Already light roster-wise due to injuries and international call-ups, the San Jose Earthquakes have called in five players from their USL affiliate Reno 1868 FC ahead of the team’s match against Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday night.
Defenders Jimmy Ockford and Thomas Janjigian, midfielder Luis Felipe Fernandes and forwards Darwin Espinal and Dembakwi ‘Boxi’ Yomba will suit up for San Jose in their first friendly against a Bundesliga side since hosting Bayer Leverkusen in 1996.
Here’s a bit more about each of the five players:
Ockford, 25, has been the anchor for Reno’s defense all season, scoring two goals in 14 games and logging the third most minutes of all 1868 FC players thus far. A former Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineer (2010-12) and Louisville Cardinal (2013), Ockford has played professionally for several clubs, including Seattle Sounders FC, Sounders 2 and the New York Cosmos before joining Reno.
Quakes fans may recognize Janjigian’s name because he briefly played for the club in the U.S. Open Cup against the San Francisco Deltas back in June. The 22-year-old played four years at UC Irvine and has started four games for Reno so far this season.
Luis Felipe Fernandes
The 21-year-old Brazilian-American has a strong background on the pitch. Born in New York, Luis Felipe was a longtime member of Brazil’s Cruzeiro Academy and first raised eyebrows when his team lifted the under-17 IMG Cup. He chose to represent his nation of birth at the international level and was a part of the U.S. U-20 side under head coach Tab Ramos. Luis Felipe was brought to the North American Soccer League’s Fort Lauderdale Strikers by current Quakes head scout Bruno Costa and proceeded to lead the club in minutes played and earn a nomination as the NASL’s best young player before signing with Reno this year. He has scored a pair of goals in nine appearances for 1868 FC.
Espinal, 22, is an attack-minded forward/midfielder that has represented Honduras at the U-23 level. A former member of the NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies, Espinal joined the Premier Development League’s South Florida Surf earlier this year and was named the PDL’s top prospect. He then signed with Reno in late June and has one goal in three appearances thus far.
Dembakwi ‘Boxi’ Yomba
Boxi Yomba, 20, is a former member of the United States U-18 and U-20 squads. He signed with La Liga’s Atletico Madrid in 2014 and remained with the club for a year before later signing with Orlando City B. He has made two appearances for Reno in 2017.