The Oakland Roots announced the addition of two players in successive days; adding center back Danny Barbir on Tuesday shortly after finalizing their deal with Darek Formella, while midfielder Charlie Dennis was introduced on Wednesday.
We’ve already started the Always Sunny references:
Dennis becomes the first player signed from a Division 3 side for Roots SC’s 2022 roster. He proved to be an important player in FC Tucson’s system after scoring 10 goals last season including one in the playoffs; upping his market value to a career-high of $248,000 last season.
Transfermarkt lists Dennis as a midfielder, while his highlight videos on his personal YouTube mention him as a central attacker. It’s difficult to digest what exactly teams will get out of a curated video, but Dennis quickly shows off his skills as a free-kick and corner specialist, long shot taker–plus he’s a big body in the midfield at 6 feet, 2 inches.
Roots, notably, watched a similar playing style and physical frame depart from its midfield in Wal Fall. Dennis owned Tucson’s penalty kick duties, which Oakland mightily struggled in last season. His film shows several qualities that Roots, perhaps, were seeking in its midfield with Fall; finding space, locating runners, shifting play, and sending in an occasional Worldy.
Dennis’ 2020 highlight reel shows off more of his skills as a passer. The two successive plays highlighted above were particularly exciting where the Englishman; at 1:18, he sends a beautiful ball toward Tucson’s striker which should’ve been finished, while his play at 1:25 is a gorgeous ball over the top to locate a charging forward across the field.
Dennis, 26, joins Roots SC after spending 2020-2021 with FC Tucson of USL League One. The native of Brighton, England and began his career with Southampton’s youth academy from 2005-2012 before heading to the states for college in 2014 with Shorter University in Georgia and later to Palm Beach Atlantic University.
With FC Tucson, Dennis made 42 appearances and scored 10 goals and 14 assists during his two years at the club. All 10 of his goals came in the 2021 season to go along with eight assists, earning second-team All-USL League One in the process.
In 2021, Dennis finished with a strong 7.55 rating by FotMob in 22 starts and a 7.45 rating in the playoffs. He’s been in the U.S. since 2014, it is currently unclear whether he counts against the team’s nine international slots.
The Roots announced Danny Barbir on Tuesday, becoming the fifth center back on the roster alongside Emrah Klimenta, Kai Greene, Tarek Morad, and fellow newcomer Alejandro Fuenmayor. Max Ornstil also made some appearances at the position last season.
Barbir comes to Oakland after spending 2020-2021 with USL Championship side Sporting KC II, making 39 appearances in 2020-2021 and scored four goals. He’s another monster at 6 feet, 3 inches, while his Transfermarkt valuation reached a career high of $165,000 after the conclusion of last season.
His agency’s highlight reel keys on Barbir’s skills as a crosser, defending, headers, and overall strength.
His film shows glimpses of his long passes down the field, and ability to read plays into tight areas. The clip above looks like his time with Manchester City’s youth academy in 2014, where he sends a ball over the top in behind the defense. Another portion of the film shows some timely pass-defense while in the U-17 World Cup against Croatia in 2015.
Oakland was not successful from set-pieces last season. If Barbir can replicate this timely run in the box from a set-piece, he may prove to be a useful teammate alongside Dennis’ accuracy in spot-kicks.
Barbir, 23, finished last season with a 6.65 rating by FotMob and appeared in 24 matches, scoring twice. He began his career with the Philadelphia Union’s youth academy in 2013 before traveling across the pond to Manchester City the following year. He was with West Brom’s youth academy from 2014-2017.
From there, Barbir signed with Whitecaps FC 2 in 2017 and went on loan to Bundesliga 2 club SV Sandhausen in 2019, making 11 appearances. Sporting KC II signed him in 2020.
He’s a former member of the USMNT development academy from 2013-2017 as a part of its U-15, U-17, and U-19 squads.