The San Jose Earthquakes officially unmasked the enigmatic “Trialist #1” Thursday afternoon, announcing the signing of 27-year-old Portuguese defender Paulo Renato in a club press release.
Renato will likely step into the reserve center back spot vacated by Jason Hernandez, who departed to New York City FC after being selected in the expansion draft. The signing provides added depth in central defense with Renato joining Ty Harden as the club’s reserve pairing behind the solid first-team duo of Victor Bernardez and Clarence Goodson.
Renato has been training with the club throughout the preseason, though unofficially, instead listed in all club releases as Trialist #1. Those who follow the club closely have known for weeks however, after an announcer identified Renato as the mystery man during a live stream of the Earthquakes’ second preseason game in Tucson, AZ.
Renato caught the eye of both general manager John Doyle and head coach Dominic Kinnear during a trip to Europe:
“Dominic and I traveled to Portugal this year and Paulo was a player we identified. Paulo is a well-rounded player and a solid defender. He will be an important part of the team this season.”
Renato was a highly-regarded Portuguese prospect as a youngster, playing for and graduating from Sporting Clube de Portugal’s (Sporting CP) famed youth academy, joining the senior club at 19. In four years with the club, Renato failed to make a single appearance, however, bouncing around Portugal on loan spells to various lower division clubs.
Renato also made appearances for the Portuguese under-20 and under-21 teams, starting four games for the latter during the 2007 Under-20 World Cup in Canada.
The Earthquakes also announced that forward Kris Tyrpak has been waived. Tyrpak joined San Jose via Chivas USA’s dispersal draft this offseason. The 22-year-old managed only one goal and one assist in nine matches during his rookie season with the goats in 2014, but showed promise toward the end of the campaign.
With seven forwards currently on the San Jose roster, it seems there wasn’t enough room for Tyrpak, who also remains an injury risk. The Texas native has already suffered a staggering five concussions throughout his young career.
Tyrpak is now available to the highest bidder for 48 hours starting tomorrow. Should he remain unclaimed he will become a free agent.