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News from USL

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    USL News Release

    Thursday, December 12, 2013

    CLEARWATER, Fla. – The 2013 United Soccer Leagues Annual General Meeting (AGM) got underway Wednesday with new franchise orientation and ramps up Thursday and Friday as USL’s more than 110 franchises and partners travel to Clearwater Beach, Florida for the annual event.

    The USL AGM is a celebration of a year of accomplishments and professional growth as well as an important working and educational weekend. Held at the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa, the event draws owners, executives and coaches from USL’s professional and amateur teams, as well as influential figures from national and international soccer organizations.

    This year’s annual gathering will feature operational, educational and scheduling meetings and annual team and executive awards presentations at the USL Hall of Fame Awards Dinner.  For the third consecutive year the USL AGM will run in conjunction with USL’s Major Beach Soccer National Championships, presented by Nike, which will be held on Clearwater Beach Saturday and Sunday.

    “The AGM is a crucial time for the success of our leagues, and the work that’s done this week will set the tone for the 2014 season and beyond,” USL President Tim Holt said. “Just as importantly, this is a chance for us to spend time with the executives and coaches who make USL a success, and listen to their ideas about the future growth and advancement of the leagues.”

    The 2013 USL AGM will include individual league meetings and seminars related to player registration, broadcast operations, international affiliations, marketing and communications, and social media, among other topics. 

    The annual USL Hall of Fame Awards Dinner concludes Friday’s festivities as the teams gather to honor the teams and executives for their performances during 2013 and the induction ceremony for the USL Hall of Fame.  The AGM continues Saturday with continued league meetings and scheduling, and closes Sunday morning.

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    W-League Feature

    Friday, December 13, 2013

    TAMPA, Fla. – The NSCAA unveiled its Division I Women’s All-American Team last week, with seven current and former W-League players selected to the First Team, and 15 players overall. Abby Dahlkemper, a 2013 W-League champion with the Pali Blues and also a finalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy, led the way with her third selection, while former Long Island Rough Riders standout Crystal Dunn earned her fourth selection.

    Dahlkemper earned her selection after another standout season at the heart of the Bruins defense. A key member in the program’s first national championship, Dahlkemper anchored a side that recorded 17 shutouts, including five in six games during the NCAA Tournament.

    Dunn, meanwhile, completed her stellar career at North Carolina with 14 goals and 34 points in 21 games for the Tar Heels. A member of the U.S. Women’s National Team, Dunn is one of the top prospects for the upcoming 2014 NWSL Draft, to be held in January.

    Colorado Rapids Women forward Kristen Hamilton also earned a second selection after finishing her career at the University of Denver with 51 goals and 138 points. Hamilton, who had eight goals and 20 points in 12 games for the Rapids last summer, is the first player in Denver’s program history to earn First Team All-American honors.

    Toronto Lady Lynx goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo led the four first-time selections with W-League experience after an outstanding season for South Carolina that saw her post 12 shutouts and a 0.59 goals-against average. Dahlkemper’s teammate with the Blues, Kassey Kallman, also earned selection after helping Florida State reach the NCAA College Cup Final, while Laval Comets forward Nkem Ezurike (14 goals) and another Blue - forward Makenzy Doniak (20 goals) - were also selected after strong seasons for Michigan and Virginia respectively.

    A pair of 2013 All-League selections were named to the Second Team, with the LA Strikers’ Rachel Daly earning her berth as she finished tied for first in the nation with 23 goals for St. John’s. The Atlanta Silverbacks’ Savannah Jordan was also selected after a standout freshman season for Florida that saw her score 22 goals, tied for third in the nation. Another freshman, Toronto Lady Lynx standout Kadeisha Buchanan, also earned Second Team honors after starring for West Virginia.

    The Blues’ Daphne Corboz, who joined Dahlkemper in winning a pair of championships this year after featuring for UCLA, was also selected to the Second Team, as was Penn State’s Maya Hayes, a former standout for the New Jersey Wildcats. Former Vermont Lady Voltage player Frances Silva was also selected to the Second Team after a standout season alongside Buchanan for West Virginia.

    Two Seattle Sounders Women players were named to the Third Team, rounding out the group of 15. Jaelene Hinkle took Third Team honors after starring for Texas Tech, while Santa Clara’s Sofia Huerta capped an outstanding year that also saw her called up by the Mexican National Team with her selection.

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    PDL Feature

    Friday, December 13, 2013

    TAMPA, Fla. – The NCAA Division I College Cup kicks off tonight at PPL Park with PDL players set to play key roles for each of the four teams to reach the national semifinals. No. 3-seed Notre Dame faces No. 7 New Mexico in the opening semifinal at 5 p.m. ET, while No. 5 Maryland meets No. 8 Virginia at 7:30 p.m. ET, with both games set to be aired on ESPNU.

    In the opening game, Notre Dame is led by MAC Hermann Trophy finalist Harrison Shipp, who spent the past three seasons with the Chicago Fire U-23. Shipp has led the Fighting Irish with 12 goals and 32 points this season, while former Indiana Invaders forward Leon Brown has added four goals and 11 points, primarily off the bench.

    The Lobos will look to former Real Colorado Foxes standout Kyle Venter as they try to contain Shipp. Venter, named on Friday an NSCAA Second Team All-American, is one of the top defensive prospects for the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, and he is joined by former Austin Aztex goalkeeper Michael Lisch, who has 10 shutouts in 21 appearances this season. New Mexico is led offensively by former Ogden Outlaws player James Rogers, who has 20 points, while Ben McKendry (11 points) is a former Vancouver Whitecaps U-23 standout.

    In the second semifinal, Maryland will look to former New Orleans Jesters forward Patrick Mullins, who along with Shipp was named a finalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy on Thursday. Mullins, the 2012 winner of the award, has scored 16 goals in his senior season, tied for most in the nation, and has two goals in the Terrapins’ three tournament games so far. Jake Pace, formerly of the Real Maryland Monarchs, has also chipped in a goal in the tournament run, while the Austin Aztex’s Mikey Ambrose leads the team with 2,178 minutes played.

    Virginia, meanwhile, has received major contributions from freshman Darius Madison, who has six goals and three assists after spending the summer with Reading United. The Philadelphia Union Academy graduate is backed by former Fredericksburg Hotspur midfielder Todd Wharton, who has five goals and three assists, while Chicago Inferno goalkeeper Jeff Gal has posted six shutouts in 15 starts for the Cavaliers.

    Following Friday’s semifinals, the 2013 College Cup Final is set for Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. ET in a game that can also be seen on ESPNU.

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    USL News Release

    Friday, December 13, 2013

    CLEARWATER, Fla. – United Soccer Leagues hosted its Hall of Fame & Awards Dinner Friday night at the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa, honoring the teams and individuals who have helped USL maintain its place for nearly 30 years as the largest organization of elite-level soccer leagues in North America.

    The evening’s program opened with comments from USL President Tim Holt. Following a review of 2013 season highlights, three new members – Charleston Battery Coach Mike Anhaeuser (Coach), Charlotte Lady Eagles President Patrick Stewart (Builder), former Hampton Roads Piranhas star Mercy Akide-Udoh (Player) - were inducted into the USL Hall of Fame.

    USL PRO’s Harrisburg City Islanders, the PDL’s Laredo Heat and the W-League’s London Gryphons were also honored as 10+ Clubs after having completed 10 seasons in the league. Finally, USL also honored its clubs and teams for their success on and off the field, rewarding excellence in USL PRO, the W-League and the PDL. 

    2013 USL Organizational & Executive Honors

    Regular Season Champions: Richmond Kickers
    Fair Play: Richmond Kickers
    Marketing: Pittsburgh Riverhounds
    Broadcast: Orlando City
    Communications: Richmond Kickers
    Betsy McAdams Key Grip Award: Hunter Leemon, Richmond Kickers
    Progress Award: Pittsburgh Riverhounds
    Executive of the Year: Jason Kutney, Pittsburgh Riverhounds
    Organization of the Year: Orlando City

    Regular Season Champions: Thunder Bay Chill
    Fair Play: Austin Aztex, NJ LUSO Parma, Southern California Seahorses
    Marketing:  FC Tucson
    Broadcast: North Sound SeaWolves FC
    Communications: Reading United AC
    Rookie Franchise of the Year: Real Boston Rams
    Progress Award: Victoria Highlanders FC
    Betsy McAdams Key Grip Award: Teresa Howe, SW Florida Adrenaline
    Executive of the Year: Mark deFrias, Victoria Highlanders FC
    Organization of the Year: Austin Aztex

    Regular Season Champions: Virginia Beach Piranhas
    Fair Play: Dayton Dutch Lions
    Marketing: LA Strikers
    Broadcast: Seattle Sounders Women
    Communications: Washington Spirit Reserves
    Rookie Franchise of the Year: Bay Area Breeze
    Progress Award: Carolina Elite Cobras
    Betsy McAdams Key Grip Award: Remy DuCote, Washington Spirit Reserves
    Executive of the Year: Jon Billings, Seattle Sounders Women
    Organization of the Year: Dayton Dutch Lions

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    Major Beach Soccer Feature

    Saturday, December 14, 2013

    CLEARWATER BEACH, Fla. – After winning the U18 division at the Major Beach Soccer National Championships last year, the step up to the Men’s Open Division has been a big one for the Pirate Legacy side, according to team member Dawson Dunn.

    “It’s huge,” Dunn said after the opening day of the 2013 MBS National Championships. “It’s bigger than you’d think, too, because you come out here and see a group of guys and some of them look older, but if anything they’ve got more experience and more size to push you around. It’s a pretty big step, so this is a really good thing for us.”

    As big as the jump for Dunn and his teammates might have been, they came through the opening day with flying colors as wins in both of their contests left them on the verge of the semifinals. Pirate Legacy took a 5-2 win against the Rochester Italians in its opening contest, and then defeated IABS-White 4-0 to sit tied for first in Group C of the Open Division.

    “We’ve been coming out here since we were 12 years of age, we always come out here to have fun, but winning is a big bonus,” Dunn said. “We’re really pleased. We’re just out here having fun, so you can’t be unhappy with any of that.”

    Great Lakes Beach Soccer is the side that sits between Pirate Legacy and a spot in the semis in the final game of group play on Sunday after it also took a pair of victories on Saturday.

    Elsewhere in the Men’s Open Division, defending champions Rush DSC put itself in position for a return to the knockout rounds with a 5-2 win against La ‘U’ and a 6-0 win against Beachgoers in Group A, leaving it just a point away from the semifinals. As with Group C, the winner of Group B will also be determined by the final round of group games as the Flying Kicks and Team Calvary Chapel meet after both going 1-0-1 on the opening day.

    In the Women’s Open Division, 2012 runner-up IABS-Pink currently sits in first place after winning both of its group games. IABS took an 8-1 victory against the Palm Beach Riptide in its opener, and then took a 6-2 win against the Lakeland Reality. Quality Beach Soccer Club from Bermuda sits in second place, two points behind IABS, after earning a win and a draw in its opening two games.

    “The day’s gone very well,” MBS Director Peter Mellor said. “The weather has co-operated, it’s been a little cooler than July’s events, but in terms of the games, there have been some good games. The game between Calvary Chapel and Quality Beach Soccer [in the Men’s Open Division] was full of good beach soccer, the flicks, playing above the sand.”

    The 2013 Major Beach Soccer National Championships conclude on Sunday on Clearwater Beach, Fla., with finals for the nine divisions beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET.

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    MBS News Release

    Sunday, December 15, 2013

    CLEARWATER, Fla. – The champions were crowned at the 2013 Major Beach Soccer National Championships, presented by Nike, on Sunday afternoon on Clearwater Beach, Fla. as Lakeland Reality claimed the Women’s Open championship, and La ‘U’ won the Men’s Open Division to lead the champions across six divisions.

    Lakeland overcame IABS in the championship game in a penalty shootout after the game ended in a 4-4 draw. IABS, which finished as runner-up for a second consecutive year, was led by a standout performance by Haley Klemczak, who had all four goals. Klemczak gave her side the lead three times, but each time Lakeland was able to get back on level terms as Eina Dorado scored twice and Megan Carey once.

    Lakeland took its first lead of the game in the third period as a long-range shot by Kristen Bailey came back off the crossbar, and Lacey Chimienti was on hand to put home the rebound. Klemczak would find an equalizer for IABS to send the game to overtime, and when a winner couldn’t be found in the extra period, the game went to a sudden-death shootout. Dorado opened by scoring low in the left corner, and when Amy Maslyn saved from Klemczak, the championship was Lakeland’s.

    “It feels good, because we’ve always got close, but we’ve never won the championship,” Dorado said. “We’re always out here to have fun, but it’s even better to win.”

    La ‘U’ edged out a 1-0 victory against Great Lakes Beach Soccer as Eddison Cantor scored the only goal in the second period. La ‘U’ had gone closes to take the lead in the opening 10 minutes as Guillermo Echeverria hit the crossbar, but Cantor was able to fire a low shot into the left corner of the net midway through the second.

    Great Lakes had a chance to tie the game, only for Nick Capidsciolto to send his shot over the bar in the third period, and a late missed penalty kick by La ‘U’s Adee Kirkconnell proved academic as his side held on for victory.

    “We are like a family,” Cantor said. “We live together, we get together, we stay together all the time and we’ll celebrate this all the way into tomorrow, probably.”


    Men’s Open – La ‘U’
    Women’s Open – Lakeland Reality
    Co-Ed Open – Ocala Storm
    Co-Ed Over-30 – Loxahatchee Road Prison
    Men’s U18 – IABS-Orange
    Men’s U16 – Razorbacks 

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    PDL Feature

    Monday, December 16, 2013

    Notre Dame claimed its first Men’s Soccer National Championship on Sunday afternoon at PPL Park as Chicago Fire U-23 standout Harrison Shipp was named the College Cup’s Most Outstanding Player after a 2-1 victory against the University of Maryland.

    Shipp didn’t find the back of the net in either of the Fighting Irish’s victories, but did provide a pair of crucial assists as he maintained his push for the MAC Hermann Trophy, to be awarded next month. Shipp set up Patrick Hodan for the first of his two goals in a 2-0 victory against the University of New Mexico on Friday night, and then provided the delivery for Andrew O’Malley’s game-winner in Sunday’s final.

    Notre Dame had to rally to take victory against Maryland after former New Orleans Jesters standout Patrick Mullins opened the scoring in the 35th minute. The goal was Mullins’ third of the weekend, giving him a nation-leading 19 goals for the season as he attempts to win the Hermann trophy for a second consecutive season.

    The Fighting Irish were able to get back on level terms before the halftime break as former Indiana Invader Leon Brown tied the game five minutes after Mullins’ opener. The goal was Brown’s fifth of the season, and it was followed by O’Malley’s at the hour mark as the defender flicked home a header from Shipp’s free kick on the left to give Notre Dame victory.

    Mullins had scored twice in Friday’s semifinal to send the Terrapins through with a 2-1 victory against Virginia, but they were challenged by their ACC rival late as Reading United standout Darius Madison earned a penalty kick with 13 minutes to play. Former Fredericksburg Hotspur midfielder Todd Wharton stepped up and converted from the spot, but the Terps were able to hold on against late pressure.

    The weekend, however, belonged to the Fighting Irish, and in particular Shipp, who is tipped to become the Fire’s latest Homegrown Player signing after a standout senior season that saw him lead the Irish with 12 goals and 10 assists.

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    USL PRO News Release

    Monday, December 16, 2013

    USL PRO is pleased to announce that it has awarded the franchise rights for Phoenix to American Soccer Marketing, LLC, an entity controlled by Tim Donald.  As a result, the Phoenix FC Wolves will participate in the 2014 USL PRO season. More detailed information will be announced by the club in the coming weeks.

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    Sacramento Republic FC Feature

    Monday, December 16, 2013

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- From December 9-11, Sacramento Republic FC hosted an invitation-only combine for college players to tryout as the search continues to build the 2014 Sacramento Republic FC inaugural team. Sacramento Republic FC will host one more Open Tryout January 18-19 prior to the 2014 season.

    Before he dashed away for the holidays, Graham Smith called in for an on-the-road Q&A following the combine.

    Q: How many players were invited to attend the combine?
     Thirty two college seniors or recent graduates from various parts of the world and the U.S. attended the combine. All of the players invited want to make football their career. The boys stayed in Davis for three nights and they trained twice a day from 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. and 3-4:30 p.m. so we gave them a 2 1/2 day intensive assessment with a view to seeing whether or not they were capable of coming back to the combine we are doing in January.

    Q: Who was part of the observation and assessment team?
    A: The assessment was conducted under the watchful eyes of Preki. He did the most active coaching along with several other coaches from the Sacramento area. Other coaches from the players’ schools and locations attended to observe as well.

    Q: How many states and countries were represented at the combine?
    A: Among the states represented at the Combine were Texas, California, Sinaloa Mexico, Utah, North Carolina, South Carolina, United Kingdom and Wales.

    Q: The combine was held at Davis Legacy, the same location as the open tryouts. What types of assessments were conducted?
    A: It was a good 2 1/2 days. The fields at Davis are so good, the cold weather did not seem to impact the quality of play during the combine. It was completely mixed in terms of the activities. Everyone received individual assessments as well as team-play assessments. In addition to passing and technical ability, we looked at the players in game situations and tactical situations.

    Q: What made this combine different than an open tryout?
    A: The biggest difference between the combine and the open tryouts was that the players have played at a higher level; they are fitter. We also have opportunity now once the waiver draft occurs to recruit some major league players.

    Q: Did the combine result in any player signings?
    A: Two potential signings came out of the combine event. Hopefully we will be able to announce those players sometime this month. Six of the players have been invited to the next combine the week of January 20-24. Players who are selected from the 18-19 tryout have the potential to stay on for a more intensive assessment during the combine.

    Q: What does the timing look like regarding the team formation?
    A: We’re all pleased with the way things are falling into place. But there’s still a lot to do before we reach the first kick-off of the season. It’s getting more intense now and after the January assessment week, we will be entering a time of serious preparation that will kick off the end of the first week of February.

    The January combine follows the final open tryout (January 18-19) before the inaugural season kicks off. There is still opportunity to sign up for the final open tryout, however, sign up quickly or notify anyone interested in participating that spots will fill up quickly.

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    New England Revolution News Release --

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

    FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution (Major League Soccer) and Real Boston Rams (Premier Development League) have extended and expanded their partnership that makes the Rams the official PDL affiliate of the Revolution. The Rams, who are entering their second season, just won the 2013 PDL Rookie Franchise of the Year award in mid-December.

    The affiliation, which was originally announced in April 2013, allows college-aged Revolution Academy youth team products the opportunity to play for the Rams during their PDL season. Beginning in 2014, Revolution Under-18 assistant coach – and Tufts University assistant coach – Hobie Hare will serve as the associate head coach of Real Boston Rams with Mike Madden.

    Additional members of the Revolution Academy’s youth teams’ technical staff will also assist Hare and the Rams’ staff to help oversee the Revolution players’ on-going development during the summer months.

    The agreement continues to allow college-aged New England Revolution Academy products to be rostered by the Rams, allowing the Revolution to continue their professional development and allow the players to remain on the team’s Homegrown Protected List.

    “We’re pleased to continue this partnership with Real Boston Rams,” Revolution general manager Michael Burns said. “We had a great first season in 2013 and we both saw positives to expanding this relationship. The affiliation allowed our college-aged players to play meaningful games close to home, and provided us the opportunity to monitor and assess them. We’re hoping to roster more of our college-aged Academy players this year as we continue to build out our development model and the Rams will play a big part in that.”

    “We’re delighted to expand our partnership with the New England Revolution,” Real Boston Rams general manager John Barata said. “The Revolution is a class organization and we’re proud that we’ll continue to be part of the club’s development plan. With our on-going relationship with the Revolution, Real Boston Rams has established itself as the premier developmental club in the Northeast. It is a harmonious relationship and we look forward to continued success in 2014.”

    “We are excited to add Revolution staff to our current Real Boston Rams coaching team,” Real Boston Rams president Mike Madden said. “Having these two professional coaching staffs working together will benefit both organizations in player development.”

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    PDL Feature

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

    TAMPA, Fla. – The NSCAA unveiled its Men’s Division I All-America Teams last week, with a number of PDL alumni being honored with selection. The group was led by five repeat selections, as the Real Colorado Foxes’ Kyle Venter, New Orleans Jesters’ Patrick Mullins, Portland Timbers U-23s’ Mark Sherrod and Reading United’s Steven Neumann and Pedro Ribeiro all earned berths.

    Overall, seven members of the All-America First Team were PDL alumni, with Maryland’s Mullins being joined by fellow MAC Hermann Trophy finalist Harrison Shipp (Notre Dame) of the Chicago Fire U-23. PDL Golden Boot-winner Pete Caringi (UMBC) of the Baltimore Bohemians was also named after a standout season for the Retrievers.

    All three defenders were also PDL alums, with the Michigan Bucks and K-W United's AJ Cochran (Wisconsin) and North Sound SeaWolves’ Taylor Peay (Washington) being joined by former Orange County Blue Star center back Steve Birnbaum (California). Sounders FC U23 midfielder Aodhan Quinn (Akron) was also named after a strong senior campaign.

    Twenty-one of the players selected overall had previously played in the PDL, with Venter (New Mexico) and Neumann (Georgetown) highlighting the Second Team after both leading their sides to the NCAA Tournament. Neumann’s Reading teammate Ribeiro (Coastal Carolina) also had a fine senior season as he led the Chanticleers into the third round of the NCAA Tournament, while the Jersey Express’ Thomas McNamara was also outstanding for Clemson.

    Venter was joined by a trio of former PDL defenders on the Second Team, with the Baltimore Bohemians' Omar Ballo (UMBC), OC Blues Strikers’ Marco Franco (UC Irvine) and Portland Timbers U-23s’ Bryan Gallego (Akron) all earning places on the team.

    Former PDL Defender of the Year Kevin Cope (Michigan State) of the Michigan Bucks and the Carolina Dynamo’s Sebastian Ibeagha (Duke) joined Sherrod (Memphis) on the Third Team, as did Westchester Flames standout Kevin Correa. Reading United’s Kadeem Dacres (UMBC) and former Orange County Blue Star midfielder Enrique Cardenas (UC Irvine) and the Portland Timbers U-23s’ Reinaldo Brenes (Akron) rounded out the selections.

    The NSCAA also honored coaches from across the NCAA’s Divisions, with Ocean City Nor’easters coach Tim Oswald being named the Division III Coach of the year for his work at Rutgers University – Camden. Oswald led the side on a 36-game undefeated streak, coming up just short in the Division III College Cup, following a summer in which he led the Nor’easters to the PDL Eastern Conference title. 

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    USL PRO News Release

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

    TAMPA, Fla. –
    USL PRO announced today that an expansion franchise in Tulsa, Oklahoma will join the league for the 2015 season. The Tulsa Drillers of Minor League Baseball will be majority owners of the new team with Prodigal LLC holding a minority interest in the squad.

    The team will play its home games at ONEOK Field, providing the highest level of professional soccer in the city since the Tulsa Roughnecks played their final season in the North American Soccer League in 1984.

    “USL PRO is thrilled about the addition of a Tulsa franchise that will feature a strong ownership group, proven executive sports management team, and excellent downtown venue all in a market with a history of support for professional soccer,” USL President Tim Holt said. “In a sport built on rivalries, Tulsa fans will immediately enjoy an intense geographic rivalry with OKC Energy FC on the field, while the two clubs collaborate off the field to grow the sport at all levels throughout the state.  This represents another major step in USL PRO’s plan for stable and strategic growth into key national markets.”

    The name of the new team will be determined through a “Name Your Team Contest” in early 2014, and the team will begin taking deposits for season tickets immediately.  The playing surface at ONEOK Field, home of the Drillers, will be converted into a soccer pitch with the field running from first base toward the left field wall.  The dirt infield areas will be covered with sod to provide a complete grass surface playing field. Capacity at ONEOK Field is expected to be similar to the 7,833 seats used for baseball events.

    “We are very excited to be involved in bringing a high level of professional, outdoor soccer back to the city of Tulsa,” Drillers General Manager Mike Melega said.  “We feel that Tulsa is a great soccer market, and this return is long overdue.

    “We think the USL PRO structure and its partnership with Major League Soccer provide the city of Tulsa with the best opportunity to have a successful and long-term franchise,” Melega said.  “Over the years, Major League Soccer has looked closely at successful USL teams when selecting expansion cities, such as with Orlando moving to MLS in 2015.  If the fans of Tulsa support the return of professional, outdoor soccer to the city, we feel that Tulsa has an excellent chance to move onto the radar of Major League Soccer as they consider future expansion cities.”

    USL PRO is the strongest, most sophisticated and most experienced North American men’s professional soccer league below and in support of MLS, both on and off the field. Focused on franchise stability and longevity, USL PRO featured 13 teams in 2013 with more than half boasting a decade or more of operational experience, and the distinction of being the longest standing pro league affiliate member of the US Soccer Federation with more than two decades of successful operations.

    In 2013 USL PRO began a groundbreaking, multi-year partnership with MLS that has further elevated the quality and stature of USL PRO, strengthened the competition in both leagues, and established a solid foundation for future collaboration. MLS teams will choose to either field a reserve team in USL PRO or affiliate with an existing USL PRO franchise by 2015.

    The addition of Tulsa and the recent announcement of a franchise in Colorado Springs (also 2015) continue USL PRO’s western expansion initiative, with Sacramento Republic FC and OKC Energy FC slated to join for 2014 and additional exciting announcements expected in the coming weeks.

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    W-League News Release

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

    TAMPA, Fla. –
    The W-League is pleased to announce the addition of the Gulf Coast Texans, beginning with the 2014 season. The Texans will also add W-20 and Super-20 League teams in 2014.

    “We are extremely excited to welcome such a first-class organization to the W-League,” said W-League Senior Director Amanda Duffy. “The Gulf Coast Texans have proven to be a highly competitive team on the field, and we look forward to helping them build their brand off the field as one of the top women’s teams in North America.”

    Based in Pensacola, Florida, the Texans were the 2012 WPSL national champions and are operated by Gulf Coast Texans Soccer Club, a respected elite youth club that has sent many players into the NCAA ranks. Affiliated with the Dallas Texans Soccer Club, the Gulf Coast Texans serve as home to more than 1,000 competitive and recreational players.

    Club Director of Coaching David Kemp will serve as the W-League head coach, assisted by Austin King and Jason Providence, while Dan Baccarini serves as general manager. Kemp joined the club in 2004 after previously serving as DOC of Mililani Soccer Club in Hawaii, and has helped the Texans more than double in size. More than 130 of his players have moved on to play college soccer during the past nine years.

    "We couldn't be more excited about joining such a professional organization,” Kemp said. “Being part of the W-League will give us the resources to grow off the field and will provide the highest level of competition available to us on the field.

    “This is massive for the community and the surrounding area, being able to field a team in the top league below the major league for women - NWSL - and bring the highest level of play possible to Pensacola.”

    The Texans will join the W-League’s Southeastern Conference, which includes the 2011 W-League champion Atlanta Silverbacks. Featuring current, former international and professional stars, the W-League also provides elite amateurs the opportunity to compete while maintaining their eligibility as college student-athletes. A total of 11 players in the recent NCAA Women’s Championship Game had W-League experience.

    All three teams will play their home games at Ashton Brosnaham Stadium, site of many major events including Gulf South Conference Championships and NCAA Division II National Championships.

    "The W-20 and S-20 programs will provide our program and community the link for college preparation during the summer and will also provide our elite youth players another fantastic opportunity for development," Kemp said.

    As the premier U-20 adult-amateur men’s and women’s leagues in North America, W-20 and the Super-20 League provide the necessary platform for top 17- to 20-year-olds in the United States and Canada to compete at an elite level, while also serving as a reserve system for professional and senior adult-amateur teams.

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    Dayton Dutch Lions News Release --

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

    DAYTON, Ohio – The Dayton Dutch Lions FC today announced that the club has formed an affiliate partnership with the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer. Besides the Crew sending a minimum of four players to the Dayton Dutch Lions FC for their 2014 USL PRO season. There will also be several joint marketing activities.

    Dutch Lions President Mike Mossel commented on the partnership: “The partnership is exciting from both a marketing as well as a technical point of view. On the marketing side, the Columbus Crew has built a very strong soccer brand in Ohio and has a great group of fans, also in the Dayton and Cincinnati area. The partnership brings recognition, professionalism and opportunities to market both clubs in Ohio. On the technical side we will be adding several good Crew players to our USL PRO team to become a strong team in the League. On the other hand we give talented Crew players a competitive platform to develop themselves and return as better and more experienced players. “

    “We are proud to unveil our new partnership with Dayton Dutch Lions FC,” said Columbus Crew President Mark McCullers. “We have known the Dutch Lions organization since they came to Ohio. This partnership creates a formal alliance that encompasses player development at its heart but also allows the Columbus Crew to partner with Dayton Dutch Lions FC in growing our respective fan bases and brands."

    The complete list of Crew players to be sent on loan to Dayton Dutch Lions FC will be announced at a later date.

    “This affiliation with Dayton is an important step in developing our younger players. We believe it’s beneficial for them to play competitive games at a high level, and this agreement accomplishes that goal for us,” said Crew Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. “This move is specifically targeted toward players that we think have a bright future but won’t necessarily see immediate playing time in MLS, or those players that need to recapture their best form. We’re excited about this affiliation, we like the direction Dayton is heading as an organization and believe that this relationship will strengthen our squad.”

    Prior to the agreement between the two clubs, the Crew and Dutch Lions FC competed in matches that counted in Major League Soccer Reserve League play for the Crew and the USLPRO standings for Dayton. With the current agreement, the Crew will not participate in the MLS Reserve League in 2014 and the two teams would only potentially face each other in a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup meeting and in a friendly.

    Head Coach Sid van Druenen also commented on the partnership: “For us it is the one piece that we were missing in being a “Gateway to professional soccer”. After we recently added Cincinnati Dutch Lions FC to play in the PDL we now offer kids a path from playing in the Academy (Dayton) to PDL (Cincinnati) for college players to playing professionally on three different pro levels: USL PRO (Dayton), MLS (Crew) and Europe (FC Twente). This will be a big boost for our club. Both for the professional team as well as all the academy teams, who get a chance to be looked at by one of the nation’s top academies.”

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    Sporting Kansas City News Release --

    Friday, December 20, 2013

    KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Sporting Kansas City announced on Thursday that the club will partner with two USL PRO teams for the 2014 season, adding a one-year agreement with Oklahoma City Energy FC to join Orlando City SC as an official USL PRO affiliate of Sporting KC. A minimum of two Sporting Kansas City players will be loaned to each USL PRO team throughout the season as part of the agreements.

    “Oklahoma City provides us with a great, regional partner and having Jimmy Nielsen as the head coach will give us strong insight into player development,” Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes said. 

    “We will continue to have our wonderful relationship with Orlando City SC and adding Oklahoma City to next year’s plan perfectly aligns us with our goal of keeping players active and ready to integrate back with our first team to contribute in all of the competitions we will play in 2014.” 

    Former Sporting KC goalkeeper Nielsen becomes the first head coach in the Energy's history, having recently completed his final game as a professional. Neilsen bowed out from the professional ranks in Sporting KC's win against Real Salt Lake in MLS Cup 2013 on December 7. A veteran of nearly 600 professional games, Nielsen brings a wealth of experience to his new position.

    “My family and I are excited to take on this new challenge and I look forward to the start of my coaching career in Oklahoma City,” said Nielsen. “To remain a part of the Sporting Kansas City family and to take some of what I have learned from all of my coaches over the years, including Peter Vermes and staff, is an opportunity I embrace.” 

    Nielsen began his professional career with hometown club AaB Aalborg in Denmark, helping the team to the 1999 Danish Superliga championship. After a brief stint at Leicester City in 2007, he transferred to Danish club Vejle, for whom he made 63 appearances over two years. He was named Danish Goalkeeper of the Year in 1998 and 2004, and also represented his countrty at the U-19 and U-21 levels. 

    In February 2010, Nielsen joined Major League Soccer and became the starting goalkeeper for Sporting Kansas City. As a member of Sporting KC, Nielsen was a two-time MLS All Star, the 2012 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, and goalkeeper for the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open championship club and the 2013 MLS Cup winning squad. He was named team captain prior to start of the 2012 season. 

    When Nielsen began his MLS career, he instantly became a fan favorite, whose signature bleach-blonde locks earned his the nickname "White Puma.” But it wasn't just his play that endeared Nielsen to fans, though—it was his personality. He was known for stopping his car at local parks when driving by and joining in games with random children. Often, Nielsen would pull kids out of the crowd and have them kick balls at him as part of his pre-game warm-up. 

    USL PRO will feature 14 teams for the 2014 season with the addition of Oklahoma City and Sacramento. In 2013, USL PRO and Major League Soccer began a partnership to enhance the development of professional players in North America, strengthen the competition in both leagues and establish a solid foundation for future collaboration.

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  • 12/20/13--17:56: Floridians F.C. Joins PDL
  • PDL News Release

    Friday, December 20, 2013

    TAMPA, Fla. – The PDL is pleased to welcome Floridians F.C. to the league for the 2014 season.  The Floridians are born of the merger of two of Southest Florida’s prominent soccer entities, A.C. Miami and Schulz Academy.  Floridians F.C. will be led by Chairman Pascal Cohen and President Franck Gotsman, and will be the only franchise in the PDL in Southest Florida in 2014.

    Floridians F.C. will aim to develop players from Southeast Florida, giving them the opportunity to reach the highest levels of the sport. One of the brightest examples of the club’s philosophy is 2013 United States Male Athlete of the Year Jozy Altidore, who spent many years being groomed in the Schulz Academy before joining the New York Red Bulls and continuing his brilliant career. With players ranging in age from 15 to 21, Floridians F.C. has put together a professional organization that will be led on the field by a Technical Director who will be introduced in a press conference in January, and brings a wealth of experience, including the development of such players as current New York Red Bulls’ star Thierry Henry, FC Barcelona’s Gerard Pique, and Fiorentina’s Giuseppe Rossi.

    Southeast Florida is home to some of the top men’s college soccer programs in the nation, with Florida International University and Florida Atlantic University competing in Division I. The region also boasts strong Division II squads including Barry University, Lynn University and Nova Southeastern University, and also NAIA teams at Memorial University, Johnson & Wales University, Northwood University and St Thomas University, giving the Floridians a deep pool of talent to draw from in its inaugural season.

    The PDL season consists of 14 regular season matches for each team, seven home and seven away, and provides elite collegiate players the opportunity to taste a higher level of competition while maintaining their eligibility. In addition to league play, PDL teams compete in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as well as various exhibitions.  The PDL has proven to be an important stepping-stone for top professionals now playing throughout the world.

    The Floridians will compete in the Southeast Division of the Southern Conference in the 2014 season. The PDL team will become the natural pinnacle team for the Floridians F.C. pyramid and will provide top Floridian players with the opportunity to compete in Southeast Florida throughout the summer months. The PDL has been the destination league for young college players to continue their development toward the professional ranks, with clubs from across North America not only competing for a championship each summer, but also providing the opportunity for top-level competition for the best players in the college ranks.

    More than 150 PDL alumni have been selected in the last five MLS SuperDrafts, with the last two No. 1 selections, Andrew Farrell of the River City Rovers (2013) and Andrew Wenger of the Carolina Dynamo and Reading United (2012) having spent time in the league. As a league, the PDL has been the home to the last three MLS Rookie of the Year selections, with former Austin Aztex midfielder Dillon Powers earning the 2013 award earlier this month to follow 2011 winner C.J. Sapong of Reading United and 2012 winner Austin Berry of the Chicago Fire U-23.

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    Cincinnati Dutch Lions News Release --

    Tuesday, December 24, 2013

    CINCINNATI, Ohio -- Cincinnati Dutch Lions FC is pleased to announce Koen Driessen as the club’s first Vice President.

    “I have worked with Koen for several years now and I have seen him grow a lot since he first started,” President Mike Mossel said. “He really understands how to built a network and what it takes to make a franchise successful. He also brings several years of Dutch Lions experience to Cincinnati and above all he has an ‘orange heart.’ I look very much forward to working together with him in making the Cincinnati Dutch Lions FC a strong Dutch Lions franchise.”

    Driessen has been and employee of the Dayton Dutch Lions for the past two years, starting in the role of Business Manager before being promoted to Business and Stadium Development Manager. He has been tasked with the organization, execution, and overall performance of the three business units: Marketing, Sales and Media Relations as well as leading plans for new franchises and a stadium in the Dayton area.      

    He is no stranger to the world of sports management. Driessen was an Assistant Manager at Global Sports Communication, working as a sports agent for 120 world-class athletes from 24 different countries. These athletes went on to the Olympic Games, World Championships, and European Championships.  He also worked for Inter Football/Number 10, a leading sports marketing company after being employed by one of the largest youth soccer organizations in the state of California. 

    “I am honored and thrilled that the organization gives me the chance to become Vice President of the Cincinnati Dutch Lions FC,” Driessen said. “I will be responsible for the total organization in combination with being Business Development Manager and Stadium Development Manager in Dayton. I am looking forward to bring this franchise to the highest level both on and off the field.”

    Driessen has a strong vision for the future of the Cincinnati franchise. Giving local talent a chance to play in a high quality environment is a major priority as is providing a gateway to the professional level. The Dutch Lions can offer PDL players many opportunities, hopefully sending them to USL PRO, MLS, or even Europe thanks to their numerous partnerships and affiliations.     

    He believes strongly in the Cincinnati market, thanks to the quality soccer programs already in the region as well as strong local businesses that can help the sport grow. Engaging local universities will provide innovate, ambitious students with opportunities to work with those experienced in the field.    

    The Cincinnati Dutch Lions will begin play in the PDL in 2014.

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    Orlando City Feature --

    Monday, December 23, 2013

    ORLANDO, Fla. -- Orlando City Forward Dennis Chin recently sat down to talk about his offseason training, expectations for 2014 and much more.

    Q: What have you been working on to improve your game in 2014?

    A: I’ve focused a lot on improving some of the aspects of my game that I believed I lacked at most points last season.

    Q: The last few seasons, you have gone out on loan to different clubs, including the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer, how valuable is that for you personally?

    A: Going on loan has been valuable for me personally because it gives me a chance to experience being a professional in a different environment, with different players, and obviously playing in a new system. Having only played professionally in Orlando in my career so far; it gives me a chance to experience these things while still being here at Orlando. It has definitely helped me grow as a player.

    Q: Much has been made about the 2014 squad being a 'test' for the inaugural MLS season 2015. What are your thoughts on that development and does it change your mindset heading into 2014?

    A: From our first season in 2011, the expectations of us as players and the club as a whole has always been high. Obviously these expectations have only increased throughout the years and especially now with the announcement of MLS in 2015. We have always gone into previous seasons expecting to win everything while playing attractive soccer, and I don't think that will ever change with the leadership we have. However, looking at it as a player only, we know that the team will only get better. In order to continue being a part of it, we have to improve and show that we are able to consistently provide something to a team looking to compete at the highest level possible.

    Q: From a player’s perspective, is it a big change to move from a turf field at the Citrus Bowl to the grass pitch at the ESPN Wide World of Sports?

    A: Players definitely prefer to play on grass pitches as opposed to turf for many reasons. On turf, the bounce of the ball can be unpredictable at times, which sometimes causes confusion when you expect a certain outcome from a pass and receive another. Players also complain about the health effects of playing on turf, such as joint pain and injuries due to playing on a surface with less "give" as they say.

    But as a whole, turf is a faster playing surface, helping develop a fast-pace playing style (like Orlando). However, the well manicured field at the WWOS once watered before a game will yield similar, but more favorable results.

    Q: What have you been up to outside of soccer this offseason?

    A: Outside of the game, I have been working with my player cause (New Image Youth Center), coaching in the Orlando City Youth Academy, and trying to spend more time with my family and friends.

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    PDL Feature

    Thursday, December 26, 2013

    TAMPA, Fla. – has announced its Top 100 upperclassmen at the conclusion of the 2013 NCAA Division I season, with PDL players being prominently featured throughout the list. Recently named TDS Player of the Year Harrison Shipp of national champion Notre Dame, a former member of the Chicago Fire U-23, leads the selections, with eight of the Top 10 players having held PDL experience.

    Shipp, a graduate of the Fire’s Academy, played for the club’s PDL side for the past three seasons, and is expected to be the Fire’s second Home Grown Player signing. The NCAA College Cup’s Most Outstanding Player is also a finalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy after a standout senior season that saw him finish with 12 goals and 10 assists.

    Fellow MAC Hermann finalist Patrick Mullins comes in at No. 2, with the former New Orleans Jesters forward leading Maryland to the NCAA Championship Game as he led the nation with 19 goals and 46 points. Mullins made 21 appearances for the Jesters across three seasons as he scored 12 goals and added three assists.

    2013 PDL Golden Boot winner Pete Caringi of the Baltimore Bohemians also broke into the Top 10 after a standout season for the UMBC that saw him score 13 goals and add three assists for the Retrievers. Caringi led the PDL with 16 goals in the summer, with his performance for UMBC earning him a second consecutive America East Striker of the Year award.

    Other former PDL standouts in the Top 10 include former Orange County Blue Star center back Steven Birnbaum, how had a standout season this fall for California, and Reading United captain Steven Neumann, who led Georgetown to another strong season and the third round of the NCAA Tournament.

    Neumann’s Reading teammate Pedro Ribeiro also claimed at Top 10 spot after starring for Coastal Carolina, and he was joined by former Real Colorado Foxes defender Kyle Venter (New Mexico) and Sounders FC U-23 midfielder Aodhan Quinn (Akron), both of whom had strong senior seasons.

    Other former standouts to be named in the Top 25 include the Carolina Dynamo’s Boyd Okwuonu, named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year for North Carolina, and Sebastian Ibeagha, who shone as a senior for Duke. Two Michigan Bucks defenders, 2012 PDL Defender of the Year Kevin Cope and AJ Cochran, were also named to the Top 25 list, as Cochran used his experience with the Bucks and K-W United in 2013 to help Wisconsin to a strong fall.

    Overall, 52 of the players selected brought PDL experience, with a number headed to next month’s MLS Combine to be held in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. from January 10-14. The 2014 MLS SuperDraft is set to be held on January 16 as part of the NSCAA Convention in Philadelphia, as many PDL alumni take the next step into the professional ranks.

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    Pittsburgh Riverhounds Feature --

    Monday, December 23, 2013

    PITTSBURGH -- After a playing career that saw stints with clubs such as the San Jose Earthquakes, Chicago Fire and Dallas Burn in MLS, and the Charleston Battery and Pittsburgh Riverhounds in the USL Second Division, Justin Evans became the Riverhounds' head coach before the 2010 season. 

    Now, after leading the Riverhounds to the playoffs in three of his first four seasons, Evans is aiming to take the team to the next level. Before heading out for a short holiday vacation, he took a moment to answer seven questions.

    Q1. What is the best advice you have for young soccer players that are looking to take it to the pro-level?
     In the words of Jimmy V, "Don't give up, don't ever give up!"  Along the way to my professional career, I played with and against players that were technically better than me.  However, early on in my life, I decided that I wanted to play pro soccer and I just stayed focused on my goal and never gave up striving to do better every single day which ultimately helped me to become a pro.  To realize your dream, you have to first believe it yourself, secondly don't let anyone or anything get in the way of your dream, and lastly work hard towards your dream every single day.
    Q2. Do you have any quotes or sayings you try to live by?
    Yes, I love quotes. I am a big believer in the power of positive thinking and these three quotes keep me grounded and help me stay positive in my thoughts and actions.
    "The danger in life is not in setting your goals too high and never being able to achieve them, it is in setting your goals too low and achieving them" -Michelangelo
    "All that we are is a result of what we have thought." -Buddha
    "I try all things, I achieve what I can." - Herman Melville, Moby Dick 
    Q3. What are your plans for Christmas?
     Christmas is certainly a time for family and I look forward to spending quality time with my family over the Holiday Season.  I would like to wish everyone a happy and safe Holiday season.
    Q4. What are two things that you want to do in 2014? (Personally & Professionally)
     One thing that I would like both personally and professionally is to bring the USL Championship to Pittsburgh in 2014!  Selfishly I would like more dates with my wife.
    Q5. What was your first job? How old were you?
    My first job was working for my Uncle at his italian ice stand.  I was 13 years old and I was in charge of the stand in Baldwin during the Summer.  It was fun, very interesting and taught me a lot of good lessons.
    Q6. If you could trade a day with anyone in the world, past or present time, who would it be and why?
    I would trade one day with Pele.  He was such an amazingly creative player and I would like to just be inside his head for one game to figure out how he saw the game in his mind's eye.
    Q7. What is your favorite way to spend a day off?
     I don't get a whole lot of time off, but when I do, I like to spend it at home with my beautiful wife Kara and two boys just hanging around the house.
    Q8. (BONUS!) How do you like your eggs cooked? 
    I have to brag a little here, I make the most amazing scrambled eggs.  My litmus test is that I have a 15 year old son (Calum) and a 2 and 1/2 year old son (Ethan) and every time that I make the eggs, they eat all of them.  So, to span that gap, you know the eggs have to be pretty special!

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