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& Staff

FALL 2020

Head Coach

Dario Pot

Following the completion of his 10-year professional playing career, Dario Pot served as an assistant coach in the USISL (now USL) for the Syracuse Salty Dogs, before returning to Europe to lead FC Modrica Maxima of the Bosnian First Division to a domestic cup triumph that included qualification for the UEFA Cup. Following his success in Bosnia, Dario next joined the staff of Dutch club De Graafschap where he helped lead them to a championship finish in the Dutch second tier. The following season he helped the team remain in the Dutch first division battling against the likes of Ajax and PSV.

Pot most recently served as the first assistant coach for Australian A-League outfit Wellington Phoenix and has held past roles with Rayo OKC of the NASL, DC United youth academy, and Des Moines Menace of USL League 2. He also served as Technical Director and Associate Head Coach of Ventura County Fusion of USL League 2 during their 2009 league championship season. Pot was Promoted to Head Coach following the 2020 Fall Season. Pot holds his USSF A license as well as his UEFA Pro License, which is the highest level of coaching license available in professional soccer.

2nd assistant coach

Nana Attakora

Nana Attakora was announced as a new Roots Assistant Coach ahead of the 2021 USL Season. Attakora retired from playing following the 2020 Season where he featured as Roots Captain. Attakora’s move into coaching comes after a stand out 15-year playing career that spans MLS, NASL, USL and NISA. In that time Attakora won the NASL Championship as Captain of the San Francisco Deltas and won three Canadian Championships with Toronto FC. Attakora retired having featured for the Canadian National team on 10 occasions. 

VP of Soccer

Eric Yamamoto

The former NCAA Champion and All-American recently finished his 29th season as a coach for his alma mater, Santa Clara University. He has deep Bay Area ties at all levels of soccer, including experience developing youth players for the US Soccer Development Academy De Anza Force.

Technical director

Jordan Ferrell

A native of Stockton, California Jordan Ferrell was named Roots Technical Director ahead of the 2021 USL Season. Ferrell began as Roots First Assistant Coach in 2019 before taking over as Head Coach in 2020. Ferrell led the Roots to the NISA Fall Championship Final, finishing runner up in 2020. As a longtime high-level coach in Northern California, including as the Head Coach in the Sacramento Republic’s Academy and time with the University of Pacific, Ferrell can now focus on developing players and creating a consistent approach and style across all of the club’s technical efforts, from local youth club relationships to Project 51O to the Oakland Roots first team.

Director of Team Operations

Valentin Saldaña Jr

Valentin Saldaña, a native of Richmond, CA is entering his third season as a part of the Technical Staff. In this role, he manages all the logistical and administrative aspects for the first team. Saldaña is a graduate of nearby St. Mary’s College where he earned his BA in Business Administration and finished his MA in Sport Management in May 2020.

Team Operations Manager

Berdi Merdanov

Berdi Merdanov is originally from Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. Prior to his arrival in the United States, he was playing in the 1st Division as an academy graduate and was able to experience a professional environment early on. Merdanov then moved to the US and began playing with the DeAnza Force Academy. Following his time in the academy, Merdanov joined Holy Names University in Oakland where he played for 4 years. While playing for Holy Names, Merdanov also played for SF City F.C. of USL League 2. Following his Graduation, Merdanov served as an Assistant Coach Holly Names and for SF City F.C.

Athletic Trainer

Quentin Higgins

A native of Tennessee, Quentin has been a long-time Hockey Athletic Trainer who has worked for the San Jose Barracuda, Atlanta Gladiators and the Norfolk Admirals.

Athletic Trainer

Crystal Lee

Crystal Lee is a Certified Athletic Trainer at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland. Having been with the Roots since 2019, Lee is A graduate of San Diego State University and San Jose State University, actively practicing as an ATC, along with a Corrective Exercise Specialist certification. 

Head Team Physician

Kevin M. Roth MD

A native of Moraga, California, Dr. Roth completed his undergraduate degree at the University of California, Los Angeles. He received his medical degree from the UCLA School of Medicine, where he was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. Dr. Roth was an assistant team physician for many of the professional teams in Los Angeles including the Lakers, Sparks, Dodgers, Angels, Kings, and Ducks.

Team Chiropractor

Dr. Rafael Zamora

Dr. Rafael Zamora is devoted to improving his community's health and quality of life through comprehensive chiropractic care. Dr. Zamora is honored to serve the East Bay since he is a Danville native. He graduated from Monte Vista High School and went on to get his Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo. He received his Doctorate Degree from Life Chiropractic College West in Hayward, California.

Massage Therapist

Betsy Abel

Betsy began working in 2006 as the Sports Massage Therapist for the Saint Mary’s College Men's Rugby team where she continues to work today. Through her certifications as a Sports Massage Therapist and Strength and Conditioning Specialist, she has worked with NBA coaches, NFL players, Pro Rugby players, Pro Triathletes, Ultimate Frisbee players, Rowers, Cyclists, Ultra Runners, Elite Volleyball Players and Olympians.

In July 2018, Betsy served as the Head Sports Massage Therapist for the Rugby World Cup 7's tournament in San Francisco, California. She also worked as a sports massage therapist at the Las Vegas 7’s Tournament in 2019. Betsy holds a BA in Kinesiology and Exercise Science and a MA Human Performance and Sports Studies.