JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - With a year of transition facing the club, the Jacksonville Armada announced Wednesday that four players from the 2017 team that just missed the NASL postseason will return for 2018.
Defender Kalen Ryden, forwards Ciaran Killduff and Derek Gebhard and midfielder J.C. Banks will play for the Armada as they compete in the NPSL in the spring. Team owner Robert Palmer has said that the team is looking for the best option for the future, which could include playing in the NASL again in August when the league is scheduled to start its season.
“We are happy and excited for these four players to return to the team this year,” said Nathan Walter, club president and general manager. “We have a lot of work to do in 2018 and know they will take us where we need to be.”
Ryden was a new signing in 2017 and fell into place quickly on the backline. The defender started 31 matches and had the second-most minutes with 2,774. He showed diversity on the field with four assists and one goal.
Kilduff came to Jacksonville for the 2017 NASL Fall Season from Dundalk F.C. of the League of Ireland Premier Division. After an extensive career in Ireland including eight goals in 2017 alone, he continued his success stateside with four goals for the Armada FC in 12 appearances and earned an NASL Player of the Week honor.
Banks also was a new addition in 2017, and stood out as a versatile midfielder from the start. He scored the first goal for the Armada FC in the home opener on April 2. Banks appeared in all 32 matches and went on to score four more goals and tack on one assist. He also earned an NASL Play of the Week honor.
Gebhard has been with the Armada FC since its inaugural year in 2015. The Jacksonville native came up through the U-23 team, then-called Jacksonville United, before joining the senior club. He showed his attacking prowess in all 32 matches of last year’s campaign by creating 15 chances and notching 4 goals.
Nine players will not return for the 2018 season: Devon Fisher, Bryam Rebellón (LA Galaxy II-USL), Peabo Doue (North Carolina FC-USL), Brian Shriver, Jemal Johnson (Fresno FC-USL), Kevan George (Charlotte Independence-USL) , Charles Eloundou (Salaminas FC-Cyprus), Nicklas Maripuu, and Zach Steinberger (Indy Eleven-USL).
In a statement, the Armada said that more announcements about 2018 will be coming soon. The club has already announced that the preseason schedule will include a matchup with D.C. United of Major League Soccer.
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