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News from USL

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    Sounders FC U-23 News Release --

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

    TACOMA, Wash. – Owners, Lane Smith and Cliff McElroy announced today the promotion and restructure of club personnel including Jon Billings as the Executive Director of Sounders Women and Sounders FC U-23. Billings is responsible for financial and business operations, sales and marketing, sponsorship, and administration of the Seattle Sounders Women and Sounders FC U-23.

    Billings serves as a Sounders Women and U-23 representative on all USL matters and USL Annual General Meetings in Tampa, Florida. He will also continue as the club’s Director of Communications and Play by Play Broadcaster for radio and video.

    “The two franchises, Sounders Women and Sounders U-23 have made fantastic strides last season and throughout this offseason,” Billings said. “I’m pleased to help continue the clubs’ growth and connect to our community partners.”

    Lane Smith said, “Having two USL Soccer franchises associated with Sounders FC requires a strong management structure. Organizing Jon’s role to tie in with both clubs will expand outreach and drive greater visibility for both clubs in the community. Jon has great passion for our organization and is invaluable to our ownership and staff.”

    Billings has been with the organization in different forms since 2006. Last season he played an integral role in earning the PDL Progress Award, W-League Marketing Award, and the W-League Organization of the Year.

    Smith added, “Jon has done a fantastic Job working with both clubs for sponsorships, community partnerships, communications, and business operations.”

    Technical operations for the teams, including player recruitment, coaching, and soccer management, will be managed in part by each team’s coaches and Technical Directors.

    Jon is a graduate of Gonzaga University. While at GU, he played soccer and basketball. Following school and a short stint in professional basketball in Europe, Billings began a career in sports broadcast and administration.

    Billings has managed various roles for the Seattle Sounders Women & Sounders U-23 (Tacoma Tide), including Director of Communications, since 2006. In addition to team roles, Jon free-lance broadcasts for TV and Radio. He announces on Fox Soccer Channel as well as locally on various networks. Jon also calls various matches for the Sounders FC on

    Lane Smith: Owner & CEO
    Cliff McElroy: Owner
    Mike Jennings: Owner
    Jon Billings: Executive Director
    Lesle Gallimore: Technical Director
    Teddy Mitalas: Director of Community Relations
    Corey Sinser: Dir. Game Day Ops. & Group Ticket Sales
    Rohan Sehgal: Administrative Assistant
    Luke Absher: Business Operations Assistant
    Jane Gershovich: Photographer

    Lane Smith: Owner & CEO
    Cliff McElroy: Owner
    Mike Jennings: Owner & Technical Director
    Jon Billings: Executive Director
    Darren Sawatzky: Head Coach & General Manager
    Chris Coulter: Photographer & Communications Ast.
    Danny Dodd: Communications Assistant
    Lance Larson: Director of Security
    J.R. Voshel: Game Day Operations
    Rohan Sehgal: Administrative Assistant
    Luke Absher: Business Operations Assistant 

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    Orlando City News Release --

    Friday, February 8, 2013

    ORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando City kicks off the 2013 Disney Pro Soccer Classic (PSC) against Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union at the Wide World of Sports Complex on Saturday evening at 6 p.m. The Lions will look to make a statement against clubs who play at the highest level of the American soccer pyramid.

    “It’s a chance to show everyone [at the MLS level] that we can compete,” said Orlando City Head Coach Adrian Heath. “Our boys have been training hard and we go in the tournament expecting results.”

    The tournament will be broken into two separate groups, with Orlando competing against the Union on Saturday night, Toronto FC on February 13th and Columbus Crew on February 16th. A final match will be played on the Disney Pro Soccer Classic Championship Day on February 23rd, with the opponent either Sporting Kansas City, D.C. United, the Montreal Impact or the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

    The Union and Lions have met twice previously, with Orlando yet to fall to the MLS side. The first match against Philadelphia was Orlando’s first-ever back in February of 2011, with the Lions winning that match-up 1-0. City overcame an early deficit in the second meeting a year later, with the game ending in a 1-1 draw.

    Orlando will be retaining a core of the 2012 regular season championship squad heading into the Disney tournament, including Goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo, leading scorer Dennis Chin and Defender Rob Valentino. The Lions will also be fielding four to five trialists brought on by Heath and Assistant Head Coach Ian Fuller.

    Philadelphia comes into the Pro Soccer Classic with a retooled coaching staff and roster. Union Head Coach John Hackworth is a Florida native, graduating from Dunedin High while moving to play collegiately at Brevard College and Wake Forest University. Hackworth served as an assistant to former coach Peter Nowak before being promoted to head coach officially on August 30.

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  • 02/08/13--11:54: Fire's Berry Aiming To Build
  • PDL Feature

    Friday, February 8, 2013

    BRADENTON, Fla. – As he prepared to make his debut in Major League Soccer, on the road against Chivas USA on national television, the Chicago Fire’s Austin Berry felt a sense of calm.

    “I felt like I was ready,” Berry said recently. “I got a little injury in preseason, and that set me back a little bit, but it gave me some more time to sit back and watch and become acclimated. Just to be able to watch the guys in front of me like Arne [Friedrich] and Jalil [Anibaba] and Cory [Gibbs] especially, and by the time my name was called I was more eager rather than nervous, I was ready to be out there.”

    Stepping into the center of a defense to replace the suspended Anibaba, Berry’s MLS career didn’t get off to the most auspicious start as he brought down Alejandro Moreno for a penalty that was converted by Juan Pablo Angel. Just two minutes later, though, Berry himself brought the Fire level, heading home a cross by Sebastián Grazzini for his first goal as a member of the Fire’s first team.

    “It was nice,” Berry recalled. “On the day I was just really energetic and Seba played me a great ball. It just helped me settle into the game and kind of helped settle me into the team.”

    The goal kick-started what turned into a memorable season for Berry, who finished the year having become a fixture at the center of the Fire’s defense while claiming MLS Rookie of the Year honors.

    The goal wasn’t, however, Berry’s first for the Fire organization. Two years earlier, as a member of the club’s PDL team, Berry had found the back of the net as he spent the summer with the organization to help continue his development and progression toward the professional ranks. Appearing in all 16 games in the regular season, Berry was able to get a feel for the club, and allow the club’s first team management to get the chance to see him practice and play regularly throughout the summer.

    “You know, it helps, because it’s real hard for them to see college games,” Berry said. “That way I was playing in front of them, one of the guys that got to play in front of them, so they got to see me on a daily basis, because we practiced next to the first team, so Frank [Klopas] and Mike [Matkovich] and a lot of the guys had already had a good look at me and they knew what they would be in for.”

    That said, when he arrived at the 2012 MLS SuperDraft, Berry and many of the potential selections were in the dark as to where their professional futures lay. After a good meeting with the Fire at the MLS Combine, though, Berry had a feeling that when he was available when the Fire’s selection came, he would be headed back to Chicago.

    “I wasn’t surprised when [the Fire] called my name, and I thought it was a good fit from the meeting,” Berry said. “I was excited.”

    Berry was one of a record 11 former Fire PDL players selected that day, with his former teammate Ethan Finlay making 15 appearances for the Columbus Crew and fellow Fire PDL alum Tommy Meyer helping the Los Angeles Galaxy win a second consecutive MLS Cup, starting in the final. Berry still stays in touch with some of his former PDL teammates as they face one another throughout the season.

    “When we play against each other, I’ll stay around and say hi to the guys that I’ve gotten to know,” Berry said, “and some of the guys I’ve gotten to know a little bit better because of PDL, so those are some of the main guys I’ve been in touch with in the league.”

    Berry also shares ties, and friendships, with his former teammates from the University of Louisville, which now has a growing contingent of players in the league. In addition to Berry, the Cardinals saw Nick DeLeon, Colin Rolfe and Kenney Walker selected in the 2012 SuperDraft, and they were joined this year by No. 1 overall selection Andrew Farrell and Greg Cochrane, both of whom also previously played in the PDL.

    “I think they’re both ready,” Berry said. “Ken [Lolla] does a great job in preparing guys for the next level, and we’ve been in contact with them. I’ve known Andrew, I’ve talked to Andrew a lot, and I’ve talked to Greg, I know Andrew’s talked to Nick [DeLeon] and Colin [Rolfe] and guys in the league, so they’ve got a different perspective from each of us and we’re able to give them a little bit of a lead into it, but I think they’re both great personalities, great characters, and I think they’ll both be fine.”

    As for Berry, this preseason he’s remained rooted in the principles that got him to this point, building off a trip to Spain that saw he and Anibaba train with Atletico Madrid as he continues to improve technically. In addition, Berry is also trying to add new facets as he looks to take on more responsibility in his second season.

    “I think the one big difference this year is to be a bigger leader on the back line, to be more communicative, to be more assertive in my leadership,” he said. “Not being a rookie anymore, I think there’s a little more that’s expected out of me, so I have to take that into account.”

    After helping the Fire reach the Eastern Conference playoffs a season ago, Berry remains focused on moving forward personally, and helping the Fire claim their second MLS championship.

    “I don’t want to get comfortable, I don’t want to get complacent,” Berry said. “I’ve got to work hard and win my position every day and do the best I can in the games, and like I said just keeping working on my little things and improve on the things I need to do and be a good teammate.” 

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    Orlando City News Release --

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

    KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Second-half goals by Ovideo-native Dennis Chin and Philadelphia’s Leo Fernandes proved to be the only two scores of the match between Orlando City and Philadelphia Union at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee Fla., with the game ending in a 1-1 draw. The Lions remain unbeaten against the MLS side in their three meetings, and earned Orlando one point in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic's Group A standings.

    “I thought it was a good showing for our boys,” said Orlando City Head Coach Adrian Heath. “We kept up and showed that we can really play.”

    The Lions started on the offensive in the first half, with the new forward duo of Long Tan and 2012 USL PRO leading scorer Chin setting a rapid pace of attack that hinted at a new scoring tandem in 2013. With Tan continually pressing, a near chance occurred from attacking midfielder Jamie Watson, who nearly connected with streaking Chin in the seventh minute. The strike went just wide of the left post, but set the tone early on.

    Philadelphia’s first chance came in the 22nd minute. After a Union attacker was pulled down outside the 18-yard box by Freddie Braun, Philadelphia’s Michael Farfan attempted a free kick just outside box. His low-roller was saved by goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo, keeping the game scoreless.

    The second half began with a scare, with Philadelphia midfielder Danny Cruz’s shot deflecting straight across the goal line, only for a diving Gallardo to save the shot.

    Orlando continued to press throughout the second half, with the Lions' pressure finally paying off in the 54th minute. After a mis-communication by the Union backline, Dennis Chin slotted home a shot a tight angle on the right side, giving City a 1-0 advantage.

    The lead for City lasted for 20 minutes before former Reading United midfielder Fernandes evened the match. The supplemental draft pick from Stony Brook snuck a shot by Gallardo in the 75th minute after a friendly deflection went the Union’s way, giving control back to the MLS side.

    The match was also good chance for the Lions to get a good look at their trialists, with three starting the match for City (Freddie Bruan, Brian Fekete and Kemaar Dailey). Heath said that the Disney Pro Soccer will continue to be a great evaluator for players on the preseason roster.

    “They gave us a lot of confidence tonight,” said Heath of the trialists. “I thought all of them played well and I was impressed with their performance."

    Orlando City continues group play at the Pro Soccer Classic on Wednesday night against Toronto FC. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. The Lions are 1-0-1 (W-L-T) all-time against the Reds, including a 2-2 draw last season in the Pro Soccer Classic. City led 2-1 in the 60th minute before Toronto equalized on a late goal by Torsten Frings. For ticket information on the match, please visit

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    Texas Dutch Lions News Release --

    Tuesday, February 12, 2013

    THE WOODLANDS, Texas -- The Texas Dutch Lions FC are very proud to announce the signing of former professional soccer player and coach Hans van Arum, who has signed a one-year deal to become the new Head Coach for the Dutch Lions FC PDL team.

    "We as the Texas Dutch Lions FC are very proud that we have signed a well respected Dutch coach as Hans van Arum," club President Martin Kroeze said. "Hans van Arum is an excellent coach who can present the Dutch philosophy of soccer with our PDL team. Again, we are very pleased with signing van Arum as our new Head Coach. We want to wish him good luck with the PDL team." 

    The 46-year-old van Arum played as a professional for Dutch Eredivisie teams such as Vitesse Arnhem, Willem II, RKC Waalwijk and Go Ahead Eagles. As a striker, van Arum played in 352 games professionally while scoring 90 goals in a career to be proud of.

    As a coach, van Arum was the recipient of the Dutch Third Division’s Coach of the Year award in 2008 as he led Dutch third-tier club Sparta Nijkerk. After the 2008 season, van Arum became the coach of the reserve team of the club where he started his career; Vitesse Arhnem.

    Van Arum earned his first professional head coaching position in 2011 as he took over at Eerste Division side AGOVV. Following the season, van Arum made the move onto the staff of Eredivisie side Willem II. He now makes the move for his first position outside his home country of the Netherlands.

    "This is an honor to sign as the Head Coach for the Houston Dutch Lions FC," van Arum said. "I am very proud to lead the PDL team through the season. Last Saturday I visited the annual Tryouts and we are very pleased with the signing of five players. In the upcoming weeks I will be busy with selecting the open spots on the PDL team. The Dutch Lions FC is a very ambitious club with a new owner Martin Kroeze, and a great staff working with him, I am very pleased to be part of this project."

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    Charlotte Eagles News Release --

    Tuesday, February 12, 2013

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Charlotte Eagles are excited to announce that Nike has agreed to become the official 2013 uniform supplier for both the Eagles' USL PRO and W-League teams. The global retail giant announced in December that it had taken over the USL contract from Umbro and is looking forward to the future of American soccer. Nike is a brand that is recognized throughout the world and the Eagles are proud to be among the list of worldwide clubs wearing the swoosh.

    "The whole Eagles organization is extremely proud to be able to partner with Nike for the 2013 season," says Lady Eagles GM Jeremy Auyer. "This is just one of many thrilling announcements that fans and friends of the Eagles have to look forward to for the coming season. Nike is the biggest and most recognizable brands on the planet; to partner with them is very exciting."

    The Eagles are proud of their 20-year legacy of soccer in the United States. They are looking forward to building a relationship with Nike and are excited about growing together in the future.

    NIKE, Inc. is the world's leading innovator in athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories.

    There is plenty of optimism in the Eagles organization as the teams are looking to soar in the 2013 season, for 2013 Season Tickets info CLICK HERE.

    Keep that Orange Flag Flying High and we'll see you in April. 

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    Phoenix FC News Release --

    Monday, February 11, 2013

    PHOENIX --  Phoenix FC is proud to announce that it has signed seven new professional soccer players who will join the club's roster and will immediately report to the opening of pre-season training camp in Tempe. The newly signed players, pending USSF approval, are goalkeepers Andrew Weber and Sheldon Parkinson, defender Elliot Weber, midfielder Joshua Bento do O and forwards Donny Toia, Anthony Tokpah and Mason Robertson.

    "This is a great mix of experienced players and promising talent, and we are thrilled to have them all at training camp," said Managing Director Rui Filipe Bento. "Players such as Andrew Weber and Donny Toia bring a wealth of professional experience, and Elliot Weber and Sheldon Parkinson add to our depth with promising collegiate numbers."

    Andrew Weber played college soccer at the University of New Mexico, and played club soccer for the Tempe (Ariz.) Pros. He also played with the Cape Cod Crusaders and the Indiana Invaders in the USL Premier Development League, and he was part of the Crusaders side which won the 2003 PDL title. 

    Weber began his professional career with Major League Soccer’s D.C. United, signing as a developmental player on June 3, 2005. Weber took part in three match-ups with United's reserve team, subsequently joining Montreal Impact of the USL First Division in April 2006. He went on to make 29 appearances for the Quebecois team over the next two years.

    Weber signed with MLS’s San Jose Earthquakes on February 11, 2009 and made his league debut on September 27, 2009 in a 2-1 win against D.C. United. He was released by the team on June 29, 2010, but re-signed with San Jose on March 7, 2011. At  season's end, he entered the 2011 MLS Re-Entry Draft, ultimately becoming a free agent. He signed with Seattle Sounders FC for the 2012 season.

    Weber is joined by his twin brother Elliot, who makes the step up to the professional ranks with the Wolves. The Arizona local grew up in Tempe and earned a soccer scholarship while playing for Mesa Mountain View High School. Weber played for Yavapai college in 2002, and for Phoenix College in 2010. Additionally, the Weber brothers were contestants on the 20th season of CBS's The Amazing Race. 
    They ended up in 9th place out of 11 teams and were the third team eliminated in The Amazing Race 20 at Asuncion, Paraguay.

    Toia, a Tucson, Ariz. native, most recently played for FC Tucson in the PDL, where he led the side with five goals a season ago. Prior to that, Toia with Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake. Toia was signed as the first Home Grown player in Real Salt Lake history on March 14, 2011. He was a part of the RSL U-18 side that represented MLS at the JRS World Cup-Comunidad de Madrid (U-18 Club World Cup) competition in Madrid in May 2009 and the U-17 side that finished undefeated and in third place at the 2009 SUM Cup.

    "I am excited to have such experienced players to provide leadership and a backbone to the team," Head Coach David Robertson said. "I am also very optimistic about the young local players who showed us great promise throughout the tryout process. We will field a team that will compete for a championship this season."

    These new additions join signed players Forward Darren Mackie, Midfielder Diego Faria, Defender Devon Grousis, Forward Aaron King, Midfielder Reid Schmitt, Defender Brad Keller, Defender Renan Felipe Boufleur, Midfielder Netinho, Defender Cyprian Hedrick, Defender Scott Morrison, Midfielder Anthony Obodai, Defender Brian Holmes, Midfielder Jimmy Lara, Midfielder Thomas Ramos, Defender Jose Ramos, and Goalkeeper Humberto Soriano.

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    FC Tucson News Release --

    Monday, February 11, 2013

    TUCSON, Ariz. — FC Tucson announced today that Seattle Sounders FC will play Mexico’s Veracruz in a preseason friendly on Friday, February 22. The match will kick off at 7 p.m. and be held at Kino North Field 5.

    “We’re excited about our first foray into Mexican professional soccer because we understand the passion for Mexican futbol in Southern Arizona is massive and this is very important to us,” said FC Tucson co-managing member Greg Foster. “Fans will get to see one of MLS’s best clubs prepare for the CONCACAF Champions League against a challenging Mexican side in Veracruz.”

    Club Deportivo Tiburones Rojos de Veracruz, also known as Tiburones Rojos de Veracruz, is a Mexican professional soccer club that currently plays in Ascenso MX, Mexico’s second division. Their nickname in English is “Red Sharks” and the club has won a total of three league titles and one Mexican Cup title. Veracruz is currently second in Ascenso MX.

    “This is good preparation for our match against Tigres,” said Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid. “It’s important to play another team from Mexico and we are very thankful that Veracruz is able to do so. It’s a good opportunity for our team to play against that style of play because it is different than what we face in MLS.”

    Tickets are on sale now and will be $15. To buy tickets, head to 

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  • 02/12/13--14:24: Kickers Sign Local Product
  • Richmond Kickers News Release --

    Tuesday, February 12, 2013

    RICHMOND, Va. – The Richmond Kickers are pleased to announce the first signing of the 2013 season, having agreed to terms with local homegrown talent, Joseph Haboush, pending USSF approval.

    “Signing Joseph was an easy decision for our staff as he impressed on several levels,” said Leigh Cowlishaw, Richmond Kickers Director of Soccer. “From his time with VCU we have always admired his confidence and composure on the ball. We believe his soccer attributes will fit our style of play perfectly.

    “In addition, we were blown away by Joseph's enthusiasm and desire to represent his local professional team.  Joseph's signing is another significant step in the evolution of professional player development in the City of Richmond and we are delighted to have him part of our squad.”

    A native of Richmond, Va., Haboush signs with the Kickers after a standout collegiate career at Virginia Commonwealth University where he made 56 appearances and recorded three goals and 10 assists. A First-Team All-Metro player at Benedictine High School, he spent two seasons with the Richmond Strikers U16 Elite and U18 Academy teams.

    Don't miss a minute of exciting Kickers Pro action as they kick off their 21st season on Saturday, April 6. Richmond Kickers season passes offer unbeatable value, VIP benefits and incredibly low prices to all regular season home games. Guaranteed to see at least 14 USL PRO games for the best possible pricing, Kickers games are a fantastic way to get together with friends, family and colleagues for an unforgettable entertainment experience - order now!

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    SW Florida Adrenaline News Release --

    Tuesday, February 12, 2013

    NAPLES, Fla. – The SW Florida Adrenaline's head coach Mick Whitewood has confirmed the signing of nine players for the club's inaugural season in the PDL. Among those set to play for the Adrenaline this summer are Derrick Hackett, Heitor Pinotti, Seamus Sharkey, David Butzke, Pablo Acosta and David Antunez, all of whom played for the side in its 2012 exhibition season.

    Hackett returns to the Adrenaline after starting every game as the Adrenaline's goalkeeper in 2012. Hackett played all four years at Florida Tech, where he made 34 appearances. Hackett graduated from Evangelical Christian School in Fort Myers, Fla., and most recently attended the USL PRO Combine at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

    A two-time All-America selection, Sharkey returns to the Adrenaline after a standout season as the captain of Monroe CC that saw him score eight goals and record four assists. Sharkey's teammate at MCC, Gianluca Cuomo, also joins the Adrenaline after starting 18 of 20 games, scoring two goals and adding 11 assists.

    A forward, Antunez returns to the Adrenaline after playing during their exhibition season where he scored seven goals in three games. Antunez played at Labelle High School in Labelle, Fla., where he led the state with 34 goals and 14 assists in the 2011-2012 season.

    Acosta returns to the Adrenaline after a broken jaw forced him to sit out the remainder of the exhibition season, while playing against the Panama City Beach Pirates. While at Cape Coral High School, Cape Coral, FL. Acosta helped his team win a State Championship.

    A midfielder, Pinotti returns to the Adrenaline for the 2013 season. Pinotti has played for Aye United Reserves in Scotland and Jabaquara’s Brazil reserve squad. Pinotti is a graduate of Ft. Myers High School.

    Also joining the Adrenaline are midfielders Lewis Hilton, who started all 20 games for Youngs Harris College his freshman year, scoring six goals and adding eight assists, and Francesco Distefano, who played four years at Florida Gulf Coast, winning an Atlantic Sun Conference Championship.

    The SW Florida Adrenaline season runs from the beginning of May through mid-August. The final round of tryouts will held Feb. 16th and 17th. Visit the team’s website for further information.

    To purchase tickets visit or call the SW Florida Adrenaline office at (239) 218-5673.

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    Dayton Dutch Lions FC News Release -

    Tuesday, February 12, 2013

    DAYTON, Ohio - Dayton Dutch Lions FC is happy to announce the signings of Brooke McCurdy and Juliana Libertin for the 2013 W-League season.

    A goalkeeper from Wright State University, McCurdy is coming off a great college season in which she ranked third in the Horizon League in goals-against average at 0.65, first in saves with 104 and tied for second in shutouts with eight. In regular-season league matches, McCurdy had a 0.63 goals-against average with 40 saves and three shutouts. She was named Second Team All-Horizon League in 2012 and was also selected to the All-Tournament Team. McCurdy was a member of the Dayton Dutch Lions before, representing the team in their inaugural W-League season in 2011.

    Libertin, a forward from the University of Dayton and an Ohio local, also had a strong 2012 season. She played in all 20 games of the season, recording career highs of 12 goals, 11 assists and 35 points. Libertin earned First Team NSCAA All-Mid-Atlantic Region honors and First Team All-Atlantic 10 honors, and was a Top Drawer Soccer National Team of the Week selection and College Sports Madness’s National Player of the Week and Conference Player of the Week. The 2013 W-League season will be her first with the Dutch Lions.

    “I am extremely happy with the commitment of these two players to our program; both are talented and dedicated soccer players, committed to a good W-League season and ready to help the club play for a spot in the playoffs,” Head Coach Sid van Druenen said. "I saw Brooke and Juliana play during the college season and I immediately knew that they were the kind of players that we want playing for us and I am looking forward to work with them.”

    The Dutch Lions women’s Super-20 League and W-League teams are looking for a additional players to join the 2013 squads. Open tryouts will be held on February 17 at the Miami Valley School from 12:30-5 p.m. Registration is still open and more signings will be announced soon.

    For more information about the program, tryouts, game schedules or tickets visit the Dutch Lions website at or contact head coach and program director, Sid van Druenen, directly at (937) 219-5747 or at

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    USL PRO Feature

    Tuesday, February 12, 2013

    LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Since the start of the 2011 MLS season, Sheanon Williams has established himself as a key component at the heart of the Philadelphia Union’s defense.

    Where Williams is now is a long way from where he was just a year earlier, though. Early in 2010, the young defender, still looking to sign his first professional contract, was getting ready to try out for the Harrisburg City Islanders.

    Only it wasn’t for a defensive role.

    “They asked me to come out for a tryout,” Williams said recently. “I came in as a defender, and they said, ‘well, we really need a forward,’ so I said, ‘OK, I’ll play forward’, and that’s how it went.”

    From the moment that he turned professional with the City Islanders, however, it’s been nothing but upward movement for the former U.S. U20 international. Recently signed to a new contract that will keep him with the Union through the 2015 MLS season, the 22-year-old made 28 starts a year ago for Philadelphia, continuing to fulfill the promise many saw in him as a young prospect.

    A member of the U.S. U17 Men’s National Team, who competed at the 2007 U17 World Cup, Williams went to the University of North Carolina, and then after one season to Europe to pursue his professional dreams. When a contract failed to materialize after trials at VFB Wolfsburg in Germany and FC Twente in the Netherlands, however, Williams returned back to North Carolina to try and get his young career on track.

    “I had a great support system,” Williams said. “My family, my friends, everybody told not to quit. There were some times when I wanted to hang it up, and they didn’t let me, so I thank them for all that they did for me at times when it didn’t look so bright.”

    Williams signed with the Carolina Dynamo for the 2009 PDL season, and excelled. Playing on a side that also included future professionals Zach Loyd, Corben Bone, Cody Arnoux, Brock Duckworth, Chris Estridge and the late Kirk Urso, Williams earned All-Eastern Conference honors after scoring six goals and adding four assists in 12 games, helping the Dynamo reach the playoffs.

    From there, he arrived in Harrisburg, eager to make a difference no matter where he was on the field. If the City Islanders needed a forward, a forward he would be

    “At the time it was play forward, or play nothing,” he said. “I’ll play wherever anybody needs me to play, as long as it means that I’m on the field.”

    Williams quickly earned fans in the stands on City Island, missing just one game that season as he claimed the club’s Rookie of the Year award. In addition to strong play in the league, Williams also put in solid work as the City Islanders reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup, defeating the New York Red Bulls before falling to D.C. United.

    Getting the chance to not only play, but go up against top-tier opposition, gave Williams the chance to get back on the radar of MLS clubs, particularly the Union. Following the season Philadelphia first brought Williams in on trial before signing him to a contract. After making eight appearances at the tail-end of Philadelphia’s first season in MLS, he has continued to grow while being joined by others from Harrisburg, such as Chase Harrison, at PPL Park.

    With the Union’s ties to the City Islanders’ now being closer than ever thanks to the ground-breaking partnership agreement struck by MLS and USL PRO this offseason, Williams believes more players will be able to benefit from what was already a fruitful agreement between the two clubs.

    “From my own experience, it was extremely valuable,” he said. “If you’re not playing in the first team, that’s what you want. You want to get games, you want to get minutes, you want to get experience, so to be able to go down and do that, and for us to have a partnership with them has really been good.”

    Williams had the chance to return to Harrisburg in 2011, playing against some of his former teammates in an exhibition game that has been an annual event for the past three seasons. He remains friends with a number of players at the club, and talks warmly of City Islanders coach Bill Becher and the fans who have continued to follow his career since he signed with the Union.

    Most of all, however, it appears there is a sense of appreciation for how far he has come in the past three years.

    “It’s been crazy to think that three years ago I was with Harrisburg, and I finally got an opportunity here and I haven’t really looked back,” Williams said. “I thank Harrisburg for the opportunity they gave me, and I used it as a springboard to try and get on the Union, and it’s worked out.” 

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    Orlando City News Release --

    Tuesday, February 12, 2013

    ORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando City SC continues group play in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. against Toronto FC. Just three days later on Saturday night at 6 p.m., the Lions take on the Columbus Crew. Orlando will try to maintain the momentum the side earned after a 1-1 draw against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night on the opening day of the preseason tournament.

    First up for Orlando is Toronto FC, which fell to the Crew 1-0 on Saturday afternoon. The club is led by new Head Coach Ryan Nelsen, who wants to get his team on the right track in the preseason tournament after an opening loss. Toronto is one of two clubs (Philadelphia) who have never defeated Orlando, with the Lions holding a 1-0-1 (W-L-T) advantage over the Reds in two matches played. The Toronto FC match kicks off at 8 p.m.

    Orlando then quickly shifts focus to the Columbus Crew, facing the MLS side on Saturday night. The Crew took down Toronto after a lone goal in the 30th minute by newly acquired Brazillian center back Glauber gave Columbus the win and three points, putting the Crew on top of the Group A standings after the first round of matches.

    Orlando has yet to face Columbus in preseason or U.S. Open Cup action. The Crew, who opened the first-ever soccer specific stadium in the United States back in 1999, are led by coach Robert Warzycha and veteran forward Dominic Oduro. The speedy striker was recently acquired in a trade with the Chicago Fire, having scored 18 goals in 66 appearances with the Fire over the span of two seasons.

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    Rochester Rhinos News Release --

    Wednesday, February 13, 2013

    ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- The Rochester Rhinos have signed striker Matt Luzunaris for the 2013 USL PRO season pending approval from the league and the United States Soccer Federation. Luzunaris was a 2012 USL PRO All-League selection after he scored nine goals and added two assists in only 18 matches with the Orlando City Lions.

    “We were looking for a young player who had a history of scoring goals in this league as our premier signing of the 2012-13 offseason.” Rochester Rhinos head coach Jesse Myers said. “We think that we found that player in Matt, and we are looking for him to come into Rochester and score goals for us this season.”

    Luzunaris’ nine goals ranked third in USL PRO and his 20 points were the fifth-best total in the league last season. He was selected to the 2012 USL PRO All-League Second Team in recognition of his efforts, but his scoring output came in only 934 minutes.

    “Matt had a productive season despite dealing with the significant loss of a family member.” Myers said. “Matt needed a new start and we are happy to provide that opportunity.“

    Luzunaris began his career when he turned professional after one season with the University of Central Florida in 2007. He signed his first professional contract in Austria in February 2008 and played there until 2010. During his time in Austria he was loaned out to Brazilian giant Botafogo for six months where he trained with the first team, but did not play in any matches due to a visa issue.

    Luzunaris returned to the United States and signed with the San Jose Earthquakes in March 2011. He appeared in six matches with San Jose before he was loaned to Orlando City in July 2011. Luzunaris scored one goal in one appearance with Orlando City, and joined the Lions permanently when his contract with San Jose ended after the 2011 season.

    “Last year we were very happy with our work defensively, and we finished with the second-best defensive record in the league.” Myers said. “Matt is a huge off-season acquisition who we can build our attack around in the 2013 season. We have a couple of more pieces that we are going to be putting in place over the next month, and that’s before we even begin to think about our MLS allocation from New England. Things are beginning to fall into place for a strong run at the 2013 USL PRO Championship."

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    Los Angeles Blues News Release --

    Tuesday, February 12, 2013

    FULLERTON, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Blues earned a 1-1 draw against Gangwon FC from the K League Classic, the top division in the Korean Football pyramid, at Titan Stadium on Tuesday afternoon. Artur Aghasyan scored for the Blues as they rallied from a first-half deficit in their second outing of the preseason.

    It was not a walk in the park for the Blues against a side that had also scrimmaged Major League Soccer's Chivas USA in its trip to California, and Los Angeles trailed 1-0 for much of the first half. The Blues overcame the first few attacks from the Koreans but were later caught off-guard by a counter-attack that led to the opening goal that gave Gangwon FC the lead. The Blues, however, were able to keep their defense tight and their man-marking skills were magnificent as they managed to keep the Korean forwards quiet until the halftime break.

    The Blues were also very disciplined at the back and kept the score respectable. In attack, the Blues were very motivated to score and try to get back in the game, but the combination of Sergio Ortiz and Chris Cortez often failed to penetrate the Korean defense.

    Coach Jesus Rico-Sanz made changes to start the second half, but the main change that turned the game around was the introduction of Aghasyan. Right from the start, the forward who played in the U.S. Open Cup for Cal FC a year ago, terrorized the defense from the right side. There were a lot of chances that he created which could have led to an equalizer, but the Blues were able to draw level after Aghasyan made a run into the penalty area to cap a good passing move with a finish from inside the box.

    The Blues performance in the second half was improved as they controlled possession for much of the second 45 minutes. Los Angeles had opportunities to find a winner, but was unable to convert one of its late opportunities as the two teams settled for a draw.

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  • 02/14/13--08:41: Aztex Announce 11 Signings
  • Austin Aztex News Release --

    Wednesday, February 13, 2013

    AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin Aztex are proud to announce the first 11 players on the 2013 roster. Included among the returning players are team captain Zack Pope and local fan favorites Jesus “Chuy” Cortes and Kristopher Tyrpak.

    Returning from the team’s 2012 inaugural season along with Pope, Cortes and Tyrpak are: Travis Golden, Leone Cruz, Justin Franz, and Josh Mikulewicz. New additions to the squad will include Damian Rosales (SMU), Oumar Djiba (Huston Tillotson), and Westlake High twin brothers Tucker and Walker Hume (Rollins College).

    “We are pleased to be bringing back some of the most exciting players from last year,” Aztex Head Coach Paul Dalglish said. “It is a credit to the organization that the best players want to return. We found ourselves to be in a great position to recruit and find the best local players. I am sure that a lot of people in the stands will be excited to see these players on the field.”

    Pope and Tyrpak were among the three Aztex players named to the PDL All-Southern Conference Team after the 2012 season. As a defender with professional playing experience, Pope added two assists for the Aztex in 15 games played. Tyrpak led the Austin Aztex in points scored in 2012, scoring 23 points from 10 goals and three assists. Cortes returns to the Austin Aztex as the third-highest scoring player from the 2012 squad, scoring 14 points from four goals and six assists.

    Golden and Franz both play at Campbell University in North Carolina, where Golden was named to the Big South All-Conference First Team. Golden had a strong debut season for the Aztex, manning the middle of the defense in 13 games played. Franz joins the PDL team after spending most of the 2012 season playing for the club's Super-20 squad.

    Cruz joined the Aztex late into the 2012 season and bolstered the defense. Cruz brings experience to the squad, having joined the Aztex after spending time in Major League Soccer with Real Salt Lake. Mikulewicz helped the Aztex get off to a strong start in 2012 as the starting goalkeeper, allowing only two goals in four appearances.

    Making their debuts for the Aztex in 2013 are Rosales, Djiba, and the Hume brothers. All four players impressed the Aztex's coaching staff during the Aztex Invitational Camp in January and were offered a spot on the team roster.

    The Hume brothers, products from Westlake High, will add height to the team. The 19-year-old twin brothers stand 6-feet-5 tall and are dangerous aerial targets on attacking plays. Tucker, a forward, and Walker, a defender, stood out during their freshman seasons at Rollins College in Florida.

    Rosales, a midfielder from Southern Methodist University, will join the Aztex after being named to the 2012 Second Team All-Conference USA team. Djiba stood out among the local players while playing at Huston-Tillotson University, where he was named the 2012 Red River Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

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  • 02/14/13--08:31: Lions Rue Missed Chances
  • Orlando City News Release --

    Wednesday, February 13, 2013

    KISSIMMEE, Fla. — After not allowing a goal in the first half, Orlando City fell to Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC 3-0 on Wednesday night at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Despite battling unfavorable rainy conditions, the Lions learned a lot in a humbling loss to the MLS side.

    “I was really pleased with our first half performance but was disappointed with our second half play,” said Orlando City Head Coach Adrian Heath. “I was disappointed in the final score but can’t say I was in their effort.”

    The Lions began the first half with a balanced attack, countering every Toronto offensive with one of their own. The wet conditions made for an interesting first 45, with players having to consider the consistent downpour in their touches. Orlando held a majority of possession through the first half, impressing the MLS side with multiple attacks and possession-oriented style of soccer.

    One of those attacks nearly connected for City, with a through-ball from new signing Bryan Burke to Jamie Watson in the 19th minute going just wide of the left post and out of play. Even though the chances continued to pile on for Orlando, the Lions were unable to connect. A Keammar Daley free kick was caught by Toronto goalkeeper Joe Bendik, while a fantastic header by Long Tan was called offside as the two sides went into halftime tied 0-0.

    The second half got off to a rough start for Orlando, with a miscommunication on the backline resulting in the first goal of the match. In the 53rd minute, Toronto rookie forward Taylor Morgan slotted home a goal as he caught Orlando goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo out of position.

    The unfortunate breaks kept coming, with a handball in the 72nd minute called on the Lions after a bad bounce hit defender Kieron Bernard in the forearm. Following suit, Toronto’s Terry Dunfield converted the penalty kick, giving the Reds the 2-0 lead. A brief scuffle ensued following the score, putting Orlando down a man after midfielder Adama Mbengue was shown red. Toronto scored one more time after midfielder Jonathan Osorio skipped a low-roller past the Lions defense in the 87th minute, giving them the 3-0 lead and victory.

    The Lions conclude group play on Saturday evening against the Columbus Crew. The Crew currently stand atop of Group A with a record of 2-0-0, outscoring their opponents 5-0 so far in the PSC. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. For ticket information, please visit

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    LA Strikers FC News Release -

    Thursday, February 14, 2013

    LOS ANGELES - The LA Strikers are excited to announce the signing of Kristy Moore for the 2013 W-League season. Moore has earned caps with with both the Australia and England national teams, and has played professionally in England and Norway for more than a decade. 

    In England Moore captured division player of the year honors for the Barnet FC Ladies in 2000-01 (tallying 41 goals in 32 games) and won two consecutive FA Women’s Cups and the Premier League National Division with Fulham in 2002 and 2003. Moore's soccer travels also took her to Norway where she played for IF Troya from 2003 to 2008 and then Stabaek in 2009 (winning the league in 2010). She left Norway ranked fifth on the all-time scoring list for the Toppserien.

    “I am looking forward to continuing my playing career with the LA Strikers," Moore said. "With the USA being the powerhouse in women's football I have always wanted to play in America and I now have the opportunity to fulfill this ambition with the LA Strikers. Having won championships in England and Norway, my aim is to assist the team to make the playoffs with the ultimate goal being the grand final. This is a wonderful opportunity for me and I am very excited to be meeting the team in the coming months.”

    "I am so pleased by this signing," Strikers Owner Steve Miller said. "Kristy’s experience and obviously winning record in conjunction with Tracey’s [Tracey Kevins, the Strikers’ new head coach] coaching expertise will definitely raise the level of play for our younger ladies."

    Moore will wear don the #23 Strikers jersey at the team's W-League home opener on Wednesday, June 5 against the Seattle Sounders Women. All home games are played at Occidental College at 7:30 p.m.

    Please visit for ticket information.

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  • 02/14/13--17:24: Challenge Cup Set To Open
  • Charleston Battery News Release --

    Thursday, February 14, 2013

    CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Shake off the cold; it’s time to get back to soccer with the kick off of the 2013 Carolina Challenge Cup on Saturday evening. Professional soccer’s premier preseason tournament is back in Charleston for the 10th consecutive year as the Chicago Fire take on the Houston Dynamo at 5 p.m. in the first match of the tournament. The Charleston Battery kickoff their season against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the Whitecaps' first ever Challenge Cup appearance at 7:15 p.m.

    Three-time defending champions, D.C. United, are not in attendance, leaving this year’s Challenge Cup wide open. The Chicago Fire came in second in 2012 and the Houston Dynamo won the tournament in back-to-back years in 2006 and 2007.

    Gates open at 4 p.m. with the first match kick off set for 5 p.m.; tickets are still available for Saturday’s games starting at $15 with discounts available for groups of 10 or more (advance purchase only); to purchase tickets or for more information please visit or call (843) 971-GOAL (4625).

    Chicago Fire vs. Houston Dynamo – 5 p.m.

    These two Major League Soccer teams were extremely competitive in the Eastern Conference in 2012, with both clinching a spot in last years MLS Cup playoffs. The Dynamo knocked Chicago out in the first game of the playoffs last year and although it’s preseason, Chicago will no doubt be seeking revenge.

    Chicago Fire – Three Players to Watch

    Sean Johnson (#25): At just 23 years old, Johnson has already proven to be a force between the pipes for the Chicago Fire. 2012 was the best season of his professional career and he will definitely be looking to build on that success. Johnson played in 31 matches and earned five shutouts with a career-low, 1.24 goals against average last season.

    Chris Rolfe (#17): Named the club’s 2012 MVP, veteran forward Chris Rolfe continued to produce for the Chicago Fire upon his return after three seasons with Danish Superliga, Aalborg BK. Rolfe led with a team eight goals last season and tallied three assists along the way. A long-time fan favorite, Rolfe will be a player to watch on the pitch this season.

    Patrick Nyarko (#14): With a team leading seven assists in 2012 and the only Fire player to appear in all 34 regular season games, Nyarko is a force to be reckoned with at the attacking position. The Ghanaian native enters his sixth season with a ton of game experience and outstanding skill; he should be pivotal in helping the fire succeed.

    Houston Dynamo – Three Players to Watch

    Will Bruin (#12): This powerful forward has been nothing short of outstanding so far for the Houston Dynamo. Bruin led the team with 12 goals in 2012, a career-high for the young St. Louis, Mo. product while also adding on four assists. Bruin helped the Dynamo reach the finals of last year's MLS Cup where they fell short to the LA Galaxy. Look for him to do special things up top this year for the Dynamo.

    Brad Davis (#11): Davis is a decorated veteran for the Dynamo; a five-time MLS All-Star, four consecutive team MVP awards, and six U.S. international appearances. Davis led the team last year in assists with 12 while also netting a career-high eight goals. He is an experienced player with exceptional field IQ; Davis will certainly stretch the field for the Dynamo with quality play through the middle.

    Bobby Boswell (#32): Boswell was acquired by the Dynamo in 2008 and quickly became a leader across the back. Not only does he have size and speed, he is not afraid to shoot the ball and added a pair of goals and an assist for the Dynamo in 2012.

    Charleston Battery vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC – 7:15 p.m.

    Although it is their first meeting since Vancouver’s move to the MLS, these two teams are no strangers. They played each other in the USL after the Battery was established in 1993 and Vancouver head coach, Martin Rennie, has visited Blackbaud stadium on numerous occasions during his tenure with the Carolina RailHawks.

    The Vancouver Whitecaps have made huge strides as a club since entering the MLS in 2011 including setting an MLS record for consecutive minutes without allowing a goal, and becoming the first Canadian club to reach the MLS Cup Playoffs ever in the 2012 season.

    The Charleston Battery also experienced success last season, claiming the USL PRO Championship with a 1-0 win against the Wilmington Hammerheads to claim their fourth USL Championship.

    Vancouver Whitecaps FC – Three Players To Watch

    Camilo Sanvezzo (#7): A Brazilian native, Camilo joined the Whitecaps in 2011 after a preseason trial. He is an elusive player with exceptional skill and quick feet. In 2012 he tallied five goals and seven assists for the Whitecaps, look for him to do even more in 2013.

    Jay DeMerit (#6): DeMerit played in every match for the U.S. national team during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He carries with him an extensive list of experience including six seasons in England with Watford FC.

    Darron Mattocks (#11): Mattocks led the Whitecaps with seven goals in his rookie season in 2012 and he will look to improve those numbers this year. He is fast and elusive with the ability to score goals quickly and often.

    Tickets and Schedule
    Single day tickets (includes two games) start at just $15; for more information or to purchase tickets please call (843) 971-GOAL (4625) or visit

    2013 Carolina Challenge Cup tournament schedule
    Saturday, February 16
    Chicago Fire vs. Houston Dynamo, 5 p.m.
    Charleston Battery vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 7:15 p.m.

    Wednesday, February 20
    Houston Dynamo vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 5 p.m.
    Charleston Battery vs. Chicago Fire, 7:15 p.m.

    Saturday, February 23
    Chicago Fire vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 5 p.m.
    Charleston Battery vs. Houston Dynamo, 7:15 p.m.

    All games played at Blackbaud Stadium, Daniel Island, SC. 

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  • 02/14/13--14:10: Oklahoma City FC Joins PDL
  • USL News Release

    Thursday, February 14, 2013

    TAMPA, Fla. – The Premier Development League is pleased to announce the addition of Oklahoma City FC for the 2013 season. Oklahoma City FC is owned by metro-area residents Sean Jones, Donna Clark and Tim McLaughlin. Sold Out Strategies, led by former Oklahoma City Blazers pro hockey executives Brad Lund and DeBray Ayala, will serve as the managing partner.

    “Oklahoma City has traditionally supported its minor and major league sports franchises like no other city in the country,” Oklahoma City FC managing partner DeBray Ayala said. “PDL will be the highest level of soccer played on a regular basis in the metro area in more than 15 years.”

    Oklahoma City will compete in the Southern Conference’s Mid South Division featuring five opponents from Texas – the Austin Aztex, El Paso Patriots, Laredo Heat, Texas Dutch Lions, and West Texas Sockers. Oklahoma City FC will play its inaugural season between the months of May-August at Stars Field on the campus of Oklahoma City University and will open at home on May 11 versus the Austin Aztex.

    “We welcome Oklahoma City FC to the PDL and look forward to having them compete in one of the league’s strongest divisions starting with the 2013 season,” USL President Tim Holt said. “With such a strong and stable ownership group and experienced executive leadership, we expect Oklahoma City FC to thrive in a market with unlimited potential.”

    The PDL has been the destination league for young college players to continue their development toward the professional ranks, with clubs from across North America not only competing for a championship each summer, but also providing the opportunity for top-level competition for the best players in the college ranks.

    More than 150 former PDL players have been selected in the MLS SuperDraft in the past five seasons, including each of the past two No. 1 picks – Andrew Wenger (Carolina Dynamo) in 2012, and Andrew Farrell (River City Rovers) in 2013. One player from the 2012 PDL season, Kekuta Manneh, earned a Generation adidas contract from MLS, given to a handful of underclassmen each season, without stepping onto a college campus in part thanks to his standout play for the Austin Aztex. The 18-year-old was then selected with the No. 4 pick of this year’s SuperDraft by the Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

    In addition to the MLS SuperDraft, a number of former PDL alumni have also been signed to Home Grown Player contracts by MLS clubs, with those such as the Los Angeles Galaxy’s Gyasi Zardes (Ventura County Fusion), New England Revolution’s Scott Caldwell (Michigan Bucks), FC Dallas’ London Woodberry (Baltimore Bohemians) and the Seattle Sounders FC’s DeAndre Yedlin (Sounders FC U23) all continuing their development in the PDL after leaving their MLS club’s academy to play college soccer.

    Complete schedules, tryout information, team nickname, and the coaching staff for Oklahoma City FC will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information contact SOS at 405.232.7223 or go to

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