The Orange County Blues will have half of their starting backline from last season intact, as the club announced on Tuesday the return of right back Jack McCracken for the 2016 season, picking up his option for the season.
McCracken, 23, played his rookie season as a pro last year with the Blues. The Loyola Marymount product started the season as part of a rotation in defense, but eventually took over the position as his own, leading the team in minutes played by a rookie and played in 24 games across all competitions, notching two assists in league play from a largely stay-at-home role in the back.
"I'm excited to be back and playing for the OC Blues again in 2016," said McCracken in a team statement. "I'm looking forward to building on the success from last year and taking it to another level."
"Jack was a very important part of our back line last season," said head coach and general manager Oliver Wyss. "We see a lot of potential in him and we are excited to bring him back for 2016."
McCracken's return means he'll join Brenton Griffiths in returning to Orange County's defense for the coming season. In contrast, Beto Navarro has left, signing a deal in the NASL, and Josh Suggs went to the Colorado Springs Switchbacks.
Which players will fill the departures in defense? That's currently unclear. But McCracken's return brings the number of players announced on the Blues' roster to 10 with the team in the second week of preseason. The season is about six weeks away, so expect to see many more announcements about player signings or returns ahead of first kick.
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