Rene Rivas announced his retirement yesterday due to the ankle injury that ended his 2005 season not healing as quickly as he had hoped. This expected event creates a huge hole in the Rhinos midfield as both Rivas and main back up Lenin Steenkamp will not be back with the club in 2006.
That leaves local rookie Jordan Chirico as perhaps #1 on the club's depth chart at the defensive midfield spot with a little more than a month left until training camp opens.
The Rhinos also announced that forward Mauro Carabajal is not expected back due to immigration issues and that defender Tenywa "T-Bone" Bonseu is not expected to return due to financial issues given the fact that he has a wife and 3 children to support on a USL 1st Division salary.
The loss of Rivas is the biggest hole created by the new news. Rivas was a coach on the field and the key link between the coaching staff and the large core of Spanish speaking players on the club last season. And when Rivas was hurt and missed the playoffs, his absence was too obvious to ignore.
Carabajal is likely a player that the team wasn't too upset about losing given the offseason signings of Charles Gbeke and Matthew Delicate. Carabajal was a hard worker, but his finishing left a lot to be desired, especially for a forward.
Bonseu was an enigma to me. Some of it may have had to do with the birth of his twins during the season last year. But, I never felt like Bonseu played up to the immense talent that he had. If the Rhinos can re-sign Craig Demmin, then the loss of Bonseu will likely be negated.
Again, we are a little more than a month away from the opening of training camp and the Rhinos now have a major hole to fill. I'm guessing this isn't how Coach Calloway envisioned the first offseason where he had near total control over the roster would unfold.
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