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News from USL

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  • 02/27/13--14:28: Wilson Returns To Battery
  • Charleston Battery News Release -- www.charlestonbattery.com

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013

    CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Veteran defender John Wilson has agreed to terms and will return to play for the Charleston Battery in the 2013 USL PRO season. After reversing a retirement decision prior to the 2011 season Wilson has enjoyed a further two excellent years with the Battery and last year helped Charleston claim its fourth USL Championship.

    “Being able to sign John Wilson to another season is a tremendous plus to the club as John brings a wealth of experience to the community and the team on the field which cannot easily be replaced,” said head coach Mike Anhaeuser.

    A native of Seneca, S.C., Wilson has played on three of the Battery’s four championship winning teams (2003, 2010 & 2012) his career Charleston Battery totals includes 228 games played (second all-time), 19,973 minutes, 1 goal and 10 assists.

    Wilson began his pro career with the Battery in 1999. After an outstanding rookie season Wilson joined Major League Soccer’s Kansas City Wizards in 2000. Wilson returned to the Battery in 2001 and spent three seasons with the club including 2003 when he was a member of the Championship winning team.

    In 2004 Wilson moved to the Rochester Rhinos then a year later was signed by Major League Soccer’s D.C. United. After three years with D.C. United, Wilson rejoined the Battery before the start of the 2008 season and was a member of the Battery team that lost in the 2008 Open Cup Final against D.C. United.

    Wilson helped the Battery win the 2010 USL Second Division Championship and announced his retirement from pro soccer after the game but reversed his decision prior to the start of the 2011 season.

    In 2012 Wilson switched to his favored left back position and played 23 games, recording one assist as the Battery claimed their fourth USL Championship.

    The 35-year-old Wilson, 5-foot-9, 170 pounds., had a superb college career at Clemson University and was named All-ACC in 1997 and 1998. He played in 57 matches for the Tigers, scored 18 goals and added 35 assists in his career. Wilson helped Clemson to an ACC Championship, #1 national ranking and Final Eight NCAA finish in 1998.


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    Super Y-League News Release

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013

    TAMPA, Fla.
    - The 2012/13 Super Y-League Olympic Development Program Girls National Camp is set to open on Thursday at the world-class facilities of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, with more than 150 of the top U13-U17 players in North America set to put their talent on display.

    On the heels of a highly successful boys ODP camp held this past week, the camp will run through Sunday, March 3. Participants will learn under the watchful eyes of some of the top coaches in North America who will provide instruction and evaluation under the direction of USL National Technical Director Peter Mellor, who has spent the past 19 years as a member of the U.S. National Staff and 26 years as an ODP coach. Among the colleges represented are LSU, Troy, Butler, Columbus State, and St. Leo. IMG Soccer Academy coaches will also provide instruction during the four-day camp.

    Players selected to attend the camp were identified as the top players in their birth year and among the top two percent of players in the Super Y-League. The ODP Program is a crucial component of the USL Super Y-League, offering the best players from the U13 to U17 age groups a chance to receive top-quality coaching and the opportunity to be scouted by U.S. National Team and college coaches.

    Select teams will be identified by the coaches for the 96/97 and 98/99 age groups and announced following the conclusion of the camp.

    IMG Academy is the world’s largest and most advanced multi-sport training facility for athletic, academic and personal development. During the span of 30-plus years, the Academy’s advanced training methods have helped countless youth, adult, collegiate and professional athletes improve in sport and life by providing an energetic and inspiring atmosphere on a 400-acre campus.

    2012-2013 ODP Girls National Camp Attendees

    U13-14 Girls

    U15-16 Girls


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  • 02/28/13--15:08: Eagles Sign Concordia Duo
  • Charlotte Eagles News Release -- www.charlotteeagles.com

    Thursday, February 28, 2013

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Charlotte Eagles have signed a pair of former Concordia University products. Forward Christian Ramirez and Midfielder Will Prado have both agreed to contracts for the 2013 USL PRO Season.

    Ramirez, 21, a Garden Grove, Calif. native, played two years at Concordia University after starting his college career at UC Santa Barbara. The 6-foot-2 forward finished his college career with 44 goals and 18 assists. While at Concordia, Ramirez was named NAIA First Team All-American in 2012 while recording 23 goals and 6 assists and was also the GSAC 2012 Player of the Year.

    In 2011 Ramirez was named All-GSAC First Team and broke the school record for points in a game with five goals and three assists for 13 points against William Jessup. Ramirez tied the school single-season mark for points with 48 in 2011 and would go on to set the school record for points in a season with 52 in 2012.

    Prado, 24, a Anaheim, Calif. native, played two seasons at Concordia University following two seasons at Long Beach  City College. Prado, a 2011 and 2012 NAIA All-American Honorable Mention, finished his Concordia career with a school record 30 assists to go along with 20 goals. In 2011 Prado set the school single-season record with 18 assists which was also tops in the NAIA that year. Will finished his Concordia career sixth all-time in points with 70. He was also a 2011 and 2012 All-GSAC First Team selection. 

    "Both of these players came to a tryout and performed very well," Eagles Men's General Manager Tom Engstrom said. "Christian is a big target forward who can combine well, makes good runs and can score goals. Will is an attacking midfielder who is a very good passer with a track record of recording big assist numbers. Both of the players bring a passion for the game and a desire to be part of a good team culture."

    Don't forget that the 2013 Summer Camp discount of $15 off any Charlotte area camp expires March 1st at 11:59 pm so sign up today!

    The excitement for the 2013 season continues to build as the team is beginning to take shape. Keep checking the Eagles website and twitter for more news including signings, summer camp info and season ticket packages.

    Keep the Orange Flag Flying High and we'll see you in April!


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  • 02/28/13--13:44: Hall, Miller Return To Blues
  • Los Angeles Blues News Release -- www.labluesprosoccer.com

    Thursday, February 28, 2013

    FULLERTON, Calif. — The LA Blues announced today that defenders Matt Hall and Cory Miller will rejoin the team for the 2013 USL Pro season. Both defenders played for the Blues in the 2012 season.

    “Having two veteran players re-sign with the Blues is very exciting for us,” said Warren Barton, the team’s general manager and technical director. “Matt and Cory give us the experience we need on the backline.”

    Miller, 24, appeared in 19 games last season for the Blues. Prior to joining the Blues, Miller made his professional debut with the Carolina Railhawks in the 2011 season. As a collegiate player, Miller led Olivet Nazarene University to the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference and the NAIA national tournament — two firsts for the program.

    Hall, 25, made his professional debut with the Blues last season. Prior, Hall led the Las Vegas Knights, an indoor team, to its championship game. In 2010, he played for PDL team the Vermont Voltage and had an outstanding season, producing two assists in 15 contests.

    The LA Blues start the 2013 campaign on March 23 at home against Phoenix FC. For 2013 season tickets, please visit lablues.ticketfly.com.  


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    VSI Tampa Bay FC News Release -- www.vsi-fc.com

    Wednesday, February 28, 2013

    TAMPA, Fla. -- VSI Tampa Bay FC is pleased to welcome Sierra Leone native and former USL PRO Champion Sallieu Bundu to the 2013 team, pending USSF approval. Bundu brings an immense presence to the field with his athleticism and experience. VSI Tampa Bay FC will look to capitalize on Bundu’s goal scoring abilities this inaugural season in the USL PRO.

    “To bring another USL PRO 2012 winner into the roster for our debut season is great news for the club,"  said Head Coach Matt Weston. "Attracting players of Bundu’s pedigree is vitally important for us in year one and his presence on and off the field will be a great asset to our team. Sal is a big, strong physical number nine, exactly what I was looking for. He has a great first touch, can bring people into play and with the system we play can provide the physical presence up top which is needed. Most importantly he is a great person, a true gentlemen and that’s what we require of every player we sign to this club.”

    Bundu originally signed with the Cleveland City Stars after Head Coach Martin Rennie discovered Bundu in a trial. Sallieu would go on and make the move to the Carolina Railhawks with Rennie, who is now coaching in MLS with the Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Bundu scored 10 goals in 30 appearances for the Railhawks, before going on loan to the Charlotte Eagles in 2011. Bundu would continue to prove himself as a goalscorer after scoring seven goals in 22 appearances with the Charlotte Eagles.

    Following his achievements with the Charlotte Eagles Bundu found his way to the Charleston Battery in 2012. Bundu continued to solidify himself as one of the top forwards in the league as he would go on to be a part of the 2012 USL PRO-winning Battery team before being loaned out to Ravan Baku.

    “After speaking with Head Coach Matt Weston, and the Director, I knew that Tampa would be the place for me," Bundu said. "I spoke with many of the already signed players and knew that I would fit into the team and have another great opportunity to win. I am thrilled to be a part of VSI Tampa Bay FC.”

    “It’s great to sign an experienced and proven forward in Sallieu Bundu," said VSI Director of Soccer, Clay Roberts. "He is one of the top forwards in our league because of his ability to hold possession in the buildup as a target, but then pose a huge threat in front of goal. With our style of play, Sal completes a piece of the puzzle that we have been searching for. His immediate impact into the team has already been felt upon his arrival into camp this week. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our team, and will be a great leader for our younger players.”

    With such a storied career, Bundu now makes Tampa his home. He joins former teammates and competitors to make up the 2013 VSI Tampa Bay FC team.

    “Sal immediately brings a load of experience to the team," said Kyle Hoffer, who also comes to VSI Tampa Bay FC from the Battery. "It’s great to sign another teammate from the championship team from last year. We had a great season together and I would expect the same this year in Tampa. Sallieu will be great for our young forwards to learn from as they make their transition into the pros.”

    Tickets for VSI Tampa Bay FC’s 2013 inaugural season in the USL PRO are available on our website at www.vsi-fc.com.


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    Orlando City News Release -- www.orlandocitysoccer.com

    Wednesday, February 28, 2013

    ORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando City SC, in conjunction with affiliate and Major League Soccer’s (MLS) Sporting Kansas City (SKC), announced Thursday that defender Mechack Jerome has been signed to the major league side for the 2013 season pending receipt of International Transfer Certificate. Spending much of the 2013 preseason on trial with Kansas City, Jerome impressed the Sporting coaching staff enough to garner a call-up from the 2012 USL PRO regular season champion Orlando team to the majors.

    “We’re delighted for him,” said Orlando City Head Coach Adrian Heath. “We have seen his gradual development and are pleased that he has moved on to one of the best clubs in MLS. It’s certainly gratifying for us.”

    Jerome was a key part of the Orlando City backline that allowed the fewest goals in the league in 2012. The Haitian international appeared in 20 games last season, scoring one goal while logging three assists. He established himself as a regular in the starting XI, logging 1,423 minutes over the 2012 season. In total, he has made 34 appearances for the Lions in two seasons with the club.

    “I’ve always wanted to play in MLS and I am very happy to have signed," Jerome said. "It’s a group of great guys and a good team. I feel comfortable here already. It was a great experience playing for Orlando City and I am thankful for the opportunity that they gave me by allowing me to come play for Sporting Kansas City."

    The fullback started three out of the four matches for Sporting in the recently completed Disney Pro Soccer Classic, earning praise from SKC Head Coach Peter Vermes in his time with the club.

    “He’s a gamer,” Vermes said in a conference call back on February 14. “He is tough in the position. He understands it defensively. He’s very controlled with the ball. He gets the game. He really does. He hasn’t had a lot of time with us, but he’s done well and I like him so far.”

    After beginning his career in Haiti with Baltimore de St. Marc, Jerome joined Mirandela of the Portuguese Second Division for the ’09-10 season. He was then acquired by Heath and the Austin Aztex in 2010, moving with the club to Orlando later that year.

    The Liancourt, Haiti, native joins Lawerence Olum as former Orlando players who have made the Sporting side after going on trial. Olum appeared 21 times for the Lions in the 2011 season, scoring the opening goal of the 2011 USL PRO Championship match.


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  • 02/28/13--20:39: Battery Sweep Past Cougars
  • Charleston Battery News Release -- www.charlestonbattery.com

    Wednesday, February 28, 2013

    CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The Charleston Battery looked bigger and faster at the start of the match against the young College of Charleston Cougars, and cruised to a 3-0 victory at Patriots Points on Wednesday afternoon. Dane Kelly scored a pair of goals, while Quinton Griffith scored the opener, as the Battery opened their nine-game preseason slate with a comfortable victory.

    The experienced Battery were comfortably in control throughout the first half, and put pressure on the Cougars' goal early as they forced Cougars goalkeeper Alex Young to sprint off his line to cut off the angle and force Kelly to miss an opportunity from close range. About midway through the half, however, the Battery would take the lead as Griffith ripped a shot top right to give the Battery a 1-0 lead.

    Shortly after, Kelly received a nice slotted pass from Ryan Richter in the penalty area and finished it beautifully into the left-side netting for a 2-0 lead heading into halftime. Richter and Kelly connected again in the second half to give the Battery a 3-0 advantage as Richter broke free down the right side of the pitch and played a nice cross in that Kelly headed home for the goal.

    The Battery continued to move the ball well for most of the second half as they claimed a comfortable victory, their second of the preseason following a win against Houston Dynamo in the final game of the Carolina Challenge Cup last Saturday.

    Next up the Battery will travel to Clemson, S.C. on Saturday to take on Clemson University in a preseason match at 3 p.m. ET.


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  • 02/28/13--22:45: ODP Girls Camp Underway
  • Super Y-League Feature

    Thursday, February 28, 2013

    BRADENTON, Fla. - The 2013 Super Y-League Girls ODP National Camp opened Thursday in sunny, 70-degree weather at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, with more than 150 of the top U13-U16 players from throughout North America anxious to make an impression. The annual event showcases the elite youth players that competed in the Super Y-League, and gives them the opportunity to perform in front of top college and national team coaches.

    The camp’s coaching staff, including college coaches from LSU, Bowling Green, Columbus State and Seattle University, spent the afternoon getting to know the players while taking them through testing and their first training sessions. After an introduction talk from USL National Technical Director Peter Mellor, the players split into teams and headed to the fields. IMG Academy staff conducted a series of performance tests including the 40-yard dash, the vertical leap and the dreaded endurance staple, the beep test.

    The older group set the bar high in the beep test, but they were no match for Julia McGuire (Quickstrike FC) and Haven Snyder (Keystone Athletic Grifos) from the younger group, who both reached level 13-2 to lead the day.

    Friday will present a full day with morning training, afternoon games and nutrition and mental training sessions. The coaching staff will work to educate the players while identifying select team candidates.

    "This is the first time I’ve been here and I really didn’t know what to expect, but I think there is definitely good quality," Bowling Green State University Head Coach Lyndsay Basalyga said. "When you walk into a facility like this, it’s hard not to get excited. The weather, the field quality - a lot of these kids came from the northeast and they’re coming from snow and not being outdoors for a long time, so the facilities and the weather definitely help."

    Basalyga, a former University of Maryland standout, said she’s looking for consistency from her players throughout the four-day camp.

    "I told my team right from the start this afternoon, ’this is an environment where you want to shine, so don’t be afraid to be the best player on the field and don’t be afraid to be the best player on your team. I think it’s consistency; athleticism will play a little bit of a role, but it’s consistency, ability to keep possession, and ability to defend, and for me personally it’s just how they do throughout the week. Are they constantly getting better session after session?"


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  • 03/01/13--08:48: Strikers Sign Gemma Bryan
  • LA Strikers FC News Release - www.lastrikersfc.com

    Friday, March 1, 2013

    LONG BEACH, Calif. - The LA Strikers are excited to announce the signing of Gemma Bryan, fomerly of Charlton Athletic of the Southern Premier League in England.

    From 2005-09, Bryan played for Millwall Lionesses prior to signing with Charlton Athletic. At Charlton, she was the top scorer in the Southern Premier League during the 2010-11 season, leading her team to the Southern Premier League title.

    "I am delighted to have signed for the LA Strikers and to be given the opportunity to play at the highest level alongside ambitious and top professionals," Bryan said. "This will be a very exciting challenge! I can't wait to arrive in LA!"

    Bryan's scoring streak continued during the 2012 season. In her final two games for Charlton, she scored twice against Leeds and had a hat trick against Tottenham Hotspur.

    Come watch her continue her scoring rampage in the Strikers' season opener on May 18 against the Pali Blues and at home against Seattle Sounders Women on June 5 Check out www.lastrikersfc.com for tickets and schedule.


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    Orlando City News Release -- www.orlandocitysoccer.com

    Friday, March 1, 2013

    ORLANDO, Fla. -- Orlando City announced Friday the signing of midfielder Jonathan Mendoza and defender Brian Fekete to the professional squad. Mendoza, the Orlando City U23s team captain in 2012, and Fekete, a three-time All-American from the University of Tampa, have been on trial with the Lions since early January and add young talent to Orlando City Head Coach Adrian Heath’s squad for the 2013 season.

    “We signed two kids who we believe have potential to move on to the next level,” said Heath. “We’ll give them an opportunity to play.”

    Mendoza joins the Lions after playing five years with the Orlando City U23s (formerly Central Florida Kraze). A team captain for the U23 squad in 2012, Mendoza scored four goals while totaling 1,195 minutes on the Lions' run toward the 2012 PDL Southern Conference Championship. He marks the second player to move up from the U23 squad (Adama Mbengue) to the pro team, showing evidence of a successful development pyramid for the Lions.

    After an impressive season with the U23s and Stetson University, the speedy midfielder was invited to the 2013 MLS Combine, impressing scouts and coaches alike. Mendoza was also apart of the Orlando City team that played against legendary Italian club A.S. Roma in early January, making a lasting impression on the Orlando coaching staff.

    “I'm a big believer in guys who come in each and every day with an incredible amount of effort, they stick out like a sore thumb,” said Heath. “Every day they bring bags of enthusiasm and want to do well. They try to convince the coaching staff why they need to be on the squad. That's what Johnny does."

    At Stetson, the Lyman high school product was named the 2011 Atlantic Sun Player of the Year after starting all 19 matches for the Hatters. He also led the conference with 27 points on 11 goals and five assists in 2011.

    The second Orlando signing is University of Tampa product and PDL veteran Brian Fekete. Fekete started in all 17 matches for the Spartans as a senior, totaling 1,492 minutes. He was named a three-time All-American for Tampa during his collegiate career, playing in a total of 69 matches. The defender from Plant City, Fla., was also a part of the Lions' squad during the preseason friendly against giant A.S. Roma at Rollins College in Winter Park, impressing Heath and his staff enough to grant an invite to the Disney Pro Soccer Classic (PSC).

    Fekete then got his shot early on in the PSC, starting the first match against Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union while also scoring a goal in the 79th minute in the 3-2 loss to Columbus Crew.

    “Brian comes in and makes competition,” said Heath. “We’ve seen over the preseason that he can play with our first team and believe he has some real upside.”

    Fekete began his PDL career with IMG Bradenton Academy in 2010, continuing on through the PDL with GPS Portland Phoenix. He was an All-Eastern Conference selection in 2011 after totaling 1,213 minutes played with the Phoenix.


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  • 03/01/13--16:22: Fire Well Represented at ODP
  • Super Y-League Feature

    Friday, March 1, 2013

    BRADENTON, Fla. – Atlanta Fire United is well known as one of the top youth clubs in the nation, and it’s no surprise it’s well represented at this weekend’s Super Y-League Girls ODP National Camp at IMG Academy.

    Not only is AFU Girls Director of Coaching Mark MacKain serving as a coach at the four-day event, but six of his club’s players earned the right to showcase their skills for the assembled coaches and scouts. The Fire are represented by U14 players Kathryn Batchler and Kameron Downs, and U16 standouts Kristian Leone, Kaitlin Mayer, Cosette Morche and Tiffany Raygor.

    “The experience here that they’re getting, meeting kids from around the country, is fantastic,” MacKain said. “Kate [Batchler] just got back from ODP in Phoenix, and we’ve got four others from the 16s that play in the ECNL that come out here and think it’s a great experience themselves. We’ve got some college coaches on the sidelines that I know they were looking forward to playing in front of, and the exposure is fantastic.”

    With more than 150 of the top players from throughout North America gathered at IMG Academy, the competition level is high. With coaches from colleges such as the University of Miami, the University of South Alabama, Bowling Green State University, East Tennessee State University, Rice University, Troy University, East Carolina University, Columbus State University and Seattle University either on staff or scouting, the players are working hard to make an impression.

    “The coaching staff that Peter Mellor put together is fantastic, and the kids are all getting to know the players coming in from around the country and they seem to really be enjoying it,” MacKain said. “The last five years or so that Peter Mellor and Alec Papadakis have been involved it’s just been better and better every year.

    Each of the Fire players will be aiming for a spot on the camp’s select teams, and they won’t feel out of place thanks to the high level of competition they experience through their club. MacKain said the Fire’s secret to success starts with the high-level coaching staff.

    “I think we have a fantastic staff, both on the boys and the girls side,” MacKain said. “Raul Diaz Arce on the boys side, he’s put together really a crack staff. On the girls side we’ve got Demetrius Donald and Nathan Borror, who won a national championship this year for the 16s, and Denny Jenkins won a national championship last year at 14s.

    “These guys know how to recruit talent, maintain talent, grow and develop talent, and most importantly, manage the talent. I truly think it starts with the coaching.”

    With the Fire already part of some of the other top youth leagues in the nation, MacKain said the Super Y-League fills an important role.

    “Super Y fits a niche for us,” he said. “It’s the only summer program that we’re doing right now, and it provides an opportunity for our kids that are on the top teams that may not be getting all the playing time or need to come through injury or confidence issues, or just want to play more. And maybe kids from our second teams want to just make the leap and continue to improve and better their games.”
     


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    Super Y-League Feature

    Saturday, March 2, 2013

    BRADENTON, Fla. – The lasting memory for FC America coach Scott Brody from his U12 girls side’s championship at the Super Y-League North American Finals is the way his side looked as they walked off the field after the final whistle.

    “How excited the girls were after we won,” Brody said. “It was a great culmination to a lot of work they had put in, and just seeing the smiles on their faces was spectacular.”

    For the players, though, as satisfying as their 2-0 win against the Kalamazoo Kingdom was, the journey remains the lasting memory.

    ” It was good soccer, a lot of good girls were out there that we played against,” said Taylor Cust. “I think the battle was more fun than the actual win, knowing that you battled that hard and then you ended up getting the win, that just adds to it.”

    Cust is one of five members of the squad, the others being Taylor Smith, Hannah Telleysh, J.J. Bryant and Lexi Labonte, who were invited to return to the world-class facilities of IMG Academy this weekend to participate in the 2013 Super Y-League Olympic Development Program training camp, and the players are impressing as they compete with and against top players from around the country.

    Together for the past two years, many members of the team, including those at IMG, previously competed against one another. Now together as members of the same team, they have been able to lift each other’s games to new heights through a commitment to training, and to supporting one another in practice and competition.

    “I think playing with each other definitely helps with that, because we’ve all known each other for a long time,” Cust said. “Even before we were a team, we were rivals on the field, we still knew who played where and how they played. I remember playing against Hannah, she was always that big girl in the back, and I just think merging was a great idea. They’re really encouraging and they really help when you’re thinking you’re not playing as well, they build you up and make you feel better.”

    “I think as a team, we show our improvement, our strengths, and the things we need to work on,” Smith added. “We each build each other up, and I think playing with each other really shows that. We all bring our own strengths.”

    For each player, it’s something different. Telleysh talks about how Cust helped improve her game, while Bryant says Telleysh has helped her improve her shooting accuracy. At times, the closeness of the group comes to the fore as they finish thoughts for one another, and often nod in agreement as a teammate talks.

    With the players being as close as they are, while also being committed to improvement and working together, Brody says his job has been made much easier as he tries to help them advance their games as they enter a key period in their soccer education.

    “They train so hard,” Brody said. “I’ve never come across a group, older, younger, boys, girls, that is willing to do whatever they have to do to get better, individually and as a team, and when they show up for training, they show up ready to go hard every single time.”

    And that work has been rewarded by the quintet’s presence this week.

    “I think it’s encouraging personally, because it’s definitely something I wasn’t expecting,” Cust said. “I went out there to do my best, but I definitely think all of us deserve to be here and I think it’s a lot of fun that we’re all out here. I’ve learned a lot, I haven’t been on their team, but I think they’ve also had a lot of fun and learned a lot from their coaches, especially with the talent they have on their team. It’s definitely an honor to be here, I’m glad I’m here.” 


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    Orlando City News Release -- www.orlandocitysoccer.com

    Saturday, March 2, 2013

    SANFORD, Fla. — Two first-half goals were all Orlando City SC needed to defeat the Florida International University Panthers at the Seminole Soccer Complex Saturday afternoon, with the Lions going on to win 3-0 in their first collegiate friendly of 2013. U23s player and trialist Nico Russo added the second-half score for Orlando, who now set their sights on Saturday and the inaugural I-4 Derby against the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

    “I thought we played some really good pockets of play and scored decent goals,” said Orlando City Head Coach Adrian Heath. “We’re doing okay, it’s about getting combination football and get a shape of the team. It’s mainly to get everybody fit and well away in Arizona.”

    The Lions got off to an early lead after a mismanaged save from FIU goalkeeper Daniel Mion led to midfielder Jamie Watson burying the loose ball in the ninth minute. Orlando would go on to see several missed chances, especially when a corner in the 35th minute almost led to two-goal deficit for the Panthers.

    Lions goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo would make his first of five saves of the game when FIU Forward Quentin Albrecht blasted a shot outside the 18-yard-line moments later, only for Gallardo to tuck the ball.

    Despite the first half being mostly physical, Justin Clark would put the Lions up 2-0 right at the halftime mark when FIU's defense failed to clear the ball off an Orlando set piece, with the former Rollins product tapping the ball into the net.

    FIU’s only scoring chance in the second half came in the 55th minute when midfielder James O’Connor brought down Nico Middtun in the penalty area, only for the young Panther to miss the penalty kick when his shot went past the right post.

    Orlando continues the 2013 season with the inaugural “I-4 Derby” on Saturday, March 9, at Fifth Third Bank Field at the Florida Citrus Bowl against the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale for the match by call 855-ORL-CITY or by visiting Orlandocitysoccer.com.


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  • 03/03/13--16:36: Girls ODP Camp Ends On High
  • Super Y-League News Release

    Sunday, March 3, 2013

    BRADENTON, Fla. – The 2013 Super Y-League Girls Olympic Development Program Training Camp finished on a high note on Sunday morning at the world-class facilities of IMG Academy as the U13/14 and U15/16 Select Teams faced off to conclude the four-day camp. The U13/14 game highlighted the day, with the teams playing to an entertaining 2-2 draw.

    “We couldn’t have picked which was the ‘A’ and which one was the ‘B’ team,” Select Team coach James Blackwell, of Seacoast United, said. “Fabulous players in the squads in both teams, you really couldn’t pick between them and I think 2-2 was a fair result because the quality of soccer was exceptional, as it has been all week.”

    The game opened with the Select ‘A’ squad coming close in just the second minute, Seacoast United’s Gabrielle Brummett shooting just wide of the right post after a good build up. Both teams were sharp in the central third of the field, linking quick passes as both teams aimed to get forward quickly when they won possession.

    Select ‘A’ took the lead in the 20th minute when Force Football Club’s Elaina Eckhart picked up possession at the top of the penalty area and drove a high shot into the roof of the net. Select ‘B’ almost answered three minutes later as the VSI West Florida Flames’ Elisha Holmes found space 35 yards from goal and pushed forward before shooting, only to have her effort saved.

    Select ‘A’ came close to adding to its lead three minutes before halftime. The New Jersey Stallions’ Samantha Coffey shooting just wide of the right post, but four minutes after the break they made it 2-0 as a good run and cross from the left by FC United’s Madison Hald was tapped home at close range by FC America’s Taylor Smith.

    Select ‘B’ was able to hit back quickly, with the Florida Fire Juniors’ Taylor Morgan releasing the Northern Virginia Majestics’ Erika Smith into the right channel, the forward driving home a strong finish to make it 2-1. Then 12 minutes from the end Sheila McQuillen was able to tie the game, picking up possession just outside the penalty area before finishing powerfully into the left corner of the net.

    Both teams continued to push until the final whistle, but both were satisfied with the draw as the camp concluded. For USL National Technical Director Peter Mellor, the final scrimmage brought to a close what had been a positive weekend for the Super Y-League, with many top players getting the chance to learn what it took to reach the next level.

    “We actually have some U12 players here, and their technical ability and tactical awareness has really somewhat surprised me,” Mellor said. “They really know how to play the game, and I think it was an exceptional weekend for those 12, 13 and 14-year-olds in particular, and then the 15s and 16s more than held their own.” 


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    Wilmington Hammerheads News Release -- www.wilmingtonhammerheads.com

    Wednesday, March 6, 2013

    WILMINGTON, N.C. – With the 2013 USL PRO regular season right around the corner, the Wilmington Hammerheads have announced the addition of two returning players, midfielder Daniel Roberts and defender Christian Davidson. Both former athletes at the University North Carolina Wilmington, the duo will continue their careers in the same community that has watched them develop and succeed as players.

    Wilmington Hammerheads head coach David Irving feels strongly about watching UNCW athletes progress and transition into the professional ranks within Wilmington. “I feel it is important to keep UNCW players after they graduate to play with the Hammerheads,” said Irving. “Overall, it shows their strong commitment to the community and their fans.”

    For those that know the Hammerheads best, many will say Roberts and Davidson, although they are individuals, are a package deal when it comes to soccer - their experience playing on the pitch with one another over the years serves as a double-threat to the opposition. Irving first signed Roberts and Davidson for their debut USL PRO season in 2012.

    “I am glad that we are able to bring back Daniel and Christian this season,” said Irving. “Both were unfortunate in the past with injuries. Now, injury-free, they will be real assets to the team.”

    Roberts, whom suffered a hamstring injury during the 2012 preseason that carried on into the start of the regular season, is looking to start off his 2013 season on a more positive condition.

    “I am excited to be returning for my second year with the Hammerheads,” Roberts said. “I am very thankful again for the opportunity and I am really looking forward to the season ahead. We hope to build on last year’s success and look forward to performing well in front of the best fans in the league.”

    Davidson traveled to Scotland after the finish of the 2013 season for international experience with Celtic during the offseason.

    Davidson and Roberts’ former men’s soccer coach at UNCW, Aidan Heaney, is especially excited to see both players remain in Wilmington.

    “I am delighted that Daniel and Christian have re-signed with the Hammerheads,” said Heaney. “They are two great signings as they are both talented players – Daniel is technically superb, with wonderful passing ability and vision….very creative. Christian is a strong defender, who has the ability to play with both feet, is supremely fit and is coming off a stint overseas with Celtic in Scotland. Talent is obviously the main characteristic of top players, but both these guys possess the intangibles of strong character, dedication and determination to play at the professional level.”

    For further information about the upcoming 2013 season, please contact the Wilmington Hammerheads at (910)777-2111 or www.wilmingtonhammerheads.com.


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  • 03/06/13--12:45: Furman's DeVita Joins Cobras
  • Carolina Elite Cobras News Release – www.carolinaelitecobras.com

    Wednesday, March 6, 2013

    COLUMBIA, S.C. - The Carolina Elite Cobras of the W-League announced the signing of 2012 Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Year Stephanie DeVita today. DeVita, a native of Simpsonville, S.C. and a former Hillcrest High School standout, completed her freshman season at Furman University leading the SoCon in goals (19), total points (42) and game-winning goals (7) in 20 games.

    She was named SoCon Offensive Player of the Year and Freshman Player of the Year and became only the fourth player in league history to earn both awards in the same season. She ranked second in the nation in goals, third in game-winning goals, and led all freshman in Division I with 19 goals, scoring at least once in 16 of Furman's 20 regular-season matches.

    "Steph was my first big addition this season with the Cobras,” Cobras Head Coach Sandy Burris said. “She had a dream season in her freshman year as a Paladin at Furman. I can't wait to get her in a training session with the Cobras and watch her work; we know she will do great things as a Cobra.”

    To Learn More about the Cobras and follow continuing developments, player announcements, and community activities, follow the team on facebook at: www.facebook.com/CarolinaEliteCobras, on Twitter @CE_Cobras, or visit the team website at www.carolinaelitecobras.com.
     


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    Major League Soccer Round-Up

    Wednesday, March 6, 2013

    For the opening half-hour against the Philadelphia Union, Sporting Kansas City didn’t look like the side that finished first in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference and won the U.S. Open Cup a season ago. Fortunately for Peter Vermes’ side, it was then that Graham Zusi asserted his quality, leading his side to a 3-1 victory to open the 2013 MLS season, earning a place on the MLS Team of the Week announced on Tuesday.

    The former Central Florida Kraze standout, who played a pair of season in the PDL in 2005-06, first tied the game in the 41st minute, rifling home the rebound after Zac MacMath could only parry Benny Feilhaber’s initial effort.

    Zusi then provided the assist on what proved to be the game-winner, floating a free kick into the penalty area for Uri Rosell to head home. He also picked up a second assist as his cross found former Ventura County Fusion defender Chance Myers deep in the Philadelphia penalty area, who cut his cross back to Claudio Bieler for a third.

    Zusi’s standout performance overshadowed Sebastian Le Toux’s return to the Union, with the former USL First Division MVP scoring the opening goal of the MLS season as he gave Philadelphia the lead in the 17th minute. The contest also saw the MLS debut of former Orlando City standout Mechack Jerome, who came on as a late substitute for Sporting Kansas City after his acquisition last week from the Lions.

    Three other former PDL standouts joined Zusi on the MLS Team of the Week, with former Cleveland Internationals standout Darlington Nagbe earning a berth after helping the Portland Timbers rally to earn a 3-3 draw against the New York Red Bulls. FC Dallas’ Matt Hedges, an All-League selection for reading United in 2010, also earned as berth, as did 2012 All-League selection DeAndre Yedlin of the Sounders FC U23 as he made his debut for the club’s senior side.

    Yedlin wasn’t the only former PDL standout to make his debut, with the Austin Aztex’s Kekuta Manneh and Dillon Powers both earning starting roles for the Vancouver Whitecaps and Colorado Rapids, respectively. Powers was joined in the Rapids’ starting lineup by Deshorn Brown, who had a solid debut for the Rapids after leading the PDL with 13 goals in 2012 for Reading United.

    Former Portland Timbers U-23s standouts Erik Hurtado and Emery Welshman also shared the same field, with both coming on as second-half substitutes for Vancouver and Toronto respectively as the Whitecaps took a 1-0 victory at B.C. Place. Former Washington Crossfire midfielder Adam Jahn also made his debut, coming on as a substitute for the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday night.

    Elsewhere, former Cleveland International standout Josh Williams found the back of the net as the Columbus Crew took a 3-0 victory against Chivas USA, as did former Richmond Kickers Futures forward Dominic Oduro. 


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    U.S. Soccer News Release -- www.ussoccer.com

    Tuesday, March 5, 2013

    CHICAGO – The largest field of teams and a significant increase in prize money highlight the 100th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, which kicks off May 7.

    The 2013 tournament features 68 teams, an increase from the 64 that competed last year, marking the largest field in the modern era (1995-present). This year also marks the second-consecutive year in which all U.S. based Division I, II and III teams will participate in the tournament proper: 16 from Major League Soccer, six from the North American Soccer League and 12 from USL PRO.

    The amount of prize money distributed will also see a substantial increase, with the overall champion earning a total of $250,000 (up from $100,000 in recent years). The tournament runner-up will receive $60,000 (up from $50,000) and the team that advances the furthest from each lower division will win $15,000 (up from $10,000).

    Another significant change for 2013 is the process for determining the site for the Open Cup tournament semifinals and final. In past years, the sites for the final three matches of the tournament had been determined through a sealed-bid process, but this year the hosts of those games will be determined by a coin flip. Home teams throughout the entire tournament will be determined by random selection.

    Beyond the Division I, II, and III teams, the remaining 34 spots in the tournament field will be filled by amateur teams from the Adult Council category. There will be 16 from the Premier Development League, eight from U.S. Adult Soccer Association regional qualifying, eight from the National Premier Soccer League, one from US Club Soccer and one from the United States Specialty Sports Association. Entry deadline for all amateur teams is March 15.

    The tournament will begin with the Play-In Round to be completed by May 7 and will culminate with the tournament final, which will take place on Oct. 1 or 2.

    2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Facts:
    • Largest field of teams (68) in tournament proper in competition's modern era (1995-present), eclipsing previous record of 64 (2012)
    • Second consecutive year in modern era where all U.S.-based Division I, II and III professional clubs will participate in tournament proper
    • Home teams through entire tournament to be determined by random selection (change from sealed bid process for semifinals and final)
    • Largest field of professional teams (34) in tournament proper in competition's modern era, eclipsing previous record of 32 (2012)
    • Largest field of amateur teams (34) in tournament proper in competition's modern era, surpassing previous record of 32 (2012).

    Tournament Format and Match Dates

    Qualifying Deadline
    Date: April 28

    Play-In Round
    Number of Games: 2
    Date: May 7
    One NPSL team will take on the US Club Soccer representative, while a second NPSL team faces the USSSA representative.

    First Round
    Number of Games: 18
    Date: May 14
    Two winners from Play-In Round join remaining 30 Adult Council category teams and four USL PRO teams (Dayton Dutch Lions, Pittsburgh Riverhounds and expansion sides Phoenix FC Wolves and VSI Tampa Bay FC).

    Second Round
    Number of Games: 16
    Date: May 21
    Eighteen (18) winners from First Round join remaining eight USL PRO clubs and six NASL teams.

    Third Round
    Number of Games: 16
    Date: May 28
    Sixteen (16) winners from Second Round are paired against 16 MLS sides.

    Fourth Round
    Number of Games: 8
    Date: June 12
    Sixteen (16) winners from Third Round face each other.

    Quarterfinals
    Date: June 26
    Fourth Round winners face each other.

    Semifinals
    Date: Aug. 7 or 21
    Quarterfinal winners face each other.

    Final
    Date: Oct. 1 or 2  


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  • 03/07/13--12:50: Aztex Announce Four Signings
  • Austin Aztex News Release -- www.austinaztex.com

    Thursday, March 7, 2013

    AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin Aztex have announced four players who will join the club for the 2013 PDL season, including two first-year players in Seth Casiple and Robbie Derschang. They join Tony Rocha and Devin Cook, who return from the 2012 squad.

    “We are excited to bring on players of this caliber to the squad,” Aztex Head Coach Paul Dalglish said. “Having Under-20 national team pool players, and players from last season, shows the high bar that we are looking for in our players.”

    Casiple, a 19-year-old sophomore from Rocklin, Calf. and midfielder at the University of California Berkeley, joins the Aztex after leading the Golden Bears in assists last season with seven. Casiple trained with the U.S. U20 Men’s national team twice in early 2012 after a stellar freshman season, where he was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year. That season, Casiple led the conference in assists much of the season all while being the only freshman to start all 17 games for the Golden Bears. Casiple was also named All-Pac-12 honorable mention and named to the Soccer America All-Freshman team. Prior to college, Casiple trained with the Men’s U18 teams in 2010 and joined the 2010 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Western Conference Starting XI.

    Derschang, a 20-year-old defender from Englewood, Colo., started 12 games in his junior season for the Akron University Zips. Prior to arriving in Akron, Derschang was a two-year starter for Southern Methodist University, where he was named to Top Drawer Soccer’s Freshman All-American Team and the Conference USA All-Freshman Team in 2010. Derschang helped lead the Mustangs to two NCAA tournaments, including a semifinal finish in 2010.

    Rocha, from Houston, returns to the Austin Aztex squad after helping Tulsa advance to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in 2012. The 19-year-old player moved to defense during his sophomore season, scoring one game-winning goal and adding six assists. One year earlier, Rocha was selected as the Conference-USA Freshman of the Year before joining the Aztex for their inaugural season. Once with the Aztex, Rocha scored two goals and added two assists in seven games played. The two goals came in Austin’s first game against the Texas Dutch Lions, earning Rocha a spot on the USL PDL’s Team of the Week.

    Cook, a 19-year-old goalkeeper from Austin, returns to the Austin Aztex after helping the squad make a late-season push to the USL PDL’s Southern Conference Championship game in 2012. Cook earned five wins in eight appearances for the Aztex, allowing only three goals. Cook joins fellow Aztex team member Damian Rosales from SMU. Cook is a product of the Lonestar SC in Austin.

    The Austin Aztex kick off the 2013 United Soccer League’s PDL season with an away match on Saturday, May 11 in the Mid South division against Oklahoma City FC. The Aztex will open the club’s PDL home schedule on Saturday, May 18 at House Park versus the Houston Dutch Lions.


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    Harrisburg City Islanders News Release -- www.cityislanders.com

    Wednesday, March 6, 2013

    HERSHEY, Pa. – Philadelphia Union and the Harrisburg City Islanders today announced that the clubs have expanded their partnership, allowing players to stay, practice and play vital games along their USL PRO counterparts for an extended period of time, possibly the entire length of the USL PRO campaign.

    “Having meaningful competitions at levels below MLS is absolutely critical to the development of aspiring players in North America," said Philadelphia Union CEO & Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz. "This partnership sets the stage toward building robust and successful levels below MLS to not only develop players but also, referees and soccer executives.”

    Similar to Major League Baseball’s farm system, the Union can send First Team players down to Harrisburg for development, to gain extra playing time or to regain fitness following an injury. The player would still be a member of the Union’s roster and the club would hold all rights to the player, as well as be responsible for the players’ salaries.

    “This is a great opportunity to create a system to develop better players and organizations at all levels,” states Eric Pettis, CEO Harrisburg City Islanders. “Our partnership is a tremendous example of seeing a bigger vision of what the total development of soccer can be. Creating a system to strengthen the sport much like baseball is imperative to the continued growth in this country. The City Islanders are extremely proud to be a partner with the Philadelphia Union at the inception of this agreement between the MLS and USL PRO.”

    Per an announcement made on January 23 by Major League Soccer and USL PRO, MLS teams now have the opportunity to formally partner with USL PRO clubs to further player development. The Union are one of four MLS teams to pilot this new program, with Sporting Kansas City linking up with Orlando City, D.C. United pairing with the Richmond Kickers and the New England Revolution partnering with the Rochester Rhinos. The Union will no longer field a Reserve League team, instead incorporating reserve players into the City Islanders to help the team compete for a USL PRO championship.

    MLS sides without formal USL PRO affiliates will send their Reserve teams to participate in interleague competition with USL PRO squads. Matches between these MLS Reserve teams and USL PRO sides will count in both the official USL PRO and MLS Reserve League standings.

    The agreement extends beyond just the players, as both the technical and front office staffs will exchange tips and best practices throughout the year. The clubs will also still hold their annual friendly match in Harrisburg. The date of the 2013 match-up will be announced at a later date.

    Officially signed in March of 2010, the original partnership provided the Union with an option to loan players to Harrisburg for increased playing time, as well as scout up and coming talent, such as Union starting right back Sheanon Williams, who suited up for the City Islanders in 2010.

    The City Islanders and the Union’s PDL affiliate, Reading United, are the second to last stop in the Union’s “Path to PPL Park” development model, which takes players from youth soccer to the professional ranks with a variety of steps designed to help players reach their full potential.


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