Alston eligible for Free Agency; Ribeiro eligible for Stage One of the MLS Re-Entry Draft
ORLANDO, Fla.- Orlando City SC will not exercise contract options on defenders Kevin Alston, Luke Boden, Seb Hines and Tyler Turner, midfielder Pedro Ribeiro and forward Júlio Baptista, the Club announced today.
“We would like to sincerely thank all six players for their contributions to the Club, some of whom have been with us since USL. We will remain in discussions with a few of them about a possible return in 2017,” Lions assistant general manager Niki Budalic said.
Alston joined City prior to the 2016 season and started in 21 of his 24 appearances in the 2016 campaign. Off the pitch, the 2013 Major League Soccer (MLS) WORKS Comeback Player of the Year received the Club’s Community Award for his contributions in the local community and inspiring the youth of Orlando with his charitable appearances in 2016.
Alston is eligible for Free Agency. Players 28-years-old and older with eight years of MLS service who are out of contract, or have not had their option exercised, are eligible for Free Agency in 2016, allowing them the freedom to negotiate a new contract with any MLS club, including their previous club, subject to certain restrictions. A player has fulfilled a year of service if he was on a club’s roster prior to August 15 or played in at least one regular season or postseason game in the relevant year.
With over 130 appearances for the Club since its inception in Orlando in 2011, Boden played an important role in City’s success in the United Soccer League (USL) and its transition to MLS. The 27-year-old left back featured in 45 matches in two MLS seasons with the Lions, scoring one goal and notching seven assists.
Hines joined Orlando from English side Middlesbrough ahead of its inaugural MLS season. The English center back appeared in 49 league games for City, scoring four goals.
Turner, 20, spent the 2016 season on loan with Orlando City B in the USL and recorded four goals. The Connecticut native made five starts in seven First Team appearances in 2015.
A 2015 MLS Expansion Draft selection, Ribeiro scored two goals and two assists in City’s inaugural season and was instrumental in earning the Club’s first MLS win on March 13 in Houston. The Belo Horizonte, Brazil, native missed most of the 2016 campaign due to injury.
Ribeiro is eligible for Stage One of the MLS Re-Entry Draft held on Friday, Dec. 16 or for Stage Two on Thursday, Dec. 22.
Players who are available in Stage One of the Re-Entry Draft are players who are at least 23 years old, have a minimum of three MLS service years and whose options were not exercised by their clubs.
Baptista joined the Club three games into the 2016 season and was a major contributor as a substitute. Commonly known as “The Beast,” 35-year-old Baptista scored six goals and three assists in 23 appearances.
About Orlando City SC:
After winning three USL-Pro Championships over a four-year span, Orlando City SC quickly set the standard for professional soccer clubs, both on and off the field, and was awarded the 21st franchise in Major League Soccer (MLS) on Nov. 19, 2013. The Club began MLS play in Central Florida in 2015, setting league attendance records for an expansion side in its first season and has welcomed over 60,000 fans for consecutive season-opening matches in 2015 and 2016. The Lions, who currently hold the second highest average attendance in the league, will begin play in a privately funded, state-of-the-art downtown stadium in the 2017 MLS season.