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USL PRO update: OC Blues re-sign trio; Andrew Ribeiro signs with Charlotte Independence; 2015 format revealed

Plenty of news as USL PRO gears up for the coming season.

Turner in action with the Blues.
Turner in action with the Blues.
Michael Janosz (used with permission of OC Blues)

Lots of news coming out of USL PRO these days, so what better way to catch up on some of the happenings than right here?

On the local front, the Orange County Blues announced this week that they have re-signed three players for the 2015. Left back Jimmy Turner and brothers Jiovanni Santana, a midfielder, and Christopher Santana, a forward, will be back with the Blues, under new head coach Oliver Wyss. Turner has played two seasons for the Blues to date, while the Santana brothers will be entering their second season, after both impressed coaches during an open tryout last year.

Said Turner in a club statement on his signing: "I am extremely fortunate and happy to return to the OC Blues for the upcoming 2015 USL PRO season. With a new head coach and some new players, we have our sights set on winning the Supporters' Shield and advancing deep into the playoffs."

In other news, former Chivas USA defender Andrew Ribeiro has found a new club, as he has signed a deal with expansion USL PRO side Charlotte Independence, announced on Friday. The fifth player signed in Independence history, Ribeiro has gone to train with the Colorado Rapids, who are Charlotte's MLS affiliate this year. Though they would have to sign a new contract, that does mean he could perhaps play for the Rapids in the future if he impresses during his time with them or with the Independence. And he'll get to see former Goats teammates Bobby Burling and Caleb Calvert in Colorado.

Finally, USL PRO announced their 2015 season format earlier this week. The 24 teams are split into two conferences along East/West geographical lines, unsurprisingly, and will play a 28-game regular season. Teams will play each team in their conference home and away, and will play six games against teams in the other conference. Unlike the past two seasons, with the demise of the MLS Reserve League, there will be no MLS Reserve League team/USL PRO team crossover games, with every team in MLS now required to either have their own USL PRO team or have an affiliate club. As of right now, the Blues do not have an affiliate agreement with any MLS team, though they have had MLS players on loan in past seasons without an affiliate agreement.

You can read more about the format changes, including the changes in the playoffs for 2015, here.

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