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News from USL

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    Los Angeles Blues News Release --

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Even though the Los Angeles Blues were able to grind out a tough come-from-behind victory over Antigua Barracuda FC Sunday, it wasn’t all cheers after the game. Mixed in with the excitement over the team’s 2-0-0 start to the season was some concern over the performance in the opening half hour of the match and what it could mean for Wednesday’s meeting with hosts Puerto Rico United (4 p.m. PST).

    While Argentine Walter Gaitán has been lighting up the Blues attack with three goals and one assist in two games, the team’s initial inability to keep possession against Antigua needs addressing ahead of the upcoming fixture in Carolina, Puerto Rico.

    “Antigua came out flying and we came out really flat, which may have had something to do with it being our second game in such a short time while it was the season opener for them,” Blues left back Mike Randolph said. “No matter what the reason was, we didn’t play well. We were very lazy and they got a quick goal as a result. After they scored, they kind of sat back and that made it tough for us to play good soccer.”

    Added right back Leonard Griffin, “Their goal came as a result of a bit of a defensive lapse on our part. Their forward did well to finish, but we also made it possible by getting caught on a through ball.”

    Blues Head Coach Charlie Naimo joined the two defenders in their criticism of the team’s early performance but also stressed the vast improvement starting late in the first half. In addition, the North Brunswick, N.J., native praised his star playmaker for taking control of the game as a true leader should and elevating his team’s performance.

    “We came out and played extremely sloppy, but then we started the second half with a major push for possession,” Naimo said. “Walter Gaitán was a big part of the win, not just because he scored two goals. We started him at forward, but when it wasn’t going well in the first half, he just took it upon himself to drop into the midfield, get a lot of touches and that way dictate the tempo of the game. That helped us settle down and it transferred over into the second half.”

    Encouraged by their improved possession game, the Blues came out with a lot more energy after the break and finally embraced the physical battle to which they were being challenged by the home team.

    “The guys showed a lot of heart and character to fight and come back from a goal down, especially considering it was on the road,” said Blues striker Chukwudi Chijindu. “It was difficult because Antigua always kept nine players behind the ball and tried to counter. But we stuck with our game plan, which was to be patient and find the seams to create opportunities.”

    The patience paid off in the 32nd minute of play, an infringement outside the penalty area resulting in a long-range free kick opportunity that Gaitán converted with a beautiful dipping effort over the wall. Then, late in the second half, a cross into the box was handled by an Antigua Barracuda FC defender, sending the 34-year-old Gaitán to the penalty spot for his second of the night.

    Despite the emotional win in front of a hostile crowd of over 6,000, Naimo’s enthusiasm was dampened by the fact that his team is only at the halfway point of a demanding stretch of four road games in only nine days. On a positive note, the Blues Head Coach should have Josh Tudela, Erlys Garcia, Akeem Priestley and Tomislav Colic all available against Puerto Rico United. The quartet, all of whom are potential starters, picked up minor injuries in the Blues’ season opener at Sevilla FC Puerto Rico and did not make the trip to Antigua.

    “It will be important for us to get those four back into the lineup, so the next two days are about maintenance and getting everyone healthy,” stated Naimo. “The guys worked extremely hard to come from behind and get a result against Antigua, but more travel and increasingly tired legs will make it even harder for us in Wednesday’s game.”

    The sentiment was echoed by Randolph. “I don’t know much about Puerto Rico United, but I’m sure it will be difficult given that it’s our third game of a long road trip and we now have targets on our backs because we’re 2-0 on the season,” the 25-year-old said. “I hear their field is really hard artificial turf, but I also feel like we’re prepared for anything. We just need to work on our composure on the ball and our urgency to get open when a teammate has it. We failed to do that early in the Antigua game and it made it much harder on us.”

    Chijindu shared his teammates concern about the playing surface at Roberto Clemente Stadium but also finished on a cautiously optimistic note. “We know the field is artificial turf, which isn’t ideal for us, but it's going to be the same for both teams,” he said. “We just have to try our best to adapt to it and do whatever it takes to get the win.”

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    Antigua Barracuda FC News Release --

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – Antigua Barracuda FC is pleased to announce three new signings for its inaugural USL PRO season.
    The players added to its 2011 roster are Jamaican internationals Newton Sterling and Christopher Harvey and midfielder Koyode McKinnon from Guyana.

    Chairman of Antigua Barracuda FC, Gordon ‘Banks’ Derrick in a statement said, “This is another clear indication that we can attract some of the best talent from around the region and so provide our coaching staff with additional ammunition to confirm our relevance in this league. We are also confident that these players will receive the full backing from our fans.”

    Meanwhile Coach Tom Curtis in anticipation of their arrival said, “I have heard nothing but good news about these boys, they have experience at this level and that will make a big difference in our thrust to be more competitive. I am looking forward to working with them as we build a strong unit.”

    Sterling is a powerful, fearless striker, with eight international caps. He not only has played for the leading clubs in Jamaica and Trinidad but has also plied his trade in Norway and Israel. He also spent a short spell with fellow USL PRO side the Charleston Battery, scoring for the Battery against the Houston Dynamo in the 2007 Carolina Challenge Cup.

    Harvey and Sterling come to the Barracuda FC from Harbour View FC, and Harvey is expected to play a significant role in the heart of the Antigua Barracuda FC defence.

    With the ability to play important positions in defence and midfield, Koyode Mckinnon comes to the team with solid experience from the Trinidad Professional League. He was also a team mate of Barracuda FC Captain George Dublin in the Tobago United team in 2008.

    Antigua Barracuda FC take on Seville of Puerto Rico on Thursday night at the Sticky Wicket Stadium.

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    The Denver Post -

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    By: Monte Whaley

    GREELEY, CO - Families fleeing political or religious persecution in Somalia and Myanmar have streamed into two local schools over the past two years, and sometimes the two groups haven't gotten along.

    "There has been some disharmony," said Meghan Belaska, who works with refugee families for Lutheran Family Services of Colorado. "We were just looking at ways to get them to work together as a team and have a common goal."

    The goal, as it turned, is soccer.

    The international game is being used to teach group cohesiveness and responsibility to about 80 Somali and Burmese boys and girls this spring. Their mentors are players of the Colorado Force — northern Colorado's women's pro-am soccer franchise — and the youth soccer club Storm Academy FC.

    Continue Here

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    USL Release

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    TAMPA, Fla. – United Soccer Leagues announced the USL PRO Team of the Week for Week 3 of the 2011 season today, honoring Los Angeles Blues forward Walter Gaitan as Player of the Week after the Argentinean scored three goals and added an assist in the Blues’ opening two games of the season.

    Gaitan recorded a goal and an assist as the Blues defeated Sevilla FC Puerto Rico 3-0 in their opening game of the season on Friday. He then scored twice, including a spectacular free kick, to help the Blues rally from an early deficit to take a 2-1 victory against Antigua Barracuda FC.

    Antigua’s Tamarley Thomas was one of the newcomers to the team this week, as players who achieved personal or club milestones were honored. Thomas scored the first goal in the Cudas’ history when he opened the scoring against Los Angeles on Sunday night.

    Dayton’s Kolby LaCrone was also named to the team after he scored the first goal in the Dayton Dutch Lions’ professional history in their 2-1 defeat against Charleston, while Orlando City’s Rob Valentino scored the first goal of his professional career to lift the Lions to a 1-0 win against Charlotte.

    A pair of rookies from the Wilmington Hammerheads were also selected, with goalkeeper Brock Duckworth recording a shutout against the Rochester Rhinos in his professional debut and Luke Mulholland, a former Reading United AC standout in the Premier Development League, scoring the game-winning goal for the Hammerheads.

    Other players honored were Charleston’s Nicki Paterson, who had a goal and an assist in the Battery’s 2-1 win against Dayton, Richmond’s Yomby William, who helped the Kickers record a shutout and their third victory of the season in a 1-0 victory against Rochester, and Orlando City’s Lawrence Olum, who was the key figure in the Lions’ midfield in their 1-0 win against Charlotte.

    USL PRO Team of the Week






    Brock Duckworth     


    Recorded shutout of Rochester in professional debut


    Rob Valentino

    Orlando City

    Scored game-winning goal for Lions against Charlotte


    Yomby William


    Key player in shutout of Rochester, third win of season for Kickers


    Nelson Akwari

    Los Angeles

    Strong performance as Blues recorded shutout in season-opener


    Jorge Herrera


    Strong defensively as Eagles were edged out by Orlando


    Luke Mulholland


    Scored game-winner in professional debut for Hammerheads


    Nicki Paterson


    Had goal, added assist in Battery’s 2-1 win against Dayton


    Lawrence Olum

    Orlando City

    Dominated midfield in return from preseason injury


    Walter Gaitan

    Los Angeles

    Scored three goals, added assist in Blues’ opening two wins


    Kolby LaCrone


    Had first goal in Dutch Lions’ professional history


    Tamarley Thomas


    Powerful forward gave Barracuda FC lead in home opener

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    USL News Release

    Wednesday, April 20, 2011

    TAMPA, Fla. – United Soccer Leagues announced today that Saturday’s postponed game between the Harrisburg City Islanders and Pittsburgh Riverhounds had been rescheduled for Tuesday, May 31 at 7 p.m. at the Skyline Sports Complex in Harrisburg, Pa.

    Heavy rain and thunderstorms caused the postponement of Saturday’s home opener for the City Islanders.

    The first edition of the Keystone Derby will now take place this Saturday as the Riverhounds host the City Islanders at 7 p.m. at Chartiers Valley High School. The two teams played to a 1-1 draw four times last season.

    Harrisburg’s home opener at the Skyline Sports Complex will now take place on Saturday, April 30 when the City Islanders host National Division rivals the Rochester Rhinos at 7 p.m.

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  • 04/20/11--15:22: Barracuda Add Byers To Squad
  • Antigua Barracuda FC News Release --

    Wednesday, April 20, 2011

    ST. JOHN’S, Antigua - Antigua Barracuda FC will go into the game against Seville FC of Puerto Rico eager to clinch the club’s first points in their inaugural USL PRO season at the Sticky Wicket Stadium on Thursday night at 7 p.m.

    The side has been boosted by the addition of Peter ‘Big Pete’ Byers. A local favorite and former USL professional with the Montreal Impact, Byers will bring more attacking options to the line-up as well as his experience to the team.

    “Peter has the opportunity to show the world that he still has what it takes to perform at this level,” Barracuda chairman Gordon Derrick said. “He looks fit, trained well with the boys this morning and Coach Curtis like what he sees. We are happy to provide this platform for him if he grabs it with both hands I am confident he will graduate to bigger and better things.”

    With less than twenty four hours to go the team went through their paces at the Sticky Wicket Stadium under the watchful eye of Tom Curtis, Head Coach of Antigua Barracuda FC.

    Keen to impress after their arrival on Tuesday, Jamaican Internationals Christopher Harvey and Newton Sterling, as well as Kayode McKinnon from Guyana, displayed no sign of fatigue but rather gave spirited displays as they all fitted smoothly into the session.

    Asked what he thought these acquisitions would bring to the team, Coach Curtis said, “First it brings competition for places within the squad as players will have to work harder in order to make the lineup. Additionally, they bring experience, having played at this level before and demonstrate also our intention is not just to turn up, but to be very competitive in the process.”

    Captain of the team George Dublin highlighted the spirit in the camp after the first game.

    “We are buoyant and committed, we want to give the fans something special,” Dublin said. “We have an opportunity to leave home, on our first road trip, with six points and we will be working hard to achieve that objective.

    “We must be prepared for whatever Seville throw at us, we must be up to the challenge as we cannot afford to fall to far behind in the standings. We know they can play, but nothing beats preparation.”
    The opening encounter saw impressive support for the home team in a festive atmosphere, and as the Easter weekend break approaches, it is anticipated that the fans will come out in similar numbers to give vital vocal support.”

    Antigua will face Sevilla again on Saturday at the Sticky Wickey Stadium, with kickoff again scheduled for 7 p.m.

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  • 04/20/11--17:29: Caps Ink Four More
  • Vancouver Whitecaps FC News Release -

    Wednesday, April 20, 2011

    VANCOUVER, B.C. - Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced today the signings of defender Malloree Enoch, midfielders Kelsey Hood and Krista Kruse, as well as striker Alysha Bonnick to the club’s 2011 W-League roster – pending United States Soccer Federation approval.

    “All four of these players are excellent additions to our 2011 squad,” said Hubert Busby Jr., Whitecaps FC women’s team head coach. “Malloree is a versatile player who will always lead by example and Kelsey is a model professional who our young players will learn from. Krista has tremendous work ethic and versatility, while Alysha’s speed and ability to beat players will add to our attacking arsenal.”

    Enoch, 26, joins Vancouver after spending the past three seasons playing National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II soccer at Saint Leo University. During her career with the Lions, Enoch started 36 of her 38 appearances, scoring seven goals and recording 18 assists for 32 total points. The 5-foot-5 defender/midfielder had her strongest statistical season in 2008 when she scored four goals and added seven assists for a total of 15 points. Prior to playing at Saint Leo, the Fairview, Oregon product played in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) for Concordia University. In 2003, she was honoured as Cascade Conference Player of the Year and was named an NAIA All-American. Enoch holds Concordia records for goals in a season with 20, goals in a game with four, and points in a season with 53.

    Hood, 24, joins Whitecaps FC after spending the 2010 season playing with Norwegian Toppserien club FK Donn. Prior to her time abroad, Hood played in the W-League for Minnesota Lightning. In 2009, the 5-foot-6 midfielder started all 12 games for the Lightning, registering two assists. Hood also spent four seasons playing NCAA Division I soccer at the University of Minnesota, starting 81 of her 82 career appearances while scoring five goals and recording nine assists for a total of 19 career points. As captain in her senior season, the native of Ankeny, Iowa, led the Golden Gophers to the regular season Big Ten Championship and the final 16 of the NCAA tournament, the program’s deepest postseason run. In leading Minnesota to a Big Ten record 17 shutouts that season, Hood was named to the Soccer Buzz All-America Second Team as well as being named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. Hood also earned All-Big Ten Second Team honours in 2006 and 2007, while being named to the All-Big Ten First Team in 2008.

    Kruse and Bonnick come to Vancouver after teaming up to play NCAA Division I soccer at the University of Missouri for the past four years.

    Kruse, 22, joins Whitecaps FC after starting 52 of her 83 career appearances for the Tigers, scoring 13 goals and adding five assists for 31 career points. Last year, the 5-foot-6 midfielder had her best season, starting every match while finishing second on the team with 1,561 total minutes played. In her final year, Kruse was also second on the team with eight goals and two assists for 18 total points. In 2009, the Fort Collins, Colorado product started all 21 of her appearances while scoring two goals and tallying three assists. That same year, Kruse was called into camp to play for the United States U-23 national team.

    Bonnick, 22, joins Whitecaps FC after starting 78 of her 85 career appearances for Missouri, scoring 38 goals and adding 18 assists for 99 career points. The 5-foot-5 striker also holds the school record for game-winning goals with 14. In her final season with the Tigers, Bonnick led the team with nine goals, three assists and 21 points, earning All-Big 12 second team honours. In 2008, the native of North Gower, Ontario, scored 11 goals and added four assists for 26 points. Her performance in her sophomore season earned her recognition on the Soccer America All-America fourth team, as well as being named to the All-Big 12 first team. Bonnick’s best statistical season was in her first year when she scored 11 goals with 10 assists for 32 points en route to being named 2007 Big 12 Rookie of the Year. Internationally, Bonnick has made two appearances for the senior Canadian women’s national team.

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    USL Feature –

    Thursday, April 21, 2011

    This Saturday a Garden State rivalry will be renewed as Ironbound SC and the New Jersey Stallions meet in a U16 boys Super Y-League clash. These two teams are hardly unfamiliar foes, having seen each other in U15 competition last season.

    “It’s important for the kids in their in their development to play good teams,” Stallions Coach Kobie Johnson said. “Ironbound is always a tough team.”

    Ironbound sees an equally dangerous opponent in the Stallions.

    “Games with the NJ Stallions are always very competitive and hopefully we can walk away with a positive result,” said John Soares, Ironbound’s Director of Operations.

    Ironbound is hoping for a better start to 2011. Ironbound met Stallions at the beginning of 2010 and New Jersey took the early spoils, cruising to a 3-0 victory in their initial meeting. The two sides met once more, a 2-2 draw.

    The clubs remained close in the standings all season as New Jersey took second in Group A and Ironbound third. Both finishes were good enough to punch tickets to Tampa, site of the 2010 Super Y-League North American Finals.

    At the finals, Ironbound experienced the frustration of going undefeated in its group, earning a 2-0-2 record, but falling a win short of advancing. The Stallions failed to advance from their group as well.

    Both sides are hoping to build on their 2010 performances and take the next step in 2011.

    "We have a group of talented boys returning, with everyone having Super Y experience, and know what to expect in the competition,” Soares said. “We expect the boys to have to have a good season."

    Ironbound is also returning standout defender Jason DaSilva, who made the Super Y-League North American Finals U15 boys All-Tournament Team in 2010.

    The season is just beginning for these two clubs, but the goal remains the same: get to Tampa.

    “We think we can do well in the Super Y-League and get back to Florida,” Johnson said.

    That sentiment is echoed by Ironbound.

    "It is important that we get off to a good start to the 2011 season,” Soares added. “We would like to return to Tampa for the nationals for the fourth time.”

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    Orlando City News Release --

    Thursday, April 21, 2011

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Orlando City makes Orlando soccer history again this Friday when Puerto Rico United, the first professional soccer team from Puerto Rico to come to Orlando for a regular season match, comes to town this Friday. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Citrus Bowl.

    City comes into the match with a two-game winning streak, and combined with preseason results remains undefeated at the Citrus Bowl. A win against Puerto Rico United would keep City in third place overall in the USL PRO standings.

    Puerto Rico United is unlike the teams City has played so far. United's playing style is something the Lions have yet to encounter this season. Rather than a physical match, the Lions are preparing for a more finesse and technical game.

    “By all accounts they are a very technical side,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath. “They keep possession of the ball well and play a very South American style game. They like to try and work the ball through the field. We’ll have to be patient.”

    As focused as Heath is on his opponent, he is just as focused on making sure his Lions continue to come together as a squad. Having key players return to full match fitness is part of that process.

    “I gradually feel as though the group is getting better, getting a better understanding of each other,” said Heath. “Half the team is new and hasn’t played together. Five of the starters are new to the system. With the improvement I’m seeing, I’m confident we can push on and get another result on Friday.”

    One thing that won’t change is how City plays the game. Their style, particularly on offense, will not be dictated by Puerto Rico United’s possession game.

    “There are two sides to the game,” said Heath. “Offensively, the opposition will have to accommodate us. Defensively, there are certain things you can do with teams that like to keep possession – pressuring higher up the field, trying to win the ball back in our attacking third – and that’s what we’ll look to do tomorrow night; play a high-tempo, aggressive game.

    Although he led the team in assists in preseason, and is the assists leader for the club in USL PRO as well, the one thing Devorn Jorsling has not done in three matches is score. The Lions are looking to get Jorsling more involved in the offense this match.

    “We haven’t been able to get [Devorn] enough chances in and around the box,” said Heath. “I’m hoping to get him the ball in and around the penalty area a bit more on Friday.”

    Orlando City projected starting line-up (unofficial):

    GK – Miguel Gallardo
    RB – Mechack Jerome, CB – Demar Stewart, CB – Rob Valentino, LB – Jack Traynor
    RM – Jamie Watson, CM – Yordany Alvarez, CM – Lawrence Olum, LM – Lewis Neal
    FW – Maxwell Griffin, FW – Devorn Jorsling

    Available subs:

    Sean Kelley, Ian Fuller, Luke Boden, Kieron Bernard, Erik Ustruck, Kevin Molino, Dennis Chin, Wes Allen 

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    FC JAX Destroyers News Release --

    Thursday, April 21, 2011

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – FC JAX Soccer, Inc. today announced that Jacksonville will be getting a new Premier Development League (PDL) men’s soccer team this season, the FC JAX Destroyers, as well as a women’s W-League franchise that will begin competition in 2012.

    The FC JAX Destroyers will begin their 16-game season on Friday, May 13 against the Mississippi Brilla. There will be eight home games throughout the season and all home matches will be played at Jacksonville University. The team will have a variety of sponsors including Lotto – Team Sport, Bhari Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Clinic and Heartland Sports Medicine. Sun Dog Diner will also provide refreshments at all home games.

    The Destroyers will be led by head coach Eric Dutt who comes to the FC JAX Destroyers after spending three seasons as the assistant coach at Stetson University. During his time at Stetson, Dutt was responsible for all aspects of the program under Head Coach T. Logan Fleck as the men’s program achieved new heights.

    “We believe that an elite soccer team will fill a gap in the Northeast Florida soccer community,” said Jay Golomb, Executive Director of FC JAX Soccer. “We’re so excited to bring this opportunity to the many soccer fans in Jacksonville and feel confident that our efforts will attract an even wider audience in the community.”

    Tickets for individual games and also season ticket specials will be available on the new FC JAX website The website will also include a full schedule for the 2011 season.

    The United Soccer League PDL division provides elite collegiate players a chance to compete at a higher level while maintaining their eligibility. PDL teams also compete in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and various other exhibitions. The PDL division has been the starting ground for many top professionals who now play around the world.

    For more information, visit

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    Richmond Kickers News Release --

    Thursday, April 21, 2011

    RICHMOND, Va. – The Richmond Kickers conclude their four-game home stand to open the USL PRO season this Saturday, April 23 with a USL Second Division Championship rematch when they host the defending champions Charleston Battery at 5 p.m. at City Stadium. The two clubs meet for the first time since the Battery edged the Kickers, 2-1, in last year’s title match in Charleston. Tickets are on sale now at

    “Kickers versus Battery games are always intense affairs,” said Leigh Cowlishaw, Richmond Kickers Head Coach and Director of Soccer. “This one should prove to be even better as both hold 100 percent records and the game is a rematch of last season’s USL Championship. Charleston, for my money, were the best team outside of MLS last season and with many of their players returning we understand the challenge we face.”

    Prior to last year’s Championship, the Kickers and the Battery had met 40 times since the club’s inception in 1993, with the all-time series deadlocked at 18-18-4, including a 2-2 split during the 2010 regular season. Both teams were successful on their home turf with the Kickers defeating the Battery 3-1 at City Stadium in June before suffering their worst loss of the season at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston one week later. The pair exchanged home-and-home victories again in July before the Battery stripped Richmond of the USL PRO crown on August 28. The heated rivalry continues in 2011 for the long-time rivals, as the clubs battle in the newly formed USL PRO American Division.

    Both the Kickers and the Battery have opened the 2011 season with success, coming off a pair of wins last weekend. Richmond’s prolific goal-scorer Matthew Delicâte tallied his third goal in as many games, his 50th with the Kickers, to boost the home side to a hard-fought 1-0 victory over the Rochester Rhinos. Meanwhile, under the guidance of 2010 USL Coach of the Year, Mike Anhaeuser, Charleston left their mark in Dayton with a tightly-contested 2-1 battle against the expansion Dayton Dutch Lions.

    Players to Watch

    Kickers: Yomby William earned USL PRO Team of the Week honors for the second time this season after securing the Kickers back line in the 1-0 shutout against Rochester. The menacing defender stifled the Rhinos attack, holding the rivals to just four shots on goal. Newcomer Mike Callahan continues to anchor the midfield after earning Union First Market Bank Man of the Match honors following last week’s victory. The UNC-Chapel Hill graduate garnered USL PRO Player of the Week honors after his first appearance with the club, joining the roster days before the Kickers home opener. Veteran netminder Ronnie Pascale posted his second shutout of the season against Rochester last week, thanks to three acrobatic saves to preserve the clean sheet. In his 12th season with the Kickers, Pascale looks to improve upon last season’s league-best 0.882 goals against average in 2011.

    Battery: Goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra is no stranger to the Richmond scene, having made 49 appearances with the USL Premier Development League’s Richmond Kickers Future during his collegiate career at Virginia Commonwealth University. The Woodbridge, Va. native signed with the Battery this season following two seasons with the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer. Veteran defender John Wilson reversed his retirement decision after leading the Battery to their USL Championship last season. He resides in third place on the Battery’s all-time list with 181 games played, recording over 16,000 minutes in a Battery uniform. Newcomer Nicki Paterson joins the Battery roster in 2011 after one-year stints with the Harrisburg City Islanders and Real Maryland Monarchs. Making an immediate impact with his new club, the Scottish midfielder notched the Battery’s first goal of the night against Dayton last week.

    Special Guests

    Saturday is Richmond International Raceway Night with the Richmond Kickers. The official Pace Car will be on display and fans will have the chance to win tickets and Green Flag Zone passes to the Matthew & Daniel Hansen 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on April 30.


    General admission tickets for regular season home games are $12/adults and $7/youth ages 3-17 for the fifth consecutive season. Avoid lines at the gate and click and print your tickets in advance via Alleviate the hassle of individual tickets and enjoy all of the Kickers Pro regular season home games for the best possible pricing with a 2011 Family Pass ($119), All-Access Pass ($90) or Adult Pro Pass ($55).

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    Antigua Barracuda FC News Release --

    Thursday, April 21, 2011

    ST. JOHN’S, Antigua -- Sevilla FC Puerto Rico recorded its first victory of the USL PRO season with a 1 – 0 victory over Antigua Barracuda FC at the Sticky Wicket Stadium on Thursday night.

    The goal came against the run of play as Sevilla took the lead in the 39th minute to stun the local but supportive crowd as Ryan Roushandal was given the opportunity to strike a low ball pass a static defense and a flat-footed goalkeeper.

    The game started brightly for the home side as they demonstrated signs of a more lethal attack as Peter Byers, in his first game for the Cudas, brought energy and enterprise to the forward line. However it was Byers who managed to miss an open goal having rounded the keeper but somehow shockingly kicked the ball over the crossbar from six yards out.

    As the first half was winding down, an infringement on the edge of the penalty area provided the opportunity Sevilla FC sought as Roushandal's strike, his second of the season, was good enough to beat the wall of the Barracuda FC defense and a diving Molvin James.

    The second half started much like the first with Antigua dominating play with wave after wave of attack but had nothing to show for all their possession and commitment.

    “We just failed to but the ball into the back of the net,” Antigua Barracuda coach Tom Curtis said. “We dominated play, threw everything at them but you have nights like that in football”

    Antigua Barracuda captain George Dublin shared the same sentiment.

    “Right now we are very disappointed but we must keep going,” Dublin said. “This is a tough league and if you fail to score, you fail to win”

    Sevilla’s players were obviously elated by their first victory, expressing delight at holding out to win the game.

    “We’ve been working hard on our game, to record a victory, we are very happy tonight,” said Sevilla captain Erik Hort.

    The two teams will again meet on Saturday night at 7 p.m. at the Sticky Wicket with Antigua hoping to turn around their fortunes and find their opening win of the season.

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    Los Angeles Blues News Release --

    Friday, April 22, 2011

    LOS ANGELES, Calif. – There is an atmosphere of calm and confidence surrounding the Los Angeles Blues players and coaching staff these days. The USL PRO side earned their third win in as many games during a lengthy trip to the Caribbean on Wednesday night by beating Puerto Rico United 4-2. Despite having come close to surrendering a three-goal lead against their International Division rivals, the Blues players and staff focused on the bigger picture after the game and looked ahead to Saturday’s clash with River Plate Puerto Rico (5 p.m. PST) with confidence.

    “We’re very happy with the result, especially considering we’ve played three games in six days,” said midfielder Josh Tudela. “It’s pretty incredible to me that we were still able to pull off the win despite all the travel and tired legs. I thought we played very well as a team against Puerto Rico United. There were a couple of instances where we lost our composure, but that’s part of the game and we did a good job recovering from it.”

    The instances to which the Blues captain was referring came in the second half and temporarily allowed Puerto Rico United to get from a three-goal deficit to within one goal. Forward Hector Ramos scored twice on long balls over the top of the Los Angeles backline, finding the net in the 66th and 78th minutes.

    “We were disappointed about letting in those goals because we felt like we didn’t do enough to make Puerto Rico earn them,” defender Mike Randolph said. “They came more or less from our defense not being focused and aggressive enough and could have been prevented if we had just kicked the ball out, double-teamed their player or simply not let the ball bounce.”

    Blues Head Coach Charlie Naimo saw a deeper-rooted reason for the near-comeback by the home side.

    “We may have played our best soccer of the season early in the game,” he said. “We established great possession and made them chase the ball. But after our third goal, we didn’t really keep our foot on the gas mentally. The guys kept working hard, but we didn’t stick to our game plan. We kind of deserted our possession game and had too many players going forward. It seemed like everybody wanted to score.

    “We need to keep working on our discipline and our mental focus. It’s a ninety-minute game, not a seventy-minute game. Overall I’m not disappointed at all tonight, but if I had to point out something negative, then I would say that there was no reason for us to make it a game. There was no reason to be sitting at three-nothing and let ourselves slip mentally.”

    The sentiment was echoed by defender Cameron Dunn. The 27-year-old from Alta Loma, Calif., put in a solid 90-minute shift for the Blues in Wednesday’s game.

    “We let in two sloppy goals that came from simple lapses in concentration,” Dunn said. “We were up in the game and then we took our foot off the pedal and got punished for it. We responded well by coming back and scoring the next goal, but we just can't afford to do that against such quality opposition. We know we’re better than that and that we need to put together a full ninety minutes of consistent focus.”

    Dunn’s point is an important one, given that there are plenty more matches ahead for the Blues to continue working on their collective discipline, starting with Saturday’s fixture at Roberto Clemente Walker Stadium in Carolina, Puerto Rico. The significance of continued improvement was also stressed by Tudela.

    “United’s goals resulted from mental lapses by the entire team,” the former Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder agreed. “We got a little unorganized on the field and they made us pay. The good news is that we’re only three games into the season, so we’re still learning as a group.”

    Of course, collective shape is not everything in soccer. Sometimes it takes a standout performance from a few players to gain the edge in a fiercely contested battle. Mike Randolph gave a textbook example of such a special performance Wednesday night, as he was praised by Naimo after the 4-2 win over United. The 25-year-old even managed to top off his night with a fantastic goal.

    The play started in the 41st minute with the left back pushing up the field from his usual position to pass the ball to Tomislav Colic, who shielded it and gave it back to his teammate.

    “From there, I passed it down the line to Akeem (Priestley),” Randolph said. “He crossed it in and one of their defenders tried to clear, but the ball ended up coming to me because I was following the play. I was at the top of the box on the left and took two touches to settle. Then I hit it as hard as I could far post. The keeper got a hand on it, but it hit the post and went in. It was my first goal in about five years, so I was pretty excited.”

    Meanwhile, Naimo’s praise was not limited to his star defender. In addition to congratulating two-goal man Colic, the Blues Head Coach also saw positives in the entire team’s reaction to United pulling within one in the second half.

    “We quickly scored our fourth and they never really created another chance,” Naimo said. “They had a lot of shots on the stats sheet, but most of them were from far away and they didn’t really get in behind our backline. (Blues goalkeeper) Oscar Dautt rarely had to come up big today while their keeper was a lot busier. So I’m not going to complain about our performance too much. Instead, we should also acknowledge that Puerto Rico had some good players – especially (double goal scorer) Ramos, who was very tough for us to handle, very athletic and strong." 

    Saturday’s task is not expected to be any easier for the Blues, as they take on the champion of the 2010 edition of the Puerto Rico Soccer League, the SúperCopa DirecTV.

    “We know River Plate Puerto Rico is a quality side, so we expect a good game,” said Blues defender Dunn. “I feel that if we stick to our game plan and execute in the final third, we’ll put ourselves in a great position to be rewarded. It’s still early in the season, so getting quality scouting reports is not easy. We just have to come ready to battle, it’s as simple as that.”

    The sentiment was echoed by Tudela, who also identified the playing surface as a major factor in the clash with River Plate Puerto Rico.

    “Everybody has been saying that River Plate could be our toughest opponent so far,” he remarked. “What makes it more difficult is that we’re playing them on the same field we played United on, meaning old artificial turf. You can’t even slide on it because you would almost certainly injure your leg.

    “Having said that, we shouldn’t focus on the field too much. We have plenty of talent and a great bunch of guys on this team, so we just have to make sure we match their intensity and play our game. If we do that, I think we’ll be successful.”

    Randolph finished on a similarly optimistic note, as he assessed the state of the team following the win over Puerto Rico United.

    “It was our errors that led to their two goals and made the game more interesting than it should have been,” he conceded. “But overall, I’m happy with the team and how we’ve all been responding to such a crazy road trip. Hopefully we can get three more points and go home even happier.”

    “We came out, played good soccer and jumped out to a three-nothing lead," Naimo added. "You can’t be upset about that, just as you can’t be upset about having scored nine goals in the last three games. We have things to work on, but the guys are getting more confident and they’re also getting closer off the field, which is crucial for us to be successful.”

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  • 04/22/11--11:35: Kickers Flying High Early
  • USL Feature

    Friday, April 22, 2011


    Facing four teams that were all expected to challenge for the USL PRO playoffs, if not the championship, in their opening four games, the Richmond Kickers and their re-tooled squad were certainly going to get their mettle tested to start the new season.

    With three wins out of three against Orlando City, Pittsburgh and Rochester, and the opportunity to make it four out of four on Saturday against the Charleston Battery, the Kickers have come through that test strongly so far.

    And while it’s overstating things to lay the praise for the club’s strong start to the season solely at the feet of forward Matt Delicâte, it’s hard to ignore the Virginia Commonwealth University alum’s contribution to the team’s success. With three goals in three games, including two that proved to be game-winners, the 29-year-old has been as crucial as the Kickers’ stingy defense.

    “I’m feeling pretty confident, and I’m feeling like if I get a few chances in a game I’m going to put one away and luckily that’s been the case so far,” Delicâte said by phone. “If the team is creating good chances then we’re going to be scoring goals, so I feel confident that if I get several chances in a game I’m going to stick one away.”

    Delicate’s goal on Saturday that gave the Kickers a 1-0 victory against Rochester was also a landmark, his 50th goal for the club. It was another excellent finish as well, a flicked header from a cross from the right that looped into the left corner of the net.

    Kickers head coach Leigh Cowlishaw has been pleased with the way his striker has started the season overall, helping bring other players into the attack and using his strength and big frame to hold up play for his teammates, but it’s Delicâte’s ability to be in the right position to find the back of the net that Cowlishaw admires most.

    “It’s not that he has exceptional pace, or that he’s the most skillful player on the ball but he’s always in the right place at the right time and it’s hard to replicate,” Cowlishaw said by phone. “A goal a game against this opposition is a fantastic start, and he’s there at the right time when it matters and more times than not his finishing is clinical.”

    That knack of finding the open space, or anticipating the pass or rebound before it happens, is a trait found in a lot of great goal-scorers at all levels. According to Delicâte, it’s a combination of both instinct and experience that has allowed him to be as prolific as he has.

    “The more experience you have, the more you’ve seen a lot of different plays pan out and you kind of get a feel for where you need to be in order to be in a good position,” he said. “I think at times you can make your own luck. You’ve got to be proactive on the field and try to anticipate where a good spot might be to score a goal.”

    Goals might be hard to come by on Saturday as the Kickers face the Charleston Battery’s strong defense in a rematch of last season’s USL Second Division Championship, and Delicate is expecting it will be tough to continue his streak of scoring in each contest this season.

    “Obviously they’re going to do a great job of stopping us from creating chances,” Delicâte said. “It’s always a close game and it’s usually decided by a goal. The game might be decided by one good play, one good finish or one good defensive play by the defense or the ‘keeper.

    “They’re always tight, defensive games, and that’s when you’ve got to be on it. I might only get one chance in that game, so I’ve got to make sure I make it count and the same goes for any other player on the team.”

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    Pittsburgh Riverhounds News Release --

    Friday, April 22, 2011

    PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Following a postponed game in Harrisburg last weekend, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds (0-1-0) welcome the Harrisburg City Islanders (0-0-0) to Chartiers Valley Stadium on Saturday night for a USL PRO National Division contest. The Keystone Derby is a highlight of the schedule each season for both clubs and should bring an intense atmosphere for the Riverhounds’ Home Opener, scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

    Keystone Derby Preview

    The first edition of the Keystone Derby was delayed one week due to Mother Nature drenching the Skyline Sports Complex with two inches of rain in Harrisburg last Saturday. This delay provided both the Riverhounds and City Islanders an additional week of training to prepare for the clash of in-state rivals.

    The battle for Pennsylvania bragging rights, coupled with the chance to move into first place in the National Division, will create a fast-paced and physical environment. In 2010, the Hounds and City Islanders met four times with each contest ending in a 1-1 draw. The tension between the two clubs should carry over into the 2011 USL PRO season.

    Riverhounds to Watch

    Forward Thabiso “Boyzzz” Khumalo makes first appearance in the Riverhounds’ home uniform since signing with D.C. United in 2008. Khumalo adds creativity, experience, and pace to the Riverhounds’ attack.

    Riverhounds leading goal scorer from last year and 2011 captain Chad Severs will look to notch his first goal this weekend against his former club. While in Harrisburg, Severs found the back of the net frequently to become the City Islanders’ all-time leader in goals (31).

    Midfielder Sammy Appiah should break into the starting 11 for the Keystone Derby. Appiah comes to Pittsburgh after one season with the Houston Dynamo of Major League Soccer.

    City Islanders to Watch

    Harrisburg returns leading point-scorer Jason Hotchkins for his second campaign with the club. In 2010, Hotchkins led the Isles with 12 points, recording five goals and two assists.

    Goalkeeper Chase Harrison comes back to man the goal for the City Islanders after signing with Crystal Palace Baltimore in 2010 and playing on loan with the Richmond Kickers, D.C. United, and the Columbus Crew.

    Tickets for the Riverhounds Home Opener can be purchased by calling 412.539.1191 or on Game Day. Ticket prices are $9 for adults and $6 for youths.

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  • 04/22/11--12:12: Rhinos Looking For First Win
  • Rochester Rhinos News Release --

    Friday, April 22, 2011

    ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- After going 0-2 on the road to begin the 2011 regular season, the Rochester Rhinos will remain away from home this week as they will travel to take on the Dayton Dutch Lions on Saturday, April 23 at 7 p.m.

    The Dutch Lions have begun the season 0-1 after falling to the defending USL-2 champion Charleston Battery on Saturday night, 2-1. Kolby LaCrone netted his first goal of the season for Dayton in the loss. Rochester and Dayton have met just once prior to Friday’s match, that coming in last season’s U.S. Open Cup. The Rhinos blanked Dayton 2-0 in Rochester in the tournament's first round.

    Dayton is in just their second year of existence, having promoted themselves from the USL’s Premier Development League last year.

    “They are a well coached and play well as a team” said Rhinos Head Coach Bob Lilley. “They played us tough on our field during last year’s U.S. Open Cup tournament. I would expect the same from them this time.”

    Rochester played to a pair of 1-0 losses last weekend in Richmond and Wilmington. Rochester has dropped its first two matches of the regular season for only the third time in club history. The other two times were during the 1996 and 2008 seasons. Rochester reached the league championship game in 1996 and the semifinals in 2008.

    Rochester will open their 2011 home season on Saturday, May 7 against the defending USL-2 champion Charleston Battery. Tickets to that match and all 12 USL PRO matches can be purchased at the Sahlen’s Stadium Box Office, Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone at (800) 745-3000 or online at

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    Orlando City News Release --

    Friday, April 22, 2011

    ORLANDO, Fla. -- In front of an announced crowd of 7,279 at the Florida Citrus Bowl, Orlando City (2-1-1) tied its fourth game of the USL PRO season as Max Griffin scored twice in a 2-2 against visiting Puerto Rico United (0-1-2).

    Puerto Rico struck first, with Edivaldo Silva scoring in the 30th minute from a quickly taken free kick to give his side a 1-0 halftime lead.

    Orlando struck back quickly at the start of the second half as Griffin scored his first in the 47h minute to tie the game. Griffin then added his second just three minutes later, heading in a beautiful cross from Jamie Watson in the 50th minute to give Orlando the lead. The goal was Griffin's fourth of the season, putting him on top of USL PRO's scoring leaders.

    At that point it appeared as though Orlando had control of the game, but PRU's Christian Turizo took advantage of a mistake by Lions goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo in 72nd minute, taking his opportunity when Gallardo came too far out of his penalty area to tie the game.

    Both teams came close after the game was tied, and there was even a series of events where Orlando had three shots in a minute span by Kevin Molino and Luke Boden, but both were unable to capitalize.

    PRU was reduced to 10 men in the 84th minute of the match. After a disputed call, United’s goalkeeper Jose Miranda ran out of his goal to confront Orlando City coach Adrian Heath. Already carrying a yellow card from a few minutes prior, Miranda was shown a second yellow and ejected from the game. Play was stopped for several minutes to sort things out as Miranda refused to leave the field.

    A man down and with the match in stoppage time and goal-scorer Turizo acting as the goalkeeper for PRU, Orlando had every advantage possible to win the game late in stoppage time. The Lions went on the attack, but weren't able to properly test Turizo. Jamie Watson sailed a shot with only minutes left in play as the visitors dug in to earn their second point of the season.

    Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath was disappointed with the way his side had performed.

    “When we work hard, move the ball quickly, don’t play sloppy, we can win games," Heath said. "That wasn’t us for the most of the game. We can play better. It was disappointing because we had a great fan turnout again tonight.”

    As for Miranda's actions late in the game that led to his ejection, Heath said, “It was quite surreal. I have never seen that many players going down on the field and fake injuries, try to kill the clock, et cetera. If that is what football is becoming, I don’t want to be a part of it. Some of the play today was unacceptable.”

    City’s next game will be against F.C. New York at Belson Stadium next Saturday at 7 p.m. City defeated New York in their first meeting this season, taking a 3-0 victory at the Citrus Bowl two weeks ago.

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  • 04/23/11--19:15: LA Strikers Add Local Talent
  • LA Strikers News Release -

    Saturday, April 23, 2011

    PASADENA, Calif. – The LA Strikers continue to build an impressive roster with several exciting players from the Los Angeles area. The recent signings include Eva Dixon, Nancy Avesyan, Danny Cardenas, Frances Boukidis, Shannon Suarez, Amanda Rose Johnson, and Erin Frushon.

    Debby von Winckelmann photoLA Strikers head coach Reggie Rivas likes the way the team is coming together.

    “We’re looking forward to putting a good team out there and being competitive against established organizations,” Rivas said. “In this league, you need more than one or two good players – you need a team, and we are a team of good players.”

    Dixon, a forward/midfielder, returns to Pasadena after an impressive career at Cornell University where she was named MVP in 2008 and was welcomed to the exclusive Cornell Red Key Athlete Honor Society for her high standards of academic excellence, an outstanding athletic performance and community outreach. Dixon received All-Ivy League honors in three of her four seasons playing for Cornell. A product of South Pasadena High School, where she was the school’s athlete of the year four times, Dixon took on the role of assistant coach of the girl’s varsity soccer team and head coach of the junior varsity team last fall. She was also the assistant coach of the Pasadena City College women’s soccer team.

    Avesyan, a Los Angeles native, currently residing in La Cresenta, played professionally in Rome, Italy last summer for the Lazio Femminile. She played in the W-League for the Ventura County Fusion in 2009, after playing midfield for Cal State Northridge during 2008. She started all 19 games during her freshman season at Northridge and led the offense with five goals and four assists.

    “I'm extremely excited to get on the field and represent the Strikers,” Avesyan said. “We’ve got a great coach, Reggie Rivas, whom I've played with for many years in the past. I love the staff and know we’re going to have a great season and a lot of fans to support us.”

    Cardenas is a freshman midfielder at Long Island University. Cardenas is from Glendale and played at Cresenta Valley High School, where she earned First Team honors in 2009 and was a member of the squad that won the Pacific league titles in 2007 and 2009. In 2008, Cardenas was named Defensive Most Valuable Player. She was a member of the Cal South ODP State Team, winning the ODP Region IV title in 2006, and played on four Surf Cup championship teams, as well as the 2008 National Cup and regional finalists.

    Boukidis, a La Cresenta native, is a freshman forward/midfielder at Northern Illinois University, where she played in all 19 matches this past season, scoring the game-winning goals in two of those games. In her senior year at Cresenta Valley High School, Boukidis was named the Pacific League Most Valuable Player after leading the league with 11 goals and 12 assists.

    Suarez is a forward from Saugus, currently playing at Long Beach State University. Suarez played at Saugus High School where she was a member of the 2009 CIF championship team and the 2008 Foothill Champions. Suarez received first team all-CIF and all league honors in 2009.

    Johnson is from Montrose and just finished her freshman season art NMHU where she is a goalkeeper. She played in all 19 games, starting in 17. She has a goals against average of 1.25, recorded 79 saves and three shutouts. Johnson has a .806 save average.

    Frushon is a goalkeeper at Biola University where she started in all 17 games last season, posting five clean sheets and recording 80 saves for a .825 save percentage and a .93 goals against average. Frushon was named to the 2010 All-GSAC team, in addition to being named GSAC Defensive Player of the Week and NAIA Player of the Week during the season. Frushon played for the Santa Clarita Blue Heat last season, where she recorded 60 saves.

    “I hope to show the community what good, smart, skilled soccer looks like,” Frushon said. “I hope that our team makes a big name for ourselves and that we can be an active part in the Pasadena community as we show people how we play this beautiful game. We are all in to win it!”

    Season tickets are now on sale at

    For more information on the LA Strikers FC, you can visit the team’s website at and follow the team on Facebook and Twitter.

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    Vancouver Whitecaps FC News Release -

    Saturday, April 23, 2011

    VANCOUVER, B.C. - Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced today the return of midfielder Ranee Premj, as well as strikers Julie Armstrong and Jenna Richardson. Whitecaps FC also announced the acquisition of midfielder Amber Brooks – pending United States Soccer Federation approval.

    “We’re very excited to have these young players on our squad this year,” said Hubert Busby Jr., Whitecaps FC women’s team head coach. “Having these players come through the Whitecaps FC Prospects team is a testament to the program. Ranee, Julie and Jenna have all worked hard to get to this point and continue to improve. Amber brings a winning mentality and will fit in seamlessly within our group.”

    Premji, 19, returns for her second season with the Whitecaps FC W-League side after graduating from the Whitecaps FC Prospects program. Last season, Premji started three of her five W-League appearances for a total of 289 minutes of action. For the past two years, the native of Calgary, Alberta, has also played National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I soccer at the University of North Carolina having helped the Tar Heels win their 20th NCAA national championship during her freshman season. Last season, the 5-foot-2 midfielder made 24 appearances, scored one goal and added three assists. During her two NCAA seasons, Premji has started 23 of her 38 appearances for nine career points. Internationally, Premji has been called up to the Canadian U-17 and U-20 national team squads.

    Armstrong, 21, returns for her fourth season with Whitecaps FC after starting five of her seven W-League appearances last season for a total of 379 total minutes of action while recording one assist. A graduate of the Whitecaps FC Prospects program, Armstrong has started 13 of her 19 appearances in her W-League career, scoring two goals and one assist. For the past two years, the 5-foot-10 midfielder/forward has also played NCAA Division I soccer at the University of Oregon, starting 19 of her 34 appearances, scoring three goals and recording seven assists for a total 13 points. Internationally, Armstrong started eight of her 13 appearances for the Canadian U-20 women’s national team, while scoring two goals. For the senior Canadian women’s national team, she has started five of her six appearances and added one goal.

    Richardson, 18, also returns for her second season with Whitecaps FC in the W-League after graduating from the Whitecaps FC Prospects program. This past year, Richardson played her first season of NCAA Division I soccer at Oregon State University, starting 11 of her 19 appearances. The native of White Rock, BC, finished second on the team with nine goals and five assists, while tying for the team lead with four game-winning goals and 23 total points. Internationally, the 5-foot-7 midfielder has four caps and one goal for the Canadian U-20 women’s national team.

    Brooks, 20, has teamed up with Premji at the University of North Carolina for the past two seasons. Last season, the 5-foot-6 midfielder started all 24 of her appearances, scoring seven goals and recording two assists for a total of 16 points. In her freshman season in 2009, the native of New Hope, Pennsylvania, started 15 of her 27 appearances, recording three assists as the Tar Heels won the NCAA championship. In 2007, Brooks played in the W-League for New Jersey Wildcats, starting one of her five appearances for 138 total minutes of action. Internationally, Brooks has played for the United States U-17 and U-20 national teams. In 2008, she played every minute of her five appearances in her country’s silver medal performance at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, wearing the captain’s armband for two matches, including the final against North Korea. Brooks also started all four matches in the 2010 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.

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    Antigua Barracuda News Release --

    Saturday, April 22, 2011

    ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – A relieved Antigua Barracuda FC team recorded its first victory in USL PRO in front of a jubilant home crowd at the Sticky Wicket Stadium on Saturday night, defeating Sevilla FC Puerto Rico 3-2.

    Strikes by debutant Stefan Smith in the 19th and 21st minutes gave the ‘Cudas the lead going into halftime after a goalkeeping error by the Barracuda FC custodian resulted in Sevilla FC taking an unexpected lead in the 15th minute through Eli Gordley.

    A second-half strike by substitute Gayson Gregory in the 84th minute seemingly put the tie beyond doubt, but not before another substitute provided some unwanted discomfort for the Barracuda FC as Sevilla’s Alain Gustave pounced on a loose ball in the 88th minute to reduce his side’s deficit to one.

    The game started with the home team making two important changes to its lineup. Starting for the first time was the 19-year-old Smith alongside Peter Byers as the two strikers up front. St. Kitts International Orlando Mitchum, after an impressive cameo against the same opposition two nights ago, was given the opportunity to start in preference to Gayson Gregory.

    Those changes proved to be inspired as both players proved to provide tremendous impact on the overall play of the team.

    No-one could have envisioned, though, the error that Molvin James was about to unravel on the team and the fans. A simple back pass that required clearing downfield was dramatically turned into a lesson in what not to do as the last line of defence. It resulted in an embarrassing moment for the player as the crowd let him know exactly how they felt.

    But Antigua’s response was swift and decisive. The pace, power and combination of Byers and Smith was too much for the Sevilla FC defence and in quick succession succumbed to first a looping header from Smith quickly followed by a strike from 12 yards out. Finally the Barracuda was living up to the fight expected of it.

    The second half saw Sevilla demonstrating more desire in search of an equalizer. Play did settle down with a number of chances going to the home team. It was Byers’ ability to hold off and run past defenders with decisive twists and turns that led to the winner, eventually scored by Gregory, whose timely arrival perhaps saved Byers some blushes, as he forced the ball into the back of the net.

    Sevilla FC has shown throughout their ability to score out of nothing and a poor pass, the first indiscretion of note by the Barracuda FC defence resulted in the Sevilla response.

    Despite the late lapse, Antigua coach Tom Curtis was quite pleased with the victory.

    “We deserved it,” Curtis said. “The players really worked hard and I am so proud of their efforts.”

    Sevilla captain Erik Hort was disappointed not to take something away from the second game between the two teams in three days, but was focused on his side’s next opponent.

    “It’s tough playing these consecutive games,” Hort said, “we are a tired bunch but we go home to face PR United, we will be ready for that.”

    Antigua Barracuda FC now faces a three-game road trip with their confidence high to take on tough opposition in Puerto Rico and Los Angeles.

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