Did I mention that Jesse Fioranelli is in his happy place? After signing three Reno 1868 FC players to the Quakes squad as well as homegrown goalkeeper J.T. Marcinkowski, Fioranelli made Quakes history by signing the youngest professional athlete in the Bay Area, 15-year-old (to be fair, the dude turns 16 in two weeks) Jacob Akanyirige, who played as a center-back for the Quakes U-19 academy team.
Akanyirige’s name comes out of nowhere as a homegrown, given his age. Physically he’s average for a soccer player: 5’11”, 157 lbs. But at just 15, expect both of those numbers to increase over the next few years, which should make him a solid presence inside the box.
The move is probably meant as a replacement for Matheus Silva, whom the Quakes signed as a prospect in 2015 and was being groomed to fill the center-back roll vacated by Clarence Goodson. However, Silva never panned out to be a solid defender, and was released by the team at the end of the season.
The Quakes definitely need center-backs, and Akanyirige was probably signed more out of necessity than merit. With Victor Bernardez out, Andres Imperiale possibly on the way out (Imperiale’s contract ran out at the end of the season, and he was left on the table for the expansion draft), Flo Jungwirth probably being moved back to a midfielder, and the possible release of 31-year-old Marvell Wynne who did not play last season, the Quakes do not have a ton of center-backs. Francois Affolter and Harold Cummings are the “true” center-backs at the moment. However, Affolter should be on the way out; he failed to make any appearances in the final three games of the season, and during his five starts, the Quakes went 1-3-1 with a -13 goal differential. Realistically, the Quakes only have one bona fide center-back, ergo this latest signing of a player that cannot yet legally drive a car.
In total, Fioranelli has signed a new coach, a new defender, three Reno 1868 FC players, and two homegrown players. The crazy thing? He’s not done. Expect a Magnus Eriksson signing soon.