Following the Sidekicks’ 0-3 start to the 2021-2022 season, head coach Pablo Da Silva has been fired, allegedly due to “philosophical differences” per the Sidekicks. Da Silva was hired on a 3-year contract, and according to a statement he posted on Facebook, was surprised by the decision and had previously not heard any negative feedback from the front office. We reached out to Sidekicks’ president Jesse Llamas for comment, but have not heard back at the time of publication.
Taking Da Silva’s place as interim head coach is Sidekicks veteran and previous assistant coach, Ricardinho Cavalcante.
Ricardinho joined the Dallas Sidekicks in 2003, logging 12 goals and 18 assists in 30 games that season. When the Sidekicks returned in 2012, Ricardinho re-joined the team, and since then, has added 113 games played with 39 goals and 91 assists. He’s also served as an assistant coach for the past several seasons.
With Da Silva leaving, the roster has also seen some changes.
The Sidekicks have released Diego Burato, Brian Rodriguez, Nago Mbengue, Jonathan Cisneros, and Davide Di Poce. Di Poce and Rodriguez never took the floor for the Sidekicks, Cisneros and Burato only played once, and Mbengue played two games with only one goal.
Replacing them is a trio of familiar faces: Cameron Brown, Cody Ellis, and Jamie Lovegrove.
Jamie Lovegrove was the first major attacking star in Dallas upon the team’s return, posting 105 goals and 50 assists across just 79 games with the Sidekicks. He left the Sidekicks to join Tatu with the Mesquite Outlaws in 2019, where he once again starred, scoring 17 goals and assisting 9 others.
Cody Ellis started his indoor career in 2012 primarily as a defensive specialist but blossomed into a dangerous two-way threat. In 110 games with Dallas, he netted 44 goals and 64 assists, while routinely leading the team in defensive metrics. He also joined Mesquite in 2019, scoring another 6 goals and 3 assists while anchoring the Outlaws backline.
Cameron Brown was Lovegrove’s strike partner upon joining the Sidekicks in 2014, scoring 93 goals and assisting 46 more across just 85 games. Unlike the others, he opted out of indoor soccer following the abbreviated 2019/2020 season.
In short: the Sidekicks sacked a proven veteran head coach but Ricardinho isn’t a bad interim option. Having these three veterans return changes things dramatically. Short of re-hiring Tatu, these signings are some of the biggest moves possible to strengthen the team and win back over the die-hard fans.
The players also seem excited to be working under Ricardinho, an attitude that was rare during the Bozas era.
EDIT: Since publication, a 4th player who played under Tatu with the Mesquite Outlaws has signed with the Sidekicks. Rio Ramirez, a defender who also previously played for North Texas SC and the Fort Worth Vaqueros, has joined Dallas for the remainder of the 2021/22 season. With Mesquite, Ramirez played 21 games with 4 goals and 3 assists. He was one of the stronger defensive presences for the Outlaws.
Additionally, Ricardinho has given an interview to Michael Lewis of FrontRowSoccer, where he specifically mentions consulting Tatu for advice, and where the three returning players specifically mention Ricardinho as a primary reason for rejoining the Sidekicks.
The Sidekicks return to action tonight at 7 p.m. at the Credit Union of Texas Event Center in Allen, where they’ll be taking on the St. Louis Ambush for the 2nd time this season.