With the turn of the New Year, the upcoming United Football League season is inching ever closer, and the club’s supporters can expect a new-look Loyola Meralco Sparks to take the field. There have been 12 outgoing players so far, with the likes of Graham Caygill, Yves Ashime, and Lee Joo Young all expected to suit up elsewhere when the new campaign begins.
“It’s always difficult. It’s the hardest part of my job – being able to sit guys down, and after you’ve built a relationship after a year, to tell them that they won’t be featuring for this club anymore,” said Simon McMenemy.
Earlier in the offseason, the exit of long-serving Roxy Dorlas came as quite a surprise to the team’s fans, and while the head coach is expecting more eyebrows to be raised with the list of departures so far, he’s confident the transfer activity is pushing the club in the right direction.
“In amongst those names, there are a few that have been with the club longer than others, and some might find surprising are being let go,” he said. “None of these players necessarily deserve not to be coming back. It’s not a perfomance thing at all. It’s simply that the club needs to evolve, we have to develop and we have to try and move forward in the best way we can. And sometimes, there are some very difficult decisions to be made.”
Midfielders Anthony Putrus-Schnell, Max Wright, and youngsters Charlie Beaton, Alvin Sarmiento, and Joshua Grommen also have made exits, with forwards Brad Grayson and Napo Bustillo, and goalkeeper Saba Garmaroudi completing the list of departures.
“Sometimes we just have to make the best decisions for the club and plan a way forward. There needs to be an influx of fresh ability and fresh talent in order for us to push on next season,” McMenemy explained. “We don’t try to burn bridges or just cut contracts, we explain the reasoning. It’s never an easy subject, it’s never an easy thing to do, but for the sake of the club and pushing the team forward, sometimes we have to make changes.