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Switchbacks FC begin building team for 2017

Captain Luke Vercollone and Jordan Burt return, Devala Gorrick says goodbye.

The Colorado Springs Switchbacks start to build the 2017 team.
Photos Courtesy Isaiah J. Downing/Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC

The USL offseason is in full swing, and with it, the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC begin the task of evaluating the roster and deciding who stays, and who goes. Unlike the previous offseason, when bringing back the core team made sense, this offseason appears to be one with major shakeups to the roster. For the fans, the final 2 games of 2016, a 4-0 loss to Orange County, and a 1-2 loss to Vancouver at home in the playoffs, left a sour taste in their mouth. Its not a stretch to say that Coach Steve Trittschuh felt the same way.

"We didn't have as a good of depth as we expected," Trittschuh said to the Gazette’s Joe Paisley. "We need players to push our starters more. We have already started looking at who is available and finding out who wants to come back to the team. Not everyone was happy with the amount of playing time they had."

"I want to bring in that consistent goal scorer up top who can score in the air," he said. "Mike (Seth) did a good job but we need more of that next year."

The Switchbacks have announced the return of two starters, captain Luke Vercollone, and Jordan Burt. Midfielder Vercollone was the first signing for the Switchbacks in their inaugural season, and is the teams all time leading scorer with 20 goals. Defender Burt was voted as Back Chat’s Supporters Young Player of the Year in 2015, and had a stellar 2016 on the stingy Switchbacks defense.

On the downside, fan favorite and 2016 USL Goalkeeper of the Year nominee Devala Gorrick announced via his instagram and twitter account that he was leaving the team. “I’m sad to announce that I will not be returning to play for the Switchbacks.”, he said. “I want to thank all of the fans and staff that supported me and pushed me to be my best. You’ll forever be in my heart. It was a rough two years for me on and off the field. It was a constant battle of my mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual self. And with the help of some amazing people and the desire to better myself, I never quit. And I never will quit. I love you all.”

His departure leaves a void at the goalkeeper position for the team. Heir apparent Billy Thompson is still hobbled by a late season ankle/foot injury, and its unsure what level he will be able to return at. Harpo’s FC Zac Gibbens and Real Colorado’s Kobe Grey were brought in late last season to backup Gorrick, but their status with the team is currently unknown.

There is plenty of time left until 2017 begins, and its yet to be seen just how many players will be returning. Its expected that any signings of new players wont happen until early 2017. The team has moved the open tryouts to February 2017, as opposed to the November ones previously held. Its wouldn't be a surprise if the team will look to find and cultivate younger talent, as opposed to spending money to lure in a ‘star’ player from elsewhere.