Good news came in a set of three Friday for Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC fans concerned the club would lose some of its identity after reaching an affiliation agreement with Colorado Rapids.
The club announced wingers Shane Malcolm and Saeed Robinson and center back Jamal Jack, members of the 2018 Switchbacks, signed to return for the 2019 USL Championship season. Malcolm re-signed with the club, while Robinson and Jack had their club options picked up, per the club release.
Malcolm, who missed a couple of matches on international duty with Guam, tied for the team lead with six goals and five assists last season. He was voted the team’s most valuable player by the Trailheads supporters group.
Robinson tallied five goals, most of which came from distance in a torrid stretch to end the season.
Jack was a staple in defense, starting all 34 of the club’s matches. Josh Suggs, the 2018 captain, was the only other player to start every game.
“With as much turnover we will have on the team, it’s important to have players familiar with the club,” said Switchbacks coach, Steve Trittschuh. “These three contributed a lot last season and I expect them to perform even better in 2019.”
With the previously announced signings of Jordan Burt and Rony Argueta, the first five members of the 2019 squad have sported the Switchbacks FC crest before.
Other familiar faces will not be back. AJ Ajeakwa, another attacker from last season, is heading to Tulsa Roughnecks, while Pascal Eboussi, who sometimes started next to Jack, headed to San Antonio FC.
The USL Championship 2019 schedule, released this week, has the Switchbacks opening at LA Galaxy II on March 9 before the home opener on March 16 against Sacramento Republic.
Playoff picture expands
The USL said the playoffs will expand to the top 10 teams in each conference. Seeds 7-10 will be in a play-in game before quarterfinals.