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News from USL

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  • 04/10/13--09:56: Irwin Shines For Rapids
  • MLS Round-Up

    Wednesday, April 10, 2013

    The ascent for Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin has certainly been a rapid one.

    In 2012, the 24-year-old was a backup for the Charlotte Eagles in USL PRO, making spot starts to spell Eric Reed in the league and starring in the Eagles’ run to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup as he played a key role in victories against FC Dallas and the San Antonio Scorpions.

    A year on, just as he did for the Eagles, Irwin has made his own good fortune. After an injury to Rapids starter Matt Pickens on April 16 saw Irwin plunged into the Rocky Mountain Cup rivalry against Real Salt Lake, he hasn’t flinched in the spotlight. After another standout performance against RSL this past weekend, Irwin was named to the MLS Team of the Week for the second consecutive week.

    Irwin earned the honor thanks to his first shutout in MLS, which came thanks to a penalty save against Alvaro Saborio that allowed an early goal by Atiba Harris to stand in a 1-0 victory. Irwin gave credit after the game to Rapids goalkeeper coach Chris Sharpe, who had given him a scouting report on RSL’s penalty takers in the week leading up to the game, and he dove to his left to push the Costa Rican international’s effort onto the post before it was cleared to safety.

    “I was just extremely happy,” Irwin told “The past couple games we’ve had two penalties, and I’ve come close to saving them, and honestly I was just sick of having PKs scored on me. We worked on it this week, saving PKs, and it really just comes down to the preparation that the coaches have provided. Give a ton of credit to them for putting me in a good position to make the save.”

    Irwin, who also previously played for the Carolina Dynamo in the PDL while at Elon University, now has a 1.02 goals-against average in his four appearances this season.

    Other USL alumni named to the Team of the Week included former PDL standout Darlington Nagbe, who played a key role in the Portland Timbers’ 2-0 victory against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday night. The former Cleveland International completed 49 of 57 passes against the Dynamo, and provided the assist on Ryan Johnson’s second goal of the evening.

    Also selected was former Orange County Blue star standout Luis Silva, who helped Toronto FC come back from a two-goal deficit against FC Dallas. The midfielder, who is making his way back from injury, came on in the second half for the Reds to great effect, providing energy and putting Dallas on the back foot to help his side earn a point.

    Former Austin Aztex midfielder Dillon Powers was also honored on Tuesday, taking’s Rookie of the Week award after playing an important role in Colorado’s win against RSL. Playing as one of the Rapids’ holding midfielders, Powers was all over the field on Saturday, completing 34 of 45 passes, winning five headers and recovering possession for his side five times in the contest.

    Elsewhere, former Wilmington Hammerheads forward Corey Hertzog, who earned All-USL PRO First Team honors last season, scored his first goal in his return to MLS as the Vancouver Whitecaps earned a 1-1 draw against the San Jose Earthquakes. Also finding the back of the net was former PDL standout Dominic Oduro, who earned the Columbus Crew a 1-1 draw with the Philadelphia Union. 

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    Next Generation Series News Release

    Tuesday, April 9, 2013

    TAMPA, Fla. – The Next Generation Series has announced its inaugural conference lineup as it prepares for its debut in August. The Southeast Conference will be split into three divisions and will feature clubs from Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and the Carolinas. The Mid-South Conference will include clubs from Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana.

    NextGen is a joint venture between USL and IMG Academy featuring a forward-looking, innovative, comprehensive, and unique development program designed to develop the complete elite youth soccer player through a defined regimen of training, competition, testing, and evaluation.

    Thus far, Atlanta Fire United, Georgia Rush, Jacksonville Youth Soccer Club, Knoxville Soccer Academy and FC Nashville have been accepted for the inaugural NextGen season and will each place four teams in the ground-breaking league for 2013-14.

    “We are excited about the initial list of clubs that have been accepted into the Next Generation Series, and we’re looking forward to additional announcements as preparations for the 2013-14 season begin,” NextGen Director Abe Thompson said. “The idea is to give the players an avenue to develop through challenging competition, while exposing them at a younger age to the sort of evaluation and education they will encounter as they progress beyond youth club soccer - to youth national teams, college, professional teams, and the full national team.”

    The 2013 NextGen format will consist of U12 and U14 boys and girls teams participating in an eight-month season beginning in August and culminating in April that will feature two evaluation/competition events at IMG. More than just another youth soccer league, top players will be identified through the NextGen Player Tracking Program and invited to attend the NextGen ID Training Camp at IMG presenting the unique opportunity for these elite soccer players to showcase their talents and train with distinguished IMG and NextGen coaches.

    The inspiration for NextGen was the repeated and consistent message received from top youth soccer clubs and coaches that they were seeking a fresh development initiative specifically geared toward younger teams and players. NextGen was launched to fill the void by providing a comprehensive platform for clubs to best prepare their young players for the challenges which await them at the next level.

    The world’s largest and most advanced multi-sport training and education complex, IMG Academy hosted myriad soccer team training camps in 2012, including clubs such as the Seattle Sounders, D.C. United, Columbus Crew, Sweden’s Malmö FF, as well as the U.S. Women’s National Team preparing for the London Olympic Games and the Antigua & Barbuda Men’s National Team preparing for World Cup qualifying.

    To learn more about the Next Generation Series please visit

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  • 04/10/13--16:42: Rams Partner With Revolution
  • New England Revolution News Release --

    Wednesday, April 10, 2013

    FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution (Major League Soccer) and Real Boston Rams (USL Premier Development League) have entered into a partnership that makes the Rams the official USL PDL affiliate of the Revolution.

    The affiliation agreement allows college-aged Revolution Academy youth team products the opportunity to play for the Rams during their PDL season. Additionally, members of the Revolution Academy’s youth teams’ technical staff will assist the Rams’ coaching staff to help oversee the Revolution players’ continued development during the summer months.

    “We’re pleased to establish a partnership with Real Boston Rams,” Revolution general manager Michael Burns said. “Previously, our college-aged Academy players did not have a local outlet to play games during the summer under our supervision since they could not play with our reserve team. With this agreement with Real Boston Rams, we now have the opportunity to continue our Academy players’ development locally through their college years and help them maintain their Homegrown protected status with our club.”

    “We are delighted to partner with the New England Revolution,” Real Boston Rams general manager John Barata said. “The Revs are one of MLS’ leading clubs in player development and our affiliation agreement is the perfect complement as both clubs have congruent development goals. We look forward to building a long-term alliance that will provide multiple benefits for both clubs as we grow and develop professional soccer players in our region.”

    In order to be signed by an MLS first team without going through the MLS draft process, academy products must maintain Homegrown protected status throughout their time in college. This can be accomplished by training with their club for a designated number of days throughout the year, or continuing to play for a team in the club’s developmental pyramid, including USL PDL and Under-23 teams.

    In previous years, a select number of Revolution Academy players – all high-school aged – could play in MLS Reserve League games as members of the Revolution. However, because of NCAA rules, college-aged Academy products cannot play with their MLS teams in the reserve league; they can only train with their professional first teams during school breaks, or play with the club’s development partners, to maintain Homegrown protected status.

    With the agreement with Real Boston Rams, college-aged Revolution Academy products will now have the opportunity to continue playing under the auspices of the Revolution, allowing them to maintain Homegrown protection while playing competitively in the summer. They may still maintain their Homegrown protection by training with the Revolution for at least the prescribed number of days.

    “Our relationship with the Rams provides a valuable opportunity for our returning college players to train and play meaningful games locally during the summer,” Revolution director of youth development and Under-16 head coach Bryan Scales said. “Our first-team and Academy coaches, in conjunction with the Rams’ technical staff, will be able to train and monitor the development of our college-aged players as they progress from the Revolution Academy, to college, through the Real Boston Rams, and eventually into MLS with the Revolution.”

    Real Boston Rams’ season begins May 11, 2013, with their first regular-season game against CFC Azul, and runs through the beginning of August when most players return to their colleges for preseason training. The Rams play their home games at Oliver Ames High School in Easton, Mass. 

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  • 04/10/13--22:58: Davis Lifts Blues Past Lions
  • Wednesday, April 10, 2013

    FULLERTON, Calif. – The LA Blues' George Davis IV scored his second goal of the season against his former team, and Blues goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski put in a man-of-the-match performance as the Los Angeles Blues defeated Orlando City 1-0 on Wednesday evening. The victory was the Blues' second in as many games at Titan Stadium, and handed the Lions their first defeat of the season.

    The game-winning goal came in the 80th minute as Davis got on the end of a ball sent over the top of the Lions’ defense by Gabriel Gonzalez. Davis was able to hold off a challenge by Yann Songo'o and round Orlando goalkeeper Jon Kempin befoe finishing into an empty net.

    “It was a tough game. We knew that we would have to take advantage of our chances,” Davis said. “I had that chance on goal – I knew I had to take advantage of it. I had to be as cool and calm as I could, and put it in the net.”

    Woszczynski kept his side in the game with seven saves in the first half, the first coming in the 15th minute. Two minutes later, Long Tan came had a chance to score, but again Woszczynski shut him down. Woszczynski also had to be sharp later in the half as Tan and Dom Dwyer both had chances to break in on goal, the 6-foot-5 goalkeeper getting off his line quickly to narrow the angle and save on both occasions.

    “I had a lot of action in the first half," said Woszczynski. "Overall, it was a great team effort. Ninety minutes, everyone worked hard. That’s what it takes to beat a team like Orlando City.”

    The Blues started the second half on the attack. A defensive mistake by Orlando caused a turnover to the feet of former Lions midfielder Rodrigo Lopez, but Kempin was able to deny him, earning a free kick as the pair collided inside the penalty area. The Lions regained control just past the hour-mark, and much like the first half put the Blues on the defensive. Blues’ defenders Shay Spitz and Matt Hall both had to make key defensive clearances in the 65th and 66th minutes respectively.

    Orlando had one final chance to grab a goal, and a share of the points, after Davis had opened the scoring as Dwyer turned his defender well and broke in on goal. The Sporting Kansas City loanee broke in on Woszczynski, but lifted his chip over the crossbar as well as the goalkeeper.

    The Blues start a three-game road trip next as they head out to Phoenix FC on Sunday night at 7:30 p.m. PT at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium. Orlando returns to Florida for its home opener at the Florida Citrus Bowl, also on Sunday, as the Lions host the Rochester Rhinos at 6 p.m. ET.

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    Richmond Kickers News Release --

    Thursday, April 11, 2013

    RICHMOND, Va. – The Richmond Kickers are pleased to announce the signing of former Major League Soccer forward and Zimbabwean International Joseph Ngwenya, pending USSF approval.

    “We are excited to bring Joe to Richmond,” said Leigh Cowlishaw, Richmond Kickers Director of Soccer. “He's a proven goalscorer with a wealth of MLS and international experience. He has all the qualities to be a very dangerous forward for us this season. We look forward to him joining the team in time for the Battery match.”

    Ngwenya brings eight years of professional experience to Richmond, having begun his career when he was chosen third overall in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft by Los Angeles Galaxy. After making 38 appearances in LA over two seasons, he was traded to Columbus Crew where he played 20 games, tallying five goals and two assists in 2006. One year later, he helped the Houston Dynamo win the 2007 MLS Cup at RFK Stadium, scoring the first goal in a 2-1 victory over the New England Revolution. Following the season, he moved to Austria and then Turkey before rejoining Houston in 2010 to make 12 appearances and score once. D.C. United selected Ngwenya with the first pick in the inaugural MLS Re-Entry Draft, where he made 16 appearances with the Black-and-Red in 2011.

    Setting Coastal Carolina University records in goals (66) and points (164), Ngwenya finished third in school history in assists (32). Leading the Big South in points, goals and assists as a senior, the 2003 Hermann Trophy finalist was named Soccer America National Player of the Year, Soccer Times National Player of the Year, Big South Player of the Year, NCASS/adidas All-America First Team and Big South Scholar Athlete of the Year.

    Don't miss a minute of exciting Kickers Pro action as their 21st season continues this Saturday, April 13. Richmond Kickers season passes offer unbeatable value, VIP benefits and incredibly low prices to all regular season home games. Guaranteed to see at least 13 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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  • 04/11/13--15:49: Delicâte Returns To Kickers
  • Richmond Kickers News Release --

    Thursday, April 11, 2013

    RICHMOND, Va. – The Richmond Kickers are pleased to announce that the club’s all-time leading scorer, Matthew Delicâte, will return for the 2013 season, pending USSF approval.

    “Deli is our final player signing for 2013 and we could not be more pleased,” said Leigh Cowlishaw, Richmond Kickers Director of Soccer. “We've never seen him more motivated to make an impact and we are sure he will have one of his most productive seasons ever in a Kickers uniform.”

    Entering his seventh season with the Kickers, Delicâte eclipsed the franchise’s all-time scoring record in 2012, notching 65 goals and 18 assists in 161 appearances. The three-time All-League First Team honoree has been one of the top goal scorers in the league since his Kickers professional debut in 2004. Spending the 2006, 2007 and 2008 seasons with the Rochester Rhinos, the native of Kent, England returned to Richmond in 2009, leading the club to back-to-back Championship appearances.

    The 2003 CAA Player of the Year, Delicâte holds the career record at Virginia Commonwealth University with 44 goals and 13 assists and is the first player to reach the century mark in career points (101).

    Don't miss a minute of exciting Kickers Pro action as their 21st season continues this Saturday, April 13. Richmond Kickers season passes offer unbeatable value, VIP benefits and incredibly low prices to all regular season home games. Guaranteed to see at least 13 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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    Sounders Women News Release -

    Thursday, April 11, 2013

    TUKWILA, Wash. – The Sounders Women announced today the signings of attacking midfielder Sara Campbell and defender Brigit Reder for the 2013 W-League season. Campbell comes to the Sounders Women after three years of professional soccer in Sweden and Australia. Reder is a 2012 graduate of Ball State University, where she set a school record for minutes played.

    Brigit Reder“Reder and Campbell are fantastic signings for the Sounders. Both players will have a calming influence on the group,” Head Coach and GM Hubert Busby Jr. said.

    Campbell, 25, played 69 matches for the University of Montana, earning 1st Team All-Big Sky accolades before graduating in 2008. An experienced W-League player with Chicago and Colorado while in college, Campbell then applied her trade in Australia and, most recently, with Kvarnsvedens IK, in Sweden.

    “Sarah is a welcomed addition to the team," Busby said. "Her ability to play multiple positions will be a valuable asset to the team this season. Her experience and maturity will benefit our younger players as well.”

    Reder, 22, comes to the Sounders Women from the Western New York Flash of NWSL. Reder missed only 11 minutes during her senior year at Ball State University. The center back helped bring Ball State from winless in the conference her freshman year to a 5-3-3 MAC record in 2012.

    The 5-foot-9 defender also showed her skill with 11 goals during her time in college. She scored a hat trick in 2011 against Lamar University.

    “We are pleased to add Brigit Reder to our squad this season,” Busby said. “Brigit has tremendous leadership qualities, and technically she fits into the philosophy of how we want our defenders to play.”

    Both Reder and Campbell will bring experience and intelligence to the Sounders Women. Campbell holds a Masters of Science in Sports Recreation and Fitness Management, while Reder graduated from Ball State with a 3.9 GPA.

    The Sounders Women open their preseason on April 14 against Oregon State University. Single-match and season tickets are currently on sale on

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    VSI Tampa Bay FC News Release --

    Friday, April 12, 2013

    TAMPA, Fla. – VSI Tampa Bay FC's first home game in franchise history is set for Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. at Plant City Stadium as the club welcomes the Rochester Rhinos after completing a three-game road trip last weekend.

    After a fast-paced construction process of Plant City Stadium, involving a mobile trailer, tons of clay, sod, fencing and more, VSI Tampa Bay FC is set to move into their new home. Located less than three miles from Interstate-4, Plant City Stadium has undergone a beautiful transformation from an old baseball field to a new soccer pitch.

    Tampa Bay went 1-2-0 in its road trip to start the season, earning the first victory in club history against the LA Blues. Antonio Neto scored the first goal in club history in the 1-0 win, while Mauricio Salles was named to the USL PRO Team of the Week after a pair of strong performances that saw him also find the back of the net against the Portland Timbers Reserves last Sunday. 

    VSI will set foot on its new turf on Friday evening for a light practice session and again the morning of April 13 for a walk through session.

    The Rhinos arrive in Tampa getting set to open their season. VSI’s home opener is the start of a five game away stretch for Rochester. Rochester has back-to-back game nights as they take on Orlando City on Sunday evening at 6 p.m. Rochester was one of four USL PRO clubs to enter a partnership with a club from Major League Soccer this offseason, and has four players from the New England Revolution with the squad. The Rhinos also have one of the best defenses in USL PRO returning, with 2012 Goalkeeper of the Year Kristian Nicht and Defender of the Year Troy Roberts leading the way.

    Alessi Catering will provide Plant City Stadium catering and special guests of the match include the first purchaser of a VSI Tampa Bay FC ticket, the Under 9 Boys soccer team from youth club affiliate VSI West Florida Flames, Florida College National Anthem singers, UNation and more.

    Saturday evening’s match will be aired on EstrellaTV and USL LIVE. EstrellaTV is found on the following channels: Digital 32.3 and Brighthouse 627. To watch online visit

    Tickets to the match are $10 for adults and $5 for children. This week tickets are buy one get one of equal or lesser value. To order tickets visit or the gates open at 6 p.m.

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    MBS News Release -

    Friday, April 12, 2013

    TAMPA, Fla. – Major Beach Soccer has announced a partnership with the Long Island Rough Riders and their Beach Bash beach soccer tournament. Champions from the second annual Beach Bash event will earn a spot at the 2013 MBS National Championships, set for December 14-15 at beautiful Clearwater Beach, Florida. This partnership will add to the existing and highly successful Soccer in the Sand/MBS Championship partnership.

    Currently in its second year, Beach Bash featured more than 80 teams ranging from U9 to adult coed in 2012, and will once again be held on New York’s Jones Beach. The tournament will feature two qualifying weekends in 2013 (July 20 and August 3), with the champions in the U14 and older age groups qualifying for the MBS National Championships. (2013 Beach Bash information)

    “We are proud to be working with the USL to be on the forefront of the development of beach soccer in the United States,” Long Island Rough Riders President Peter Zaratin said. “We are excited to offer teams from the northeast the opportunity to qualify for the USL Major Beach Soccer Championship in December.”

    The third annual MBS National Championship will set the bar even higher with the addition of the Coed Over 30 Division to go along with the U14 through U18 boys and girls divisions. The inaugural MBS National Championship in 2011 featured 12 teams, with that number growing to 38 in 2012.

    Major Beach Soccer is in its 23rd year of bringing the top beach soccer tournament action to Florida’s shores. Registration is now open at for this year’s qualifying tournaments in Daytona Beach (June 14-16), Clearwater Beach (July 12-14) and Fort Myers Beach (July 27-28).

    “We’re delighted to have a longtime USL partner such as the Long Island Rough Riders becoming a part of the MBS National Championship,” MBS Director Peter Mellor said. “The addition of the Beach Bash qualifiers will further raise the level of competition, and we are in talks with other beach soccer events from throughout the country.”

    MBS is supported by Nike, Saint Leo University, the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission, Volusia County, the Lee County Sports Authority, Soccer on the Beach, Soccer in the Sand, and Farpost Goals.

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  • 04/12/13--14:19: Kickers Host Rival Battery
  • Richmond Kickers News Release --

    Friday, April 12, 2013

    RICHMOND, Va. – The Richmond Kickers return to City Stadium this Saturday night when they host the defending USL PRO Champions the Charleston Battery at 7 p.m. The enhanced game day experience begins when the gates open at 6 p.m. with live music from The People's Blues of Richmond, draft beer trucks, Richmond's legendary Food Trucks and a new and improved Family Zone. Tickets are on sale now at

    “Kickers versus Battery games are always fiercely contested affairs,” said Leigh Cowlishaw, Richmond Kickers Director of Soccer. “Hosting the reigning USL PRO Champions this early in the season provides an additional entertainment aspect to the match-up. Even though our opening game was a solid effort, we all know we need to improve upon last week's performance.”

    The Kickers opened their 21st season last Saturday when they battled the Pittsburgh Riverhounds to a scoreless draw, while the Battery kick off their 2013 campaign on the road at City Stadium this week.

    The Kickers meet their longtime rivals for the first time since swapping 2-1 home-and0home victories last season. Saturday’s game marks the 47th meeting between the two clubs over the last 21 years, with the series deadlocked at 21 wins, 21 losses and four draws. Despite combining for seven league Championship titles (Charleston 1996, 2003, 2010, 2012; Richmond 1995, 2006, 2009), the two sides have only met in one high-stakes match, when the Battery claimed their third league crown in a heated 2-1 affair on August 28, 2010.

    Rivals since 1993, Richmond and Charleston, alongside fellow USL PRO side Charlotte Eagles are the longest, continuously operating professional soccer clubs in the country. The Kickers first-ever league match against the Battery was on May 1, 1993 at Stoney Field in downtown Charleston. The Battery claimed the 2-1 victory behind goals from Mario Lone and Nigel James, with current head coach Leigh Cowlishaw notching the lone goal for the Kickers.

    Players to Watch
    Kickers: Midfielder Nate Robinson made his professional debut last weekend, starting against Pittsburgh. Signing just 24 hours before the Kickers home opener, Robinson was discovered at the Kickers 2013 Pro Combine after spending the 2012 season with the PDL’s Michigan Bucks. Forward Casey Townsend is scheduled to appear on loan from D.C. United. The former Chivas USA player and University of Maryland standout made his Kickers debut last weekend after notching three goals for the USL PRO side in preseason. After spending the offseason training with the Colorado Rapids, midfielder Luke Vercollone returns to Richmond for his sixth season. Splitting time between the defense and the midfield, the Kickers workhorse has made 127 appearances and accumulated nearly 11,000 minutes in Richmond while tallying six goals and 10 assists.

    Battery: The 2012 USL PRO Rookie of the Year, Jose Cuevas, returns to Charleston after finishing second on the team in scoring with seven goals and four assists for 18 points. He opened the 2012 season with a pair of goals against the Kickers at City Stadium. Cuban goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper recently signed with the Battery after defecting from the Cuban U23 National Team during 2012's Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Making seven appearances with the Cuban National Team, he previously played for FC Camagüey in Cuba’s domestic league. Veteran defender John Wilson returns for his 12th season with Charleston. Reversing a retirement decision prior to the 2011 season, Wilson resides in second place on the Battery’s all-time career list with 228 appearances and nearly 20,000 minutes played.

    2013 Richmond Kickers Season Passes
    Don't miss a minute of exciting Kickers Pro action as their 21st season continues this Saturday, April 13. Richmond Kickers season passes offer unbeatable value, VIP benefits and incredibly low prices to all regular season home games. Guaranteed to see at least 13 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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  • 04/12/13--14:06: Barsley Takes Next Step
  • Long Island Rough Riders News Release -

    Friday, April 12, 2013

    PLAINVIEW, N.Y. - Vaila Barsley, who played for the Long Island Rough Riders from 2009-10 and again in 2012, has made the next step in her career.

    In February, the former St. John’s women’s soccer standout made the transatlantic voyage for the second time in her career, this time to play professionally for Sweden’s Eskilstuna United. After two months of pre-season workouts and training, Barsley and Eskilstuna will begin a seven-month schedule that will keep the English native in Sweden until mid-October.

    “Vaila is an extremely talented player," Rough Riders Vice President Flavio Ferri said. "We, the Long Island Rough Riders, would like to congratulate her and wish her nothing but the best of luck in her career.”

    Barsley completed her five-year accounting bachelor’s/master’s degree in accounting from St. John’s University in 2011. She starred on the back line for the Rough Riders in 2012, earning selection to the 2012 W-League All-League Team.

    Barsley, a right-footed center back, had a successful career at St. John’s, where she was a part of the first Red Storm team to reach the NCAA Division I women's soccer tournament, in 2009. Barsley was named to the 2006 National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-Northeast Region second team, the 2006 All-Big East third team and the 2006 NSCAA Freshman All-American third team.

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    Pittsburgh Riverhounds News Release --

    Friday, April 12, 2013

    PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Riverhounds will make soccer history this Saturday night, when they open Highmark Stadium at 8:00 PM against intra-state rival, the Harrisburg City Islanders. The magnitude surrounding the first leg of the Keystone Derby, an intense battle between the two Pennsylvania-based clubs, is at an all-time high, as a sold out crowd will completely fill the impressive venue for the very first time.

    “The buzz around the City about Highmark Stadium and the organization brings me back to the franchise’s inaugural season in ’99,” said Head Coach Justin Evans on the historic match. “When you add the rivalry we have enjoyed with the City Islanders, it is certain to be a special night for soccer in Pittsburgh.”

    Historically a fan favorite, the Keystone Derby is circled at the beginning of the season by both clubs as the battle for Pennsylvania bragging rights. Always an intense and physical contest, the Derby demands that each player competes against his marker for a full ninety minutes, with the majority of recent matchups decided by late goals.

    With the Pittsburgh sports media fully embracing the event, the Riverhounds are fully aware of this unique opportunity to make a name for themselves in a major league sports town.

    According to Riverhounds CEO and player, Jason Kutney, the match on Saturday night will serve as a platform for a growing club.

    “Our group embarked upon a journey back in 2007 and that journey has led to Saturday night,” said Kutney as he walked through the facility on Thursday afternoon, evaluating still on-going final construction. “We’ll have thousands of spectators here on Saturday night, and in this moment, I can only hope that all of our hard work, energy, heart, and passion from the last several years will resonate with those in attendance.”

    Saturday’s match will be played in front of approximately 4,000 fans, including a group of 50 who are making the trip from Harrisburg. Welcoming these visitors into the confines of Highmark Stadium will be a highly reinvigorated Steel Army. The official supporters group of the Riverhounds since 2008, the Army will officially take ownership of their 502 seat supporters section, located behind the east end goal. With intimate seating just feet from the touchline, the atmosphere will certainly be hostile for the City Islanders as they enter the Pittsburgh’s city limits for the first time for a match.

    From live music performances to a ceremonial scarf giveaway to a post-match fireworks display presented by Pyrotecnico, Saturday will stand out in Pittsburgh sports history as a very special night.

    Riverhounds Last Time Out
    The Riverhounds opened their 2013 USL PRO season with a 0-0 draw last Saturday on the road against the Richmond Kickers at City Stadium. Earning their first point in Richmond in four years, the Riverhounds look to build off of this result and bring an exciting new brand of possession-oriented attack to the City of Champions.

    Riverhounds midfielder Ryan Kinne, defender Andrew Marshall, and goalkeeper Hunter Gilstrap were recognized by the league with Team of the Week honors from their stellar performances against the Kickers. Kinne led the visiting side with an impressive seven shots, including a long-distance strike that beat Kickers goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra, only to be denied by the woodwork in the 64th minute.

    City Islanders Outlook
    For the City Islanders, this will be the first match of the 2013 USL PRO season. The Isles return five key contributors from the 2012 campaign that went 9-7-7 and earned a ticket to the coveted post season for a third straight season. Goalkeeper Nick Noble, midfielders Andrew Welker and Jason Pelletier, along with forwards Sainey Touray and Lucky Mkosana will aim to lead the squad to another playoff berth.

    The City Islanders will utilize their affiliation with the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer with player loan agreements. The Isles have already secured Christian Hernandez, Jimmy McLaughlin, and Greg Jordan on loan from the Union for 2013.

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  • 04/14/13--00:33: Tampa Bay Wins Home Opener
  • Saturday, April 13, 2013

    PLANT CITY, Fla. – VSI Tampa Bay FC opened their newly converted home stadium at Plant City Stadium with a resounding 3-0 victory against the Rochester Rhinos on Saturday night. Karamba Janneh, Douglas Dos Santos and Andriy Budnyy scored for VSI as they handed the Rhinos defeat in their opening game of the season. 

    After a neck-and-neck first 45 minutes that saw neither team mount a successful attack, Janneh was able to put home a header in stoppage time of the first half to give his side the lead. The goal was Janneh's first as a professional. 

    The late first-half tally swung momentum Tampa Bay's way as VSI started the second half with a relentless attack and Rochester was unable to mount any consistent attacks of its own. Tampa Bay was able to double its advantage seven minutes after the break as Dos Santos drilled a shot into the upper-left corner of the goal from the top right corner of the penalty box.

    Not to be outdone, Budnyy blasted the final goal of the game past Rochester goalkeeper Kristian Nicht. The win was Tampa Bay's second of the season, moving it into a tie for first place in the USL PRO standings early in the season.

    VSI will next face the Los Angeles Blues in a rematch of the contest that netted them their first ever win on Sunday, April 21st at 6:30 p.m. The Rochester Rhinos now head to Orlando to face Orlando City at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday evening. This is the Rhinos second of five away games before they return to New York for their home opener on Saturday May 4, 2013 against the Harrisburg City Islanders at 7:05 p.m. ET.

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    Saturday, April 13, 2013

    RICHMOND, Va. – The Richmond Kickers captured three points at City Stadium on Saturday night with a 4-1 win against the defending USL PRO Champions Charleston Battery. Zimbabwean international Joseph Ngwenya opened the scoring and D.C. United forward Casey Townsend registered a pair of goals for the Kickers while Battery defender John Wilson’s tally prevented the shutout in front of 2,497 fans.

    The Kickers claimed an early lead when midfielder Luke Vercollone collected the ball in the midfield and found defender Taylor Kemp on the left wing. Splitting a pair of defenders with his well-timed pass, Kemp connected with Ngwenya who eluded a tackle and played the ball wide to Alex Lee at the far post. The Kickers newcomer whipped the ball back into the mix, finding Ngwenya in the air, who nodded the ball just over Charleston goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper’s outstretched hands to officially open his Kickers account in the 23rd minute.

    Ten minutes later, Kickers midfielder Mike Callahan carried the ball to the top of the box and fed it to Brian Ownby deep in Battery territory. The Richmond homegrown player played the ball back to an awaiting Townsend, positioned six yards out, who made no mistake from point blank range to double the score.

    Ownby nearly added to the home side’s lead three minutes later when he fed the ball to an onrushing Vercollone. The Kickers workhorse did not miss a beat when collecting the service and beat the ‘keeper as he charged off his line, but Battery defender Cody Ellison cleared the ball to safety just in time.

    Pressing forward, Wilson pulled a goal back for Charleston seconds before the halftime whistle when he combined with Mike Azira for a give-and-go at the top of the box. Azira received the ball and slotted it across the goalmouth as the Battery’s veteran defenseman calmly buried the return ball into the back of the net.

    Searching for the equalizer immediately after the restart, the Battery sliced through the midfield with a rapid succession of passes, ending with midfielder Nicki Paterson 12 yards out, only to see his low driven ball denied by the near post.

    The Kickers retaliated in the 68th minute as Townsend grabbed his second goal of the night. Battling for possession at the left edge of the box, midfielder Stanley Nyazamba muscled his way through traffic to feed the ball to the awaiting MLS veteran to elude Cooper once more.

    Kickers goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra weathered a barrage of chances in the last 10 minutes before an 87th minute Battery own goal clinched the 4-1 victory.

    The Richmond Kickers return to City Stadium next Saturday night to host the Rochester Rhinos at 7 p.m. Order tickets in advance at The Battery return home to 

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    Saturday, April 13, 2013

    PITTSBURGH -- In the inaugural game at Highmark Stadium in front of a sellout crowd, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds' Jose Angulo recorded the first ever goal in the 68th minute, but Harrisburg City Islanders' Sainey Touray and Lucky Mkosana spoiled his efforts. Two late second-half goals lifted the Islanders to a 2-1 victory against the Riverhounds in the first leg of the Keystone Derby on Saturday night.

    The match opened with a frantic pace and physical challenges, seeing Harrisburg’s Andrew Welker leave the game in the ninth minute with a knee injury. Without Welker, the visiting side earned the game’s first quality scoring chance four minutes later, but Riverhounds goalkeeper Hunter Gilstrap was up for the challenge to deny Tom Mellor an early goal.

    The Riverhounds emotions began to settle down in the 25th minute and they started to apply pressure on the City Islanders' back line. Their best chance came off an pass into forward Mike Seth, who freed Rich Costanzo down the left flank. Seth C’deBaca overlapped Costanzo and drove a left-footed shot to the back post for an on-rushing Ryan Kinne. The Islanders defense recovered quickly to head the ball over the goal line for a corner to deny Kinne. The ensuing corner kick was collected by City Islanders goalkeeper Nick Noble to thwart the Riverhounds.

    Following the intermission, the Riverhounds continued to attack with numbers. Entering the game in the 68th minute, Matt Dallman hooked up with Angulo just seconds after stepping on the field. Both Dallman and Angulo’s first touches were brilliant, leading to a seeing-eye header by Angulo. Dallman crossed the ball deep inside the right corner towards the penalty spot. Rising above his marker, Angulo’s header found the top left corner to provide the Riverhounds with the lead.

    Ten minutes later, a long through ball for Tourey provided the visiting side with the equalizer. Out-pacing his marker, Tourey poked the ball between Gilstrap’s legs and into the back of the net. In the closing minutes, the City Islanders took advantage of poor clearance by the Riverhounds defense. Picking the ball up just outside the penalty area, Christhian Hernandez delivered a left-footed cross for Mkosana standing alone at the penalty spot. Connecting cleanly on the full-volley with his left foot, Mkosana’s shot tucked just inside the left upright to put the visiting side up 2-1.

    With seconds remaining in regulation, C’deBaca drove a cross from right-to-left for Kinne at the back post. Taking a touch past his marker, Kinne struck a left-footed shot that trickled across the goal line that rolled just wide of the right post, leaving the Riverhounds unable to come away with a dramatic equalizer.

    The Riverhounds return to action next Saturday night when they travel to Dayton to meet the Dutch Lions at 7:30 p.m. ET. The City Islanders remain on the road next Saturday when they square off with the Colorado Rapids Reserves at 9 p.m. ET.

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    Sunday, April 14. 2013

    ORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando City began its home schedule in winning style Sunday night, topping the visiting Rochester Rhinos 3-1 at Fifth Third Bank Field at the Florida Citrus Bowl. The Lions (2-1-0) and Rhinos (0-2-0) had to withstand a combined two hours of stoppage due to severe weather in the area as Orlando took home its second win of the young 2013 USL PRO season.

    “I was confident that if we scored the first goal we’d be OK,” said Orlando City Head Coach Adrian Heath. “I love playing in the rain because the pace of the game picks up, so besides the wind I thought the conditions were fine.”

    A steady rain came down on the field at the start of the game, making for a fast-paced match between the two clubs. In the 13th minute, Orlando got their first scoring chance of the game as Dom Dwyer found 2012 USL PRO MVP Kevin Molino behind the Rochester backline. Molino’s effort went off the right post after Rhinos goalkeeper Kristian Nicht was lured out of his box due to the danger, with the pressure from Orlando continuing through the beginning of the first half.

    But as the rain continued and thunderclouds began to roll in, the match was postponed due to severe weather in the area in the 21st minute. The break lasted a total of 56 minutes, with the match resuming at 7:24 p.m. only to be postponed again minutes later. The game finally got underway at 8:30 p.m., totalling close to a two-hour delay.

    When play finally resumed, Orlando continued their strong pace of passing and possession. Midfielder Jamie Watson nearly capitalized on a chance in the 37th minute, finding an open lane just outside the 18-yard box, Nicht getting down to save well. The attacking continued, with it paying off for the Lions in stoppage time. After Molino followed up an attempt from Dwyer, Tan found the rebound, blasting his attempt past Nicht for the 1-0 lead.

    The Lions didn’t let up in the beginning of the second half, jumping on the Rochester backline to score soon after the break. Bryan Burke placed a cross to a charging Dwyer, who easily slotted home his second goal of the season  in the 47th minute to give Orlando a 2-0 advantage. 

    Watson continued the scoring for Orlando in the 62nd minute, cleaning up a loose ball in the Rhinos’ box for the 3-0 advantage. Rochester scored in the 90th minute of play as Blake Brettschneider lofted his shot up and over Orlando goalkeeper Jon Kempin. The goal proved only a consolation, however, with the Lions taking home the victory 3-1.

    Orlando continues home play this Friday night against the LA Blues. Orlando has already played the California-based squad this season, falling 1-0 on the road in Fullerton, Calif. Blues’ Forward George Davis scored the lone goal in the 80th minute for LA, propelling them to the home win. The Lions are 2-1-1 all time against the Blues in four meetings between the two clubs.

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  • 04/15/13--13:29: Rough Riders Bolster Defense
  • Long Island Rough Riders News Release --

    Monday, April 15, 2013

    PLAINVIEW, N.Y. -- For the Long Island Rough Riders' 2013 season, a key to success will be a powerful defense. Thomas Wharf, Brendan Lafferty, and Tyler Botte will collectively stand in the way of any opposition attack. The combined talent and discipline of Wharf, Lafferty, and Botte make an excellent combination for a strong defense as the club continues to build its squad for the new season.

    Wharf started every game in 2011 for the Premier Developmental League's Eastern Conference Champions, playing 1,320 minutes over the 16-game season and scoring once against Bermuda Hogges in July. The center back played a pivotal role in the Rough Riders' success.

    Wharf, a University of Connecticut graduate and England native, is a solid presence in the back line. Wharf originally moved to the United States to pursue his studies as well as a professional career in soccer. Wharf, who transferred from the University of Mobile Alabama to UConn, joined the Rough Riders in 2009. The Everton fan has received a host of awards while playing in America. He was named in the All-Conference and All-Region teams in both 2007 and 2008, receiving All-America honors in 2007.

    Goalkeeper Brendan Lafferty will also be a dominating presence for the Rough Riders. A George Washington University graduate and North Babylon native, Lafferty has proven his skill during his college career.

    In 2010 Lafferty totaled 22 saves for the Colonials and played 422 minutes and was in goal for six games due to an injury that caused him to miss seven early- season matches. Lafferty made four starts and stopped four shots in 45 minutes to share shutout honors in a 2-0 victory over Rider on October 2, 2010 and also stopped a career-high six shots against St. Bonaventure on October 29, 2010. In 2009 he was on the College Soccer News Top 100 Freshmen to Watch and finished with a record of 4-1-0 with 16 saves and 1.20 goals against average in 449 minutes over seven matches started.

    Another North Babylon native, Tyler Botte, is yet another key to a dominant defense for the Rough Riders. Botte became a full- time starter for Hofstra University in 2011 and appeared in 17 games with 15 starts. He emerged as one of the team's best two-way threats by not only preventing goals, but scoring them as well. Botte ended the season with a two-game scoring streak and finished tied for third on the team with eight points.

    In high school Botte played all four years on the soccer team at St. Anthony's High school and led his team to four straight CHSAA championships and two undefeated seasons as well as a state championship and a No. 2 national ranking as a junior. Botte will return to his old stomping grounds yet again in a Rough Riders jersey, looking to repeat their championship run, just as his high school team did.

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    Sunday, April 14, 2013

    TEMPE, Ariz. --  The LA Blues took their second consecutive victory, and third of the season as a fast start helped them take a 3-1 victory against Phoenix FC on Sunday night at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium. It was the Wolves’ third defeat in four matches of their inaugural USL PRO season.

    The Blues struck quickly in the first half, with Nelson Pizarro opening the scoring in the seventh minute, putting in a cross from teammate Matt Hall. The Blues made it 2-0 on Cory Miller’s header in the 15th minute as the defender rose unmark to put away a cross by Rodrigo Lopez.  

    “We just didn’t start well,” Phoenix midfielder Scott Morrison said.

    Phoenix FC settled down and had more possession as the first half wore on, and continued attacking in the second half. Diego Faria and Anthony Obodai combined for five good shots that missed the target as the Wolves tried to cut into the Blues' lead. Morrison was able to pull one back in the 68th minute as he curled a free kick home from 25 yards.

    Despite outshooting the Blues 13-8, recording 10 shots after the halftime break, the Wolves were unable to find an equalizer. The Blues put the game away in the 77th minute as second-half substitute Sergio Ortiz caught Phoenix goalkeeper Sheldon Parkinson, starting in place of the injured Andrew Weber, off his line and lofted a shot over Parkinson’s head to make it 3-1.

    Substitute Cameron Vickers provided a spark on offense after he came on in the 71st minute and Elliot Weber got a couple of opportunities after he entered the game 27th minute for an injured Devon Grousis. Weber, a defender, played forward with Donny Toia dropping back from his midfield spot to defender. The Blues' fast start was too much for the Wolves to overcome, though, as they remained top of the league standings early in the season.

    The Wolves next travel to Sandy, Utah for an April 22 match against Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium, with their next home match arriving on Sunday, April 28 at home against Wilmington.  Los Angeles continues its road trip with a pair of games against Orlando and Tampa Bay next weekend.

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    Washington Spirit Reserves News Release --

    Monday, April 15, 2013

    BOYDS, Md. – The Washington Spirit announced today the signing of United States U-20 National Team forward Alex Doll to the 2013 reserves roster. A current standout at Stanford University, Doll is expected to bolster the Spirit Reserves offense for the upcoming season.

    No stranger to the U.S. national team youth program, Doll was a member of U-14 and U-15 squads before representing the country in the CONCACAF U-17 championship. The Bethesda, Maryland native started in 23 matches as a sophomore this past season at Stanford, scoring four game-winning goals for the Cardinal. As a freshman, Doll played a pivotal role in securing the NCAA national championship, clearing the ball in the waning seconds to preserve a 1-0 Stanford win over Duke in the final.

    A NSCAA All American at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, Doll also led the Bethesda Dragons club team to the Maryland State Cup championship in 2011 while garnering her third NSCAA Youth All-American honor in a row. Doll also earned two Gatorade Maryland State Player of the Year accolades during her youth career.

    “With Alex, you get the complete package,” said Spirit Reserves General Manager Tim Schweitzer. “Her shooting and passing come naturally, and she provides leadership through a tremendous work ethic.

    “No one works harder for 90 minutes than Alex,” concluded Schweitzer.

    The Washington Spirit Reserves face a challenging schedule of opponents in the Northeast Division of the Eastern Conference for the season, which include the 2012 playoff contenders Long Island Rough Riders and Virginia Beach Piranhas.

    The Spirit Reserves will kick off their home season Saturday May 11th against the New York Magic. Match time is set for 4 p.m. at the Maryland Soccerplex and is the first in a doubleheader. The Washington Spirit professional side face the Boston Breakers in a NWSL clash at 7 p.m.

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  • 04/15/13--13:48: Aztex Add Three To Squad
  • Austin Aztex News Release --

    Monday, April 15, 2013

    AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin Aztex signed three additional players to the 2013 roster, including two defenders from the 2012 U.S. Soccer Development Academy U-17/18 National Champion FC Dallas squad. Mikey Ambrose and Aaron Guillen will reunite as teammates in Austin this summer, joining former Austin Aztex U23 standout Eddy Campbell.

    Photo courtesy University of Maryland AthleticsAmbrose, a 19-year-old defender from Frisco, joins the Aztex after a successful freshman campaign at Maryland. Ambrose scored one goal and added seven assists, earning a spot to the ACC All-Freshmen team,’s All-Freshman Team, and second team All-ACC honors. Ambrose brings experience as a member of the U.S. U-17, and U-18 national teams and is currently a member of the U.S. U-20 national team.

    Guillen, a 19-year-old defender from El Paso, became a fixture along the back line for Florida Gulf Coast University as a true freshman. The defender started 18 of 19 matches as a teammate with former Aztex player Will Morse.

    As USSDA FC Dallas teammates, Ambrose and Guillen helped lead a defense that allowed only six goals in an 18-match span.

    Campbell, a 24-year-old midfielder from Montego Bay in Jamaica, returns to Austin. The speedy player scored two goals and added an assist in 2009 for the Austin Aztex U23 squad. Later that year, Campbell was named the NSCAA Player of the Year while at San Jacinto College.

    With the latest signings, the Austin Aztex roster now has 25 players. Of the 25 players, four have previously played professionally while 10 have experience as national team pool players.

    The Austin Aztex kick off the 2013  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 against the Houston Dutch Lions.

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