkable.”

Republic FC will return to action on Saturday, Mar. 18 when they travel to San Francisco to take on the San Francisco Deltas in their final road friendly of the preseason. Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Kezar Stadium. Republic FC will return to Papa Murphy’s Park on Wednesday, Mar. 22 when they take on the San Jose Earthquakes. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com.

Match Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento Republic FC Media Relations

Sacramento Republic FC Sign Midfielder Matt LaGrassa

Elk Grove native joins Sacramento Republic FC on first professional contract.

SACRAMENTO, Calif.Sacramento Republic FC have agreed to a contract with free agent midfielder Matt LaGrassa for the 2016 USL season. LaGrassa, an Elk Grove, Calif. native, joins Sacramento Republic FC after playing soccer collegiately at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

“Matt is a young player that we have very high hopes for at the club,” said Sacramento Republic FC Head Coach and Technical Director Paul Buckle. “I had the opportunity to see him at Cal Poly and he is a midfielder that is always looking to be on the ball. This is something we want and we feel he will really improve our roster. He is also a local player which is a big plus for us in our efforts to support the growth of local talent for U.S. Soccer.”

LaGrassa joins Sacramento Republic FC after spending the last five years playing at Cal Poly. After redshirting his freshman year, LaGrassa appeared in 77 matches from 2012-2015, starting 57, scoring 18 total goals and recording eight assists. La Grassa graduated from Cal Poly with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology in 2015.

“Being from Sacramento, I am very excited to start my professional career at home,” said LaGrassa. “I think this will be a great opportunity for me as a player in a place where I can make the fans happy, including my family and friends. I believe Sacramento Republic FC is the best USL franchise in the country and the best place for me to continue to grow as a person and a player.”

LaGrassa also played in the PDL with the Des Moines Menace and Ventura County Fusion. He played 1,864 minutes in four years, scoring four goals. The Elk Grove native played high school soccer at Pleasant Grove High School and club soccer at CYSA Cal North ODP.

Sacramento Republic FC first preseason match will be against the Colorado Rapids (MLS) on Feb. 13, 2016 at Bonney Field. Tickets are on sale at Ticketmaster.com. For more information, including LaGrassa’s full profile, visit SacRepublicFC.com.

Press Release Courtesy of the Sacramento Republic FC Media Relations