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Spring 2021

& Staff

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Soya Takahashi

Oakland Roots have signed 25-year-old Japanese defender, Soya Takahashi ahead of the 2021 USL Championship season. 

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Tyler Blackwood

Oakland Roots have added USL veteran Tyler Blackwood ahead of the 2021 USL Championship Season. Born in London, Blackwood moved to the United States on a Soccer scholarship where he would play for the University of Tampa before playing his Senior season for the University of South Florida. After graduating, Blackwood would play one season in England for Queens Park Rangers and on loan with Newport County.

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Matias Fissore

Oakland Roots SC have added Matias Fissore to the squad as the team prepares for the 2021 USL Championship Season. Fissore most recently featured for San Martin Tucuman in Argentina. Prior to that Fissore featured for 5 seasons for San Martin SJ after 5 seasons with Athletico de Rafael, amassing more than 150 appearances in Argentine professional soccer.

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Goal Keeper

Zeus De La Paz

Oakland Roots have added goalkeeper Zeus De La Paz as the 2021 USL Championship Season approaches. A Curaçao International, De La Paz most recently featured for Oldham Athletic of League Two in England. A product of the PSV Eindhoven Academy, De La Paz has previously played in the United States for Cincinnati Dutch Lions of USL League Two.

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Wal Fall

Oakland Roots have signed Midfielder Wal Fall ahead of the 2021 USL Championship season. The Veteran Midfielder Fall most recently featured for St. Louis FC in the USL Championship. Prior to St. Louis, Fall featured in the USL for Ottawa Fury alongside current Roots assistant coach Nana Attakora and two seasons with the Rochester Rhinos.

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Goal Keeper

Ben Beaury

Oakland Roots have added Goalkeeper Ben Beaury to the roster ahead of the 2021 USL Championship season. Beaury most recently featured for Reno 1868 on loan from New Mexico United. Born and raised in New York, Beaury has been a part of the USL Championship for the last three years.

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Jeremy Bokila

Oakland Roots have signed Democratic Republic of the Congo national team forward Jeremy Bokila, who has capped for his nation 20 times. Bokila featured most prominently for his national team in the 2015 African Cup of Nations where he would score twice helping lead his team to the semifinals. Bokila famously scored in the quarterfinals of that tournament to help ignite a 2-0 come from behind victory.

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Lindo Mfeka

Roots sign South African born midfielder Lindo Mfeka who most recently featured as the number 10 for Reno 1868 FC in USL Championship. Mfeka was drafted by the San Jose Earthquakes in 2017 and spent his first season on loan in Reno after making one MLS appearance as a rookie. Mfeka would continue with Reno in 2018 and 2019 tallying 14 goals in 67 league appearances. 

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Akeem Ward

Ward was selected 14th overall by D.C. United in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft where he would feature mostly for Loudon United, the Club’s USL Championship team.

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Memo Diaz

Following seasons in Ladero and Midland, Texas, Memo played for his hometown side El Paso Locomotive for the 2020 season where he appeared in 12 games.

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José Hernández

Jose is a product of both the Real Salt Lake Arizona Academy and the University of California Los Angeles. Hernandez went on to play in MLS with Real Salt Lake from 2017-2018.

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Jesus Enriquez

After making 60 appearances for Rio Grand Valley FC between 2018 and 2019, Enriquez split time in 2020 between San Antonio and Reno in the USL Championship.

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Tarek Morad

With over 100 USL Championship appearances and one USL cup to his name, Morad brings experience to the Roots squad. Playing most recently for San Diego Loyal in 2020.

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Johnny Rodriguez

Signed late in the 2020 season, Rodriguez helped lead the line for Roots in the NISA Fall Tournament. Scoring in both the semi-final and final.

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Ariel Mbumba

Congo born and San Jose raised, Mbumba featured in all nine Roots League games in 2020 including a start in the Fall Season Championship.

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Tarn Weir

Before joining Roots in 2020, Weir has most recently featured with Marbella United in the Spanish 3rd division. The left back previously had trials with Troyes AC of Ligue 1 and RSC Anderlecht in the Belgian 1st division. 

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Yohannes Harish

An original from both the 2019 and 2020 league seasons, Harish is an Oakland International High School graduate and former Holy Names University midfielder who became a staple of the 2020 Roots starting XI. 

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Max Ornstil

After spending the last three seasons with Portland Timbers II in the USL Championship where he made over 60 appearances, Ornstil has returned home for our inaugural USL Championship season.

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Saalih Muhammad

An East Bay native, Muhammad was the first player signed to the 2021 USL Championship squad. He most recently featured for New Mexico United where he was a 2020 Goal of the Year Finalist.

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Dario Pot Headshot

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.

Chris Malenab Headshot

1st Assistant Coach

Chris Malenab

Christopher Malenab was born and raised in Sacramento, California, most recently serving as the lead assistant coach to USL Coach of the Year Ian Russel for Reno 1868 FC from 2018 - 2020. Before joining Reno 1868 FC, he spent 4 seasons (2014-2017) with the Sacramento Republic FC. During the 2014 Inaugural Season of the Sacramento Republic FC, Chris served as an assistant coach to Preki during their USL PRO Championship campaign. Then from 2015 - 2017 Chris served as Video Analyst for the Sacramento Republic FC under head coach Paul Buckle.

Malenab started his coaching career coaching and serving as technical director at various youth clubs in the greater Sacramento Area while coaching high school soccer. Along with his youth coaching experience Chris has served as an assistant coach at the college level, at Cosumnes River College (NJCAA), California State University Stanislaus (NCAA D2) and San Joaquin Delta College (NJCAA). He currently holds various coaching certificates including a USSF A-Senior License and NSCAA Director of Coaching Diploma. Chris received his bachelor's degree in sociology from California State University Sacramento.

Nana Attakora Headshot

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. 

Noah Delgado Headshot

Assistant coach

Noah Delgado

Noah Delgado was born and raised in Fremont California and was captain of the Puerto Rican National team during his playing days. In a career that spanned more than 10 years, Delgado made stops playing in the USL for Portland Timbers, Syracuse Salty Dogs, Rochester Rhinos and 8 full seasons with the Puerto Rico Islanders. Since retiring from playing Delgado has jumped straight into coaching and is currently the Technical Director for Force North Soccer and a Coach with De Anza Force MLS Next Teams.

goalkeeping coach

Jeremy Clark

Jeremey Clark comes to Roots after extensive career coaching in the College game and most recently coaching Albion SC as the Head Coach of both the U16 and U19 MLS Next teams. Clark featured as a Goalkeeper and assistant Coach for UC San Diego after having spent time on the staff at Michigan State University, UC Santa Barbara and University of Evansville. From 2018-2019 Clark was the Academy Goalkeeping Coach for MLS Minnesota United FC. Prior to coaching Clark played and captained Michigan State University and played for several NPSL and USL League Two teams. Clark holds a USSF A License, a BA in Sociology and a MA in health service and administration. 

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 performance

Ben Stadler

Bringing an intersecting skillset as an ex-player, coach, human performance coach, and rehab specialist, Stadler started his relationship with soccer as a Goalkeeper, playing in the US and Germany. Stadler brings 8 years of experience as a strength and conditioning coach within the private sector as well as scholastic levels (college prep and collegiate environments).  Stadler specializes in returning athletes to professional sport, with clients who have spanned the top tiers in the USA, Europe, Canada and South America. As human performance coach he won the 2017 NASL Championship with the SF Deltas and has coached competitive club, and collegiate soccer as a goalkeeper coach, assistant coach and human performance coach. 

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 at Holy Names and for SF City F.C.

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.

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.  

Mental Health & Sport Performance Specialist

Lisa Bonta Sumii, LCSW

Lisa began working as a psychotherapist in 1996 and has been a private practice clinician for over 15 years, where she continues to work today. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, she has specialized in working with individuals and couples in areas of: ethnic/racial identity; healing from interpersonal trauma and community violence; prioritizing mental health; and developing healthy family and community relationships. Working from a social justice and equity lense are key tenets of her approach. In recent years, Lisa has integrated a formal mental sport performance component to her practice. She has worked with elite student athletes, at the high school and collegiate level in the following sports- Soccer, Softball, Track and Field, Ultimate Frisbee, and Tennis. Lisa has also worked with Olympic hopefuls and professional athletes across sports, including Soccer, Football, Golf, Weight Lifting, and Softball.

Lisa is a professional member of the Alliance for Social Workers in Sport, the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, and the National Association for Social Workers. She is listed in the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee Mental Health Registry. Lisa holds a Master's in Clinical Social Work from Smith College School for Social Work.