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  • 02/03/14--15:36: Colorado Storm Join W-League
  • W-League News Release 

    Monday, February 3, 2014

    TAMPA, Fla. – The W-League is pleased to welcome the Colorado Storm for the league’s 2014 season. The Storm have acquired the rights to the franchise previously known as the Colorado Force and Colorado Rapids Women, and will take the helm for the team’s 18th consecutive season in the league. The club will be led by Storm President Marc Francis, Force co-founder Amy Snider and head coach Mike Haas.

    The Storm are one of the longest-running youth clubs in the United States, originally having been formed as Cherry Creek Lightning Soccer in 1967. Since then the club has grown to include more than 7,000 members as players from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs develop into top-level players.

    “We are extremely pleased to welcome the Storm to the W-League,” W-League Senior Director Amanda Duffy said. “As one of the W-League’s longest-standing franchises, we are delighted that it has found the right ownership and management to allow the club and players the opportunity to flourish at the next level.  We’re very excited to see the Storm enter a new era in their history.”

    Francis, who began coaching with the Storm in 1989, is excited for the opportunity the addition of a W-League team will provide for players at the club.

    “One of our main objectives for this team is to be able to connect with various soccer communities that support the Storm’s four regional clubs,” Francis said. “Players from all over the state will see this team as an important part of developing our girls program as well as an opportunity to play at the highest level possible.”

    Haas brings more than 25 years of coaching experience at the international, professional and youth levels. Haas has served as the Director of Coaching and Player Development for Storm since 2007 and for 16 years was part of the United States National Team Program in a variety of capacities, including National Staff Coach and Head Scout. In addition to his outstanding work for the Storm, Haas also claimed a USYSA National Championship while coaching the Northglenn Thunder.

    “It gives younger girls an opportunity and a vision of what playing at the next level looks like,” said Haas.  “This is unique because it gives girls who may otherwise drift away from soccer after their club and college careers a chance to stay connected to Storm soccer.”

    The Storm will compete in the Western Conference, where they will face defending W-League champions the LA Blues SC, the Colorado Rush and new franchise the Colorado Pride in a 12-game regular season. The full 2014 W-League schedule and division alignment will be announced at a future date.


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    F.A. Euro Feature -- www.faeuro.com

    Monday, February 3, 2014

    BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- First-year F.A. Euro phenom Evin Nadaner turned heads with his play in Italy during the team’s summer tour last August. Now, as he prepares to head back to Italy for a trial with mid-table Serie B side Carpi FC, he’s focused on replicating the form he showed in Lo Stivale four months ago. Before Nadaner said ciao to American soil, however, FA Euro’s Director of Youth Operations, Adam Marcu, and some of FA Euro’s kids got a chance to catch up with the soon-to-be Carpi trialist.

    Q: Evin, are you excited for the trial? This must be a hugely anticipated day that has been a long time coming. What’s going through your head right now?
    A: Well, as the date of the first practice gets closer, I find myself getting very nervous. I have always been confident in myself but things are getting real, so to speak, and I'm wondering if I put in enough hours. At the same time I'm so excited to test my abilities against some amazing players in a very competitive league. I am also hopeful that I can follow my childhood dreams in playing professionally, which has been a lifelong commitment, and something that would be truly special to achieve.

    Q: What do you know about going on trial professionally – especially in another country? Have you spoken with anybody who’s done something similar? Do you feel like you know what to expect?
    A: I have spoken to some friends about their experiences but I realize every team is different. With that said, none of my friends have ever been on trial with a team of this caliber, so what goes on this high up on the soccer spectrum is just sort of Greek to me. I really don't know what to expect, except that they're going to be really quality players, and I hope that my first couple touches go according to plan, which would really help me to settle.

    Q: I know you’re very close with your Dad. Have you spoken about this opportunity with him? Has he offered any words of wisdom or encouragement?
    A: Yes. My dad has always been an advocate of me doing what makes me happy, so he's all for this – he even seems happier than me, actually! He's told everyone he sees – and their grandmothers. I can't go anywhere in my neighborhood without someone saying good luck, or your father is so proud of you. He is confident in me, but at the same time he might not understand the magnitude of the situation, or how good the team actually is at Carpi because the ins and outs of the soccer world aren’t exactly first nature to him.

    Q: How important was it to take the tour to Italy with the PDL team last summer in order to help you prepare for this upcoming trial?
    A: The tour of Italy was one of the most important things I did to prepare myself for the trial. Not only did it expose me to various teams and coaches that could help me in the future, but it gave me a first-hand look at the level of the players, as well as the style of soccer played in Italy, where national culture is so deeply engrained in the sport itself. Playing against professional teams on our PDL trip helped me to realize the seriousness of the sport and many of the realities of playing soccer as a profession.

    Q: What do you know about Carpi FC? Have you been following them at all since you found out that you would be heading there on trial?
    A: When I learned about the trial I immediately looked them up on Wikipedia so that I could see their current squad, stadium, the club history, and other basic information. I also looked up on a map where they were – for weather purposes [chuckles]. I have been following them in their league play in Serie B, and they're doing really well, which is both scary and exciting because they're only a few points off promotion to Serie A.

    Q: What do you think about the Italian style of play? How is it different from the way we play here in MLS? How is it different from the American college game?
    A: The Italian style of play is historically known for its tactics and solid defensive approach. As I was alluding to earlier, playing against some of the Italian teams on the PDL tour in Italy helped me to understand nuances about the Italian tactical style of play. For instance, when you’re on the ball, even though you aren't being pressured by players from the opposition who are running a millions miles an hour at you – as in our current college and even MLS, professional system – the window of opportunity to run with the ball, or make an incisive pass is lost within a matter of milliseconds – less time, even than that what you have when you are being physically pressured as is the way in the American game. The teams are so disciplined it's nearly impossible to find a way through with a pass or a simple bit of skill. In the college or American system once the pressure initially is broken you're in the clear, and the system over here only works because there are so few players gifted enough to consistently break that pressure. In Italy everyone is born with a mind for the game and a perfect first touch – it seems like that anyway – whereas in America those things are rarely found, and when they are found, they’ve required years of rigorous practice to acquire. 

    Q: Ideally, in a perfect world, where would you like to see this take you? Are you ready to start your career if they offer you a contract?
    A: In an ideal world they sign me, I score a hat trick on my debut coming off he bench, and then make the World Cup squad coming out of nowhere [laughs]. Realistically though, I would be ecstatic with a contract from Carpi. It would be my dream to sign for them and be able to play professionally with this team. I am convinced I am ready to start my career, I just hope they believe in me.

    Q: In two sentences or less, what are you most excited about for this trial, and what are you most apprehensive about?
    A: I am most excited about the opportunity to see how good these players are compared to me – I’ve been waiting for this comparison for my whole life, and I’m almost in a state of disbelief now that it’s so close – in a good way of course. And I'm most apprehensive, I guess, about not being good enough and embarrassing myself or losing confidence, but that bit is in the back of my mind, where hopefully it will stay.

    Q: Now, I know the kids have some questions, so let me turn it over to them, but first, I have one more of my own. How’s your Italian?
    A: Well, at least as bad as my English [chuckles]…so, awful, unfortunately [laughs]. I have some time on the plane ride to memorize a couple key phrases, so I’m going to try to at least know something by the time I get to Italy.

    Q: When do you leave for Italy?
    A: Saturday, January 18th, 2014.

    Q: I know that Coach Joe [Balsamo, FA Euro club president and founder] is from Italy, are you from Italy too?
    A: [Chuckling] No, I was actually born in America. My Mom was born in Ireland though, so that’s not too far from Italy – at least compared to the distance between Italy and the United States.

    Q: What position do you play?
    A: Well, I’m most comfortable in midfield, but I’ll play anything they want me to play really.

    Q: Are you a righty or a lefty?
    A: I’m a righty.

    Q: Did you always want to be a professional soccer player?
    A: Well, when I was about 8 or 9 – so your age really – I realized that soccer was what I was best at, and having something that I felt comfortable being a part of, and that I could excel in, really made me fall in love with the game. So from that point forward I was dreaming of making it pro, yeah.

    Q: Coach Adam always tells us that you have a great first touch – is that true? And how did you get so good at it?
    A: I guess we will find out how good it really is soon [laughs]. In all seriousness though, I realized I could improve my first touch when I was in my first year of college, so I went to the racquetball courts every day and kicked the ball off the wall to myself for hours, and then I would ask my friends to just pass with me as much as I could to improve my touch. I think it paid off – it’s just something that you have to keep working at.

    Q: I want to play professionally some day too! What advice can you give me so that I can try to do that and achieve my dreams?
    A: I would say figure out what you’re good at and what you can improve upon, and just work at both as much as you can. If you really want to be a professional, remember, you’ll have to give some other things up, and make some sacrifices to maximize the time you can commit to training. Other than that, it’s so important to be playing and training consistently, and listening to your coaches at practice and games – and taking your time with them seriously. And even though it sounds cliché, don't give up on your dream because if you put in the time, you will see improvements, at the very least, and quite possibly even end up on trial in Italy [chuckles].

    Q: How did you get a chance to go on trial in Italy?
    A: Well, there was really more that went into it than I even know. I’m just so grateful to Joe Balsamo, Angelo Orlando, their friends in Italy, and the whole FA Euro staff for believing in me, working so hard for me, and ultimately providing me with this opportunity. Of course, I also have to mention the PDL guys I played with last season – it was our first year in the league, and they were an absolutely fantastic, and supremely talented group of guys, who I’m proud and lucky to have gotten to play with. Whether I’m back with FA Euro for this coming PDL season or out here in Italy, I wish the best to the team, and hope to see them all soon! And lastly, it’s you guys, the kids. You are the next generation, and I hope that maybe I can open a door for one of you to come to Carpi in the future, or even just to be an example of how hard work, dedication, and love for the game can turn into something amazing. Remember, even with all those attributes you aren’t guaranteed anything, but trust me when I say that without even one of them, you have no shot. So work hard every day, push hard to succeed, and fight the uphill battles – in the end, having done those things is my answer to your question.

    Nadaner leaves for his two-week trial on Saturday, January 18th. We wish him the best of luck while he’s over there (in bocca a lupo – for your practice on the plane). Forza!


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    Richmond Kickers News Release -- www.richmondkickers.com

    Tuesday, February 4, 2014

    RICHMOND, Va. – In conjunction with the groundbreaking multi-year deal unveiled last year between MLS and USL PRO, the Richmond Kickers and D.C. United today announced that the clubs have extended their affiliation agreement through the 2014 season.

    “Last year's partnership with Richmond was mutually beneficial and we are very pleased to be working together again in 2014,” said Dave Kasper, D.C. United General Manager.  “Our younger players who went on loan last season gained valuable experience that can only be realized by playing in professional games. We have had a long-standing relationship with the Kickers and we look forward to making this another win-win year.”

    Separated by a little over 100 miles, the two organizations worked closely to organize loan spells for nearly 20 years before officially affiliating prior to the 2013 season.  As a part of the inaugural agreement, six players featured for the Kickers during the club’s 2013 Regular Season Championship run, with 2013 USL PRO Goalkeeper of the Year Andrew Dykstra, Taylor Kemp, Collin Martin, Michael Seaton, Conor Shanosky and Casey Townsend combining for 5,553 minutes while contributing nine goals and two assists on the season.

    Through the extended arrangement with the Kickers, United will once again send a minimum of four first-team players – to be announced at a later date – on long-term loans to Richmond.

    “We are delighted to extend our affiliation with D.C. United,” said Leigh Cowlishaw, Richmond Kickers Director of Soccer. “Last season's achievements could not better highlight the multiple benefits of partnering with an MLS club. The overall depth of our squad improved and our on-field product improved while providing significant playing time for several of D.C. United's younger players. We look forward to building upon the success of last season and working closely with D.C. United for a long-term alliance.”

    Over the past two decades, 24 D.C. United players have played with the Richmond Kickers, with the roster of players including 2011 Major League Soccer MVP Dwayne De Rosario, Mike Burke, Jeff Causey, Ben Crawley, Brian Kamler, Mike McGinty, Richie Williams, Mark Simpson, Clyde Simms and Robert Ssejjemba. Players who have featured with the Kickers on loan include Brian Carroll, Andrew Dykstra, John DiRaimondo, Taylor Kemp, Justin Mapp, Collin Martin, Andy Metcalf, Bryan Namoff, Anthony Peters, Michael Seaton, Conor Shanosky, Long Tan, Casey Townsend and Ethan White. In franchise history, an impressive 22 players have progressed from the Richmond Kickers into Major League Soccer.

    Joining the Kickers with official MLS affiliations are the Charleston Battery/Vancouver Whitecaps, Dayton Dutch Lions/Columbus Crew, Harrisburg City Islanders/Philadelphia Union, OKC Energy FC/Sporting Kansas City, Orlando City/Sporting Kansas City, Pittsburgh Riverhounds/Houston Dynamo, Rochester Rhinos/New England Revolution, Sacramento Republic FC/Portland Timbers, San Jose Earthquakes and Wilmington Hammerheads/Toronto FC.  Last week, the LA Galaxy II was introduced as the first MLS formed and funded USL PRO team to operate within the club’s player development structure.

    MLS sides without formal USL PRO affiliates will send their Reserve teams to participate in interleague competition with USL PRO squads. Fixtures between these MLS Reserve teams and USL PRO sides will count in both the official USL PRO and MLS Reserve League standings. With the goal of enhancing the development of professional soccer players in North America, this partnership between the two leagues aims to strengthen competition and establish a solid foundation for future collaboration.


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    Dayton Dutch Lions FC News Release – www.daytondutchlionsfc.com  

    Tuesday, February 4, 2014

    DAYTON, Ohio – Dayton Dutch Lions FC and Wright State University forward Emilie Fillion has signed a professional contract with Dutch club FC Twente. She will travel to Holland Friday and join the team for the second half of the 2013-14 BeNe League season.

    FC Twente is currently in second place behind Standard Liege (Belgium), looking to repeat last years’ success and win the Championship.

    A native of Saint-Huber, Quebec, Fillion played two seasons with the Dutch Lions, being named to the W-League’s All-Southeastern Conference Team in 2013. Fillion also received national attention in 2013 her bicycle kick goal was featured on ESPN’s top 10 plays.

    Fillion completed her career at Wright State in 2013, being named Second Team All-Horizon League after leading the team with eight goals and 21 total points.

    “Having Emilie signing a professional contract with our partner club FC Twente is great not just for Emilie, but also for the club and our women’s program,” Dutch Lions Technical Director Sid van Druenen said. “Playing for the Dayton Dutch Lions FC gives players the opportunity to develop towards the dream of playing professional soccer and I am sure Emilie will do well in European professional soccer.

    “She is a very determined and strong player with the ability to decide games not only by scoring decisive goals, but also with a tremendous work rate and team spirit. I wish her the best of luck!”

     “This is exactly what we set out to accomplish when we started the Dayton Dutch Lions FC four years ago: give players a chance to become professional players, either in the USA or in Europe,” Dutch Lions President Mike Mossel said. “And FC Twente is not just a team; Emilie will soon find out that this is one of the top organizations in Europe when it comes to soccer. Their women’s program is very well structured and marketed.

    “Due to her determination and scoring ability I am sure she will contribute to the team and do very well, like she did for us. I am really excited for her and wish her all the best.”

    FC Twente is a Dutch professional soccer club that plays in the city of Enschede. The Women’s team won the Championship of the BeNe League in 2013 after beating Standard Liege at home. The men’s team plays in the Premier League and won the national championship in 2010 and the Dutch KNVB CUP in 2011.

     “Signing Emilie is good for the dynamics in the team,” FC Twente Head Coach Arjen Veurink said. “She brings experience from another country that can benefit us. With her attacking qualities she will contribute to the team, also bringing extra competition which will be good as well.”


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  • 02/05/14--12:27: Energy Add Trio To Squad
  • OKC Energy FC News Release -- www.energyfc.com

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

    OKLAHOMA CITY – OKC Energy FC has announced the signings of Cyprian Hedrick, Kyle Miller and Nate Shiffman, General Manager Jason Hawkins announced today.

    Hedrick is a native of Duala, Cameroon, and has played professionally with Phoenix FC (USL PRO) and Sporting Kansas City (MLS), while also having played for the Fresno Fuego (PDL).

    “Cyprian is extremely athletic,” said Energy FC Head Coach Jimmy Nielsen. “He’s returned from his injury stronger. I expect, that along with his hunger, will bring him an even better season this year.”

    Hedrick was selected as the 30th overall pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft by Sportking KC. He played at San Jacinto State Junior College from 2008-09 before transferring to Coastal Carolina to finish his collegiate career from 2010-11.

    Hedrick appeared in 59 games for Coastal Carolina, registering six goals and one assist as a defenseman. The Chanticleers went 18-4-0 in 20011 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Championship.

    He was named to the 2011 NCAA Men’s Division I All-South Atlantic Team by the NSCAA and first-team All-Big South. He also earned Big South Defensive Player of the Year honors and was named to the 2011 NSCAA Men’s Collegiate Scholar All-American first team. He was an All-Region honorable mention honoree at San Jacinto.

    Miller, a native of Overland Park, Kan., appeared in seven MLS Reserve League matches for Sporting Kansas City during the 2012 season.

    “I know Kyle hasn’t played very many games over the last couple of years,” Energy FC Head Coach Jimmy Nielsen said. “But, I know he will develop. He’s a very professional and hard-working guy. I look forward to help him further his development.”

    Miller had Sporting KC’s game-tying goal in an international friendly against Stoke City FC, and also made an appearance in an international friendly against Monpellier Herault SC.

    Miller was drafted in the 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft and is a former member of the Sporting Kansas City juniors youth academy and attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School before playing collegiately at Rockhurst University.

    “I am extremely excited to continue my career with Energy FC,” Miller said. “I’d like to thank Jimmy Nielsen and the Energy FC organization for giving me the chance to be a part of the first team in Energy FC history. I look forward to playing their inaugural season, and I’m excited to meet my teammates, staff and fans in Oklahoma City. I cannot wait to get to work.”

    Miller appeared in 80 matches in his collegiate career, recording three goals and seven assists, and enjoyed a standout senior season in 2011 that saw him receive recognition including all-conference, all-Midwest and all-America honors.

    He anchored a Hawks' defense which allowed only seven goals during the 2011 season, fewest in the nation, and helped the team reach the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals.

    Shiffman, a native of Midlothian, Va., played midfielder four years at Virginia Commonwealth University. He was captain his senior year for the Rams and started 22 matches. Shiffman had five assists on the year and was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Tournament team.

    Shiffman was also captain his junior year and started in 21 matches with two assists. As a sophomore he scored a goal and had a pair of assists in 19 games and had one assist in eight games played as a freshman.

    Shiffman started all 12 matches for the RVA Football Club during the 2013 season. He had four assists for a team that won the national championship. He previously played for the PDL’s Frederickburg Hotspurs and earned a nomination to the PDL National Team of the Week.

    “Nate caught our eye at the InfoSport combine with his consistent and hard-working performances,” said Energy FC Assistant Coach Chris Spendlove. “After further exploring his background as a player and person, we heard nothing but praise in his ability, attitude and hunger to play at the next level. He is very technically gifted, fit and has the versatility to play in numerous positions across the midfield. We are excited to have Nate on board and confident he will become an integral member of our squad this season.”

    Shiffman played club soccer for the Virginia Rush U-19 team that won the Virginia State Cup. He was co-captain of the U18 Richmond Strikers Development Academy team and won various awards and honors, including being named a Top Drawer Player to Watch.

    Shiffman prepped at James River High School and was co-captain of the varsity team and two-time most valuable player and two-time assists leader. He was named Dominion District Player of the Year and was a three-time All-Dominion District first team honoree and all-academic team selection. He was named all-central region second team and all-academic team twice. He was also a two-time Richmond Times Dispatch second team all-metro honoree.

    Season tickets for OKC Energy FC are available by calling the Energy FC office at 405-235-KICK (5425). Fans are encouraged to act quickly. Seats in the prime areas are being purchased quickly.


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    W-League News Release

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

    TAMPA, Fla. – The W-League is pleased to announce the addition of the Braddock Road Stars Elite for the league’s 2014 season.  The franchise will be based in Northern Virginia, with more information regarding ownership, staff and the team’s first head coach to be announced in the coming weeks.

    “The Braddock Road Stars Elite are an addition to the W-League that I couldn’t be more excited about,” W-League Senior Director Amanda Duffy said. “We expect the Stars Elite to continue raising our standards on and off the field and to be an impact team in the W-League for many seasons to come.”

    The Stars Elite will join the Northeastern Conference, where they will face W-League powers such as the Washington Spirit Reserves and Long Island Rough Riders. The full 2014 W-League alignment and schedule is set to be announced later this week as the league enters its 20th Anniversary season.


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    Dayton Dutch Lions FC News Release -- www.dutchlionsfc.com

    Thursday, February 6, 2014

    DAYTON, Ohio -- The Dayton Dutch Lions USL PRO Team is proud to announce a multi-year apparel sponsorship agreement with Nike. The club's W-League, PDL, and youth academy teams will also benefit from the partnership by donning Nike kits this season.

    "We believe that innovative branding is one of the key aspects of professionalism and that's what Nike stands for," Dayton Dutch Lions Business Development Manager Koen Driessen said. "It's about recognizing quality and we trust that they will bring us that. We are looking forward to playing with passion under Nike."

    "We are looking forward to partnering with the Dayton Dutch Lions to bring innovative product and design to the pitch starting in the 2014 USL PRO Season," said Nike Soccer GM, Aaron Barnett. "We will work together to help all players reach their full potential and shape the future success of the team."

    Dayton joins the Charleston Battery, Charlotte Eagles, Orange County Blues, Phoenix FC, Pittsburgh Riverhounds, and Wilmington Hammerheads as USL PRO teams that have partnered with Nike. FC Twente, an official partner of the Dutch Lions, is a world-famous Dutch team that is also supported by Nike. 

    The Dayton Dutch Lions start their USL PRO regular season schedule with road matches against the New York Red Bulls Reserves (March 30) and Charlotte Eagles (April 4) before heading home for their opener against Rochester on April 11.


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    Orange County Blues FC News Release -- www.ocbluesfc.com

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

    IRVINE, Calif. – After weeks of build-up on social media, Owner Ali Mansouri today officially introduced the Orange County Blues Football Club in front of a packed room at the Wyndham Hotel in Irvine. Formerly known as the Los Angeles Blues, the club will begin a new era in 2014 as it competes in USL PRO at its new home, Anteater Stadium, on the campus of the University of California, Irvine.

    The OC Blues were pleased to welcome the club’s loyal fans, staff, sponsors and members of the team to join in the celebration of today’s important announcements. The re-launch event also included the debut of the Blues’ 2014 jerseys, which feature the primary sponsor Sports 1 Marketing and the back of jersey sponsor Destination Irvine, and the new club crest.

    The new crest represents Orange County’s beautiful beaches, glorious sunshine, and the passion for soccer that exists throughout the county. The Blues also unveiled their new home, away and alternate kits. The home jersey is royal blue with white accents, the away kit is white with blue accents, and the alternate kit is orange with white accents, paying homage to their new home in Orange County.

    The OC Blues FC joined USL PRO as an expansion team in 2010, debuting in the 2011 season. The strongest U.S. men’s professional soccer league on and off the field, USL PRO is entering the second season of its partnership with Major League Soccer (MLS). Focused on league stability and franchise performance longevity, USL PRO now features 14 teams, including new rivals for the Blues this season in the LA Galaxy II and Sacramento Republic FC.

    Orange County is now a part of the other beautiful cities and regions represented in USL PRO, leading to the Blues’ new slogan as “Orange County’s Very Own”. The OC Blues FC will represent every culture, and every language in the beautiful and diverse Orange County area. The love for soccer exists throughout Orange County, and now every resident can unite as one to show their support for the area’s new soccer team as it brings the beautiful game to the world.

    “Our relocation and name change reflect a deeper transition within the team organization to a new level of seriousness about the future of the club,” said General Manager Jon Spencer. “We are arriving in Orange County as a result of a movement built on desire and commitment toward a future for the Blues that envisions a new level of overall passion for the game. We are the driving for our community to be our long-standing supporters moving forward. We want this team to represent all of the greatness that is Orange County.”

    The OC Blues FC will play their first home game on April 5th against the Oklahoma City Energy FC. Join the team in its quest to win its first USL PRO Championship. Be present, loud, and proud and enjoy Orange County’s one and only professional soccer team. It’s time to show that Orange County is a soccer county. Visit The Blues new website www.ocbluesfc.com for more information on tickets, players and upcoming events.


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    River City Rovers News Release -- www.roverssoccer.com

    Thursday, February 6, 2014

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The River City Rovers announced today that the club has named Tyrone Marshall the new head coach of its PDL team. The former MLS all-star and Jamaican international will lead the fourth-year franchise as it looks to grow and improve in 2014.

    “I’m very excited about the opportunity to join the Rovers organization,” said Marshall. “The potential for soccer in Louisville is tremendous and the vision Rovers has outlined for the future is something I wanted to be a part of.”

    Marshall had a decorated career in MLS spanning 15 years and more than 350 games with five teams, winning two MLS Cups (2002, 2005 LA Galaxy), three Lamar Hunt US Open Cups (2005 LA; 2009, 2010 Seattle), alongside being selected to two MLS All-Star games. Marshall also had more than 80 appearances for the Jamaican National Team, including numerous appearances in World Cup Qualifying, tallying five career goals in the process.

    “Tyrone’s playing career speaks for itself,” said Rovers President and GM Nathan Pitcock. “His playing experience will be an invaluable asset for players at the PDL level, as he knows exactly what it takes to make it at the highest level.”

    Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Marshall and his family moved to Fort Lauderdale, Fla. when he was 14 years old. His journey next took him to Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Ky., where he played from 1994-95, winning an NAIA National Championship in ’95. Marshall then transferred to Florida International University where he played from 1996-97 before joining MLS.

    After retiring from the Colorado Rapids in 2012, Marshall moved back to Kentucky where his wife Cari is from and finished his degree at Lindsey Wilson while coaching with the men’s team as a graduate assistant.

    Marshall currently holds a USSF “A” License and in addition to his duties as Rovers PDL head coach, he will also be working with the Rovers Youth Academy.

    “Being able to have Tyrone work with both the youth and the PDL side will help us immensely by ensuring there’s consistency across the entire club in terms of our style of play and coaching methods.  This consistency is an essential part of the Rovers identity,” said Pitcock.

    Stay tuned to roverssoccer.com and Rovers Twitter (@ROVERSSOCCER) and Facebook page (facebook.com/RiverCityRovers) for more exciting news to come and some upcoming features with our new coach.


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  • 02/06/14--17:48: D.C.'s Seaton On Upward Path
  • USL PRO Feature

    Thursday, February 6, 2014

    BRADENTON, Fla. – It’s been a little more than a year since Michael Season became the fifth, and youngest, Homegrown Player in D.C. United’s history. Since then, he’s scored on his professional debut, made his debut in Major League Soccer, trained with Inter Milan and made his debut for the Jamaican national team.

    Now in his second professional training camp, Seaton has added size and continues to grow as he works toward earning regular minutes for United in MLS. As he looked back on his first professional season, though, the time spent with the Kickers was a good, and valuable, experience.

    “With me being young, I was 16, and scored my first professional goal at Richmond in my first game,” Seaton said this week at IMG Academy. “Hearing I was going to Richmond, it wasn’t like I was upset, I just know I have to work on getting to this level, to the MLS level, and Richmond helped tremendously. If I go again, I wouldn’t feel bad about that because I need to develop.”

    Seaton’s debut came on the road against the Wilmington Hammerheads last April. After Luke Vercollone had given Richmond the lead in the second half, Seaton put the game away late as his speed took him away from the Hammerheads’ defense on a breakaway and he coolly slotted home his finish a little under a month before his 17th birthday.

    “It was awesome,” Seaton said. “It was in the last minute and it basically secured the entire game, that we were going to win it. It was awesome and I wanted to score before I turned 17, so that was just a plus.”

    Seaton finished with five goals in 17 league appearances for the Kickers last summer as his time was split between D.C. and Richmond. As the youngest player in the squad he appreciated the chance not only to play, but to learn from the experienced professionals at the club, such as Vercollone, Henry Kalungi and Matt Delicâte.

    “They were great role models,” Seaton said. “Delicâte, playing my position, he’s a goal-scorer and that’s what I’m trying to create, that’s what I’m trying to start doing, go score a lot of goals as a forward. Deli is a person I learned from, and all the veterans on the team, even if they played defense for all I care, they told me what not to do, what to do, and they made me a better person and a better player.”

    Seaton also drew parallels between his respective coaches at D.C. and Richmond, a sign of the shared visions and methodology shared between the two clubs.

    “Leigh is very energetic and I get the same feeling from Benny anyway, so it was like similar people in different bodies,” he said. “Leigh shouts. Leigh is energetic, Benny is energetic, so it was like when I hear Leigh I think of Ben and when I hear Ben I think of Leigh, back-and-forth.”

    Seaton went on to make his first start for United late in September, having made his debut as a substitute in August. The native of Spanish Town then received a call-up to the Jamaican National Team in October, making his international debut against Trinidad & Tobago.

    After a brief offseason, the youngster then headed to Italy to train with Inter. Again the youngest in the group as he trained with the Italian giant’s Primavera (Under-20) squad, Seaton continued to grow as a player while absorbing as much of the country’s culture as he could.

    “It was good,” Seaton said. “I brought my camera, I was taking a lot of pictures there. It wasn’t a vacation, everywhere I go is straight-up business, but it was awesome being in Italy. The language is very hard but I learned enough just to get around - hi, bye, good morning - little things like that to get me through the game.

    “Playing with [Inter’s Primavera] is like playing with [United’s] first team. They’re very technical, strong, so going in there I learned a lot, especially from guys that were 18 years old, 19 years old. … Learning from them, learning from the coach, the way they play, I want to bring that back to the U.S.”

    Seaton certainly appears to have a maturity beyond his years, but a youthful exuberance is also on display on and off the field. As one of the first Homegrown Players to be loaned to a USL PRO affiliate under the partnership between the two leagues, alongside Sporting Kansas City’s Jon Kempin and the Philadelphia Union’s Cristhian Hernandez and Jimmy McLaughlin, Seaton could soon be an example of a player whose growth was accelerated by the experience gained in USL PRO.

    While older players such as Dom Dwyer and Brian Ownby shone in the first season of the partnership between the leagues, further down the road it may be players like Seaton who are the biggest beneficiaries. So, would Seaton like to emulate Dwyer, who through his role in championship seasons for both Orlando City and Sporting Kansas City became the poster-boy for the MLS-USL PRO partnership?

    “No, I want to be myself and play to my potential, and everyone else should be striving for the same thing,” Seaton said. “Dom Dwyer, I learned from him too, I watched him play, a tremendous player, but I’m not going to go and say I want to be like Dom Dwyer, I’ll go ahead and say I want to be like Michael Seaton and be the best I can be.”

    As far as Seaton has come in the past 12 months, his career certainly appears to be one that has many chapters lying ahead.


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    W-League News Release

    Thursday, February 6, 2014

    TAMPA, Fla. – The W-League released its schedule and alignment for its 20th Anniversary season today, with all the action for North America’s first and longest-standing women’s league getting underway on Saturday, May 10.

    The league welcomes four new teams in 2014 – the Braddock Road Stars Elite, the Colorado Pride, the Gulf Coast Texans and the Sedona FC Strikers. The Colorado Storm have also joined to continue the 18-year history of the franchise that previously competed as the Colorado Force and Colorado Rapids Women.  The 2013 W-League champion Pali Blues merged with the Western Conference’s other playoff participant – the LA Strikers – to form the LA Blues.

    “I am truly elated for the W-League to be celebrating the completion of its second full decade of operation,” W-League Senior Director Amanda Duffy said.  “The 2014 season will feature a tremendous level of competition and once again highlight strengthened rivalries that capture the excitement of the teams and league.

    “With the quality of players and coaches who will compete for the 2014 W-League Championship, I fully expect the W-League will solidify its position as the top women’s pro-am development league in North America, in support of NWSL.”

    The W-League is once again divided into four geographic conferences – Central, Northeastern, Southeastern and Western. The Western Conference features eight teams, while the Central and Northeastern have six and the Southeastern has five.

    2014 W-League Alignment

    Central Conference
    K-W United FC         
    Laval Comets
    London Gryphons
    Ottawa Fury
    Quebec Dynamo ARSQ
    Toronto Lady Lynx

    Northeastern Conference
    Braddock Road Stars Elite
    Long Island Rough Riders
    New Jersey Wildcats
    New York Magic
    North Jersey Valkyries
    Washington Spirit Reserves

    Southeastern Conference
    Atlanta Silverbacks
    Carolina Elite Cobras
    Charlotte Lady Eagles         
    Dayton Dutch Lions
    Gulf Coast Texans

    Western Conference
    Bay Area Breeze
    Colorado Pride      
    Colorado Rush
    Colorado Storm     
    LA Blues   
    Santa Clarita Blue Heat
    Seattle Sounders Women
    Sedona FC Strikers                  

    The season opens on Saturday, May 10 as the New York Magic travel to renew their rivalry with the Long Island Rough Riders. Week 2 sees the debut of the Sedona FC Strikers as they welcome the LA Blues on Friday, May 16, while the Braddock Road Stars Elite also make their debut when they travel to face the Washington Spirit Reserves on Saturday, May 17. 

    The Colorado Pride kick off their inaugural campaign when they welcome the Colorado Storm on Thursday, May 22, and the Gulf Coast Texans get underway when they travel to face longtime league power the Atlanta Silverbacks on Saturday, May 24. On the same day the 2013 W-League finalist Laval Comets open their season at the London Gryphons, while the Quebec Dynamo ARSQ (formerly Quebec City Amiral) visit the 2012 Champion Ottawa Fury.

    The final weekend of the regular season is set for July 11-13, with 21 of the 25 teams in action as the race for postseason spots winds down. Full playoff information will be announced at a later date.

    YouTube Live will serve as the official video platform for the W-League in 2014. Live games from throughout the league as well as team highlights and weekly league videos will provide fans a front-row seat during the season. Select games will be available live for fans to view for free on the largest global video sharing site. Some of the features YouTube Live will present to fans during live games include DVR, chat, full HD support, and social media interactivity. Fans are encouraged to subscribe for free to the team-specific YouTube channels. Please visit http://www.uslsoccer.com/connect for links to team accounts.

    The W-League is recognized throughout the world for providing superior competition for female players, while offering affordable family entertainment for fans across North America. The caliber of W-League talent continues to grow, with 36 of the 43 players who competed in the U.S. vs. Canada Women’s National team match this past weekend boasting W-League experience.

    2014 W-League Schedule


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    USL News Release

    Friday, February 7, 2014

    TAMPA, Fla. – USL and the National Guard are teaming once again in 2014 to offer a series of free development clinics for youth soccer players. A pair of clinics has already been set for 2014, with the Jacksonville (Florida) Youth Soccer Club set to host on Saturday, February 15 and Fredericksburg (Virginia) Area Soccer Association hosting on Saturday, February 22. Additional dates and locations will be announced in the coming weeks.

    The clinics are free to all participants, and are designed to benefit boys and girls youth soccer players ages 15-18. The clinics are led by USSF-licensed coaches and college players, and are designed to introduce, sharpen, and challenge every player, help prepare them for their upcoming season, and take them to the next level of their development.

    Lunch will be provided at both events and clinic personnel will be available to answer questions about the college recruiting process and potential financial aid. The clinic curriculum will focus on individual foot skills, technical drills, tactical practices, small-sided games and coached scrimmages, all presented in a fun, positive learning environment.

    “Following the overwhelming success of the clinics we offered in 2013, we are proud to once again join with the National Guard to help grow youth soccer,” USL Executive Director of League Growth & Partnerships Steven Short said. “Any help and guidance we can provide to these high school-aged players is crucial as they prepare for the next chapter of their lives.”

    The JYSC event is set to run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Chuck Rogers Regional Park in Jacksonville, with registration from 8-9 a.m. After a warm-up and parent briefing, the players will participate in a technical training session from 9:30-11:30 a.m. with small-sided games immediately following lunch. The day concludes with full 11 v 11 games from 2:30 -4 p.m.

    FASA is hosting its third USL/National Guard event, set for 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Fredericksburg Field House. Following check-in, the morning session will run from 10-11:30 a.m. with the afternoon session set for 1-2:30 p.m. The National Guard will make a presentation during lunch, from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

    “Hosting free clinics and camps gives the Guard a vehicle to introduce a local Guard recruiter to members of their local community who may not have considered the Guard as an opportunity to earn a paycheck and get tuition assistance to help pay for their college costs,” said Sgt. 1st Class David Therrell, program manager for the National Guard’s soccer program. “Both coaches and parents get excited to hear there is alternative financial assistance for college available through Guard membership.”


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    Charlotte Eagles News Release -- www.charlotteeagles.com

    Saturday, February 8, 2014

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Veteran midfielder Jorge Herrera and the Charlotte Eagles are happy to announce that the Colombian midfielder is returning for his eighth season with the Eagles, pending USSF approval.

    Herrera, 33, finished his 2013 campaign with 10 goals and four assists.  His 10 goals were a career-high in an Eagles jersey, topping the nine he scored en route to 2008 USL Second Division runner-up finish. Herrera now sits at third all-time in goals scored behind only Dustin Swinehart and Jacob Coggins in franchise history. His 32 career assists are second only to Dustin Swinehart. 

    Coach Mark Steffens was excited to have Jorge back for the 2014 season. “Jorge provides so much for us both on and off the field.  He had one of his best seasons on the field last year. He also provides tremendous leadership off the field, leading a bible study for the Spanish speaking players on our team. Our coaching staff is thrilled to have him back and believe he will pick up where he left off last season.”

    Last season Herrera was named to the USL PRO All-League Second Team. In his career Herrera has been a finalist for the 2008 USL Second Division MVP, when he finished behind teammate Dustin Swinehart, and has also been named to the USL Second Division All-League First Team in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and USL PRO All-League First Team in 2011.


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    Southern West Virginia King's Warriors News Release -- www.wvkingswarriors.org

    Saturday, February 8, 2014

    BLUEFIELD, W.V. -- Dr. James Blume Jr. and the Nehemiah Group are pleased to announce that the Southern West Virginia King's Warriors' PDL team will be moving to Bluefield, W.V. for the 2014 season. The team will play at the main stadium at the East River Soccer Complex. The announcement was made at a Saturday morning news conference at the Quality Inn Hotel & Conference Center in Bluefield.

    The King's Warriors will be strongly backed by the East River Soccer Association and its' President George Aiello. The team has played at the YMCA Paul Cline Memorial Youth Sports Complex in Beckley in its first two seasons in the PDL in 2012 and 2013.  

    "The East River Soccer Association and George Aiello have expressed interest in the King's Warriors playing at their facility for a long time," said Dr. Blume. "When we were informed in October, 2013, that the YMCA in Beckley would not be available for the 2014 season, we felt it was the perfect time to make this move.

    "While it was not our initial desire to move from Beckley, all the circumstances came together for us to positively make this move. We want to thank the YMCA in Beckley for allowing us to start our PDL franchise there two years ago. But now we are excited to have the opportunity to play in Bluefield and represent all of Southern West Virginia, and we expect to continue to draw fans and support from all areas of the region."

    "The enthusiasm and commitment that the East River Soccer Association has shown has been truly amazing. They have really stepped up to offer their support to help make the King's Warriors a success on and off the field. We look forward to the King's Warriors playing in Bluefield for many years to come."

    Aiello expressed his delight at the King's Warriors move to Bluefield. "I'm also excited to have a PDL team come to the area with the positive impact it will mean to the different businesses," he said. "It will give them an opportunity to showcase what they have to offer to people from all over the PDL's South Atlantic Division. It's a great opportunity to have this partnership between the East River Soccer River Association and the King's Warriors for what it is going to bring to the local community of Bluefield, West Virginia, as well as Mercer County, Princeton and the folks of Bluefield, Virginia and Tazewell county. We can't wait for the first game."

    The East River Soccer Complex is also the home of the Bluefield College Rams' men's and women's soccer teams, as well as the boy's and girl's high school soccer teams from Bluefield and Graham High Schools.

    The East River Soccer Association boasts of 800 participants (U4 to high school age) from Mercer County in West Virginia, along with Tazewell and Wythe Counties in Virginia. The complex also annually hosts the Princeton - Mercer County Chamber of Commerce / East River Soccer Tournament, which attracts more than 25 teams from Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia.

    Meanwhile the King's Warriors' various soccer programs attract participants from Monroe, Summers, and Mercer counties in West Virginia.

    The Nehemiah group and the East River Soccer Association are also going to partner to make some significant upgrades in the future to the main stadium and soccer complex. Some of the upgrades will include new dressing rooms and showers, a new press box, new stadium lighting, and field improvements.

    "Through the partnership we are going to have with the King's Warriors, we intend on making some fabulous upgrades," said Aiello. "We've had some initial plans put together and we're continuing to raise funds to make those enhancements happen. Bringing in quality teams like the King's Warriors and teams from the PDL are only going to help us with some of those enhancements."


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  • 02/10/14--10:22: Chin Ready To Prove Himself
  • Orlando City Feature -- www.orlandocitysoccer.com

    Monday, February 10, 2014

    ORLANDO, Fla. -- With the first game of the preseason under a week away, Orlando City forward Dennis Chin is itching to get back onto the pitch. The Rollins College grad looks to get back into the shape he exhibited during his breakout season in 2012 in which he led the USL PRO in goals with 11.

    Going into just the first week of the team’s preseason, Orlando City Head Coach Adrian Heath believes Chin has started off very well.

    “He looks sharp, and looks as though he’s fit,” Heath said. “Hopefully he’ll have a season like his breakout (one) and we’re looking forward to working with him again.”

    Chin has spent his offseason at Spectrum Sports Performance in Orlando working on his speed, touch on the ball, box cutting, and just maintaining the current trademarks that makes him the player he is today. The forward has also spent time to gain an even better feel on the field to make sure he is always in the right place at the right time.

    “I’ve been especially working on making sure I’m creating more space for myself and my teammates, making correct runs based on certain situations, etc.,” Chin said. “That’ll help out our team immensely. It’ll give me more time on the ball and space to create goals.”

    Heath noted that last year Chin often times left early and was ruled offside, but the two spoke about it together. Heath expects big things out of him this year and also said that he was maturing nicely.

    “His speed is his asset and what we have to do is utilize it at the appropriate time,” Heath said. “We’re very possession oriented, but what we have to do is to be better in the final third and to make the most out of what his physicality is and the rest of group.”

    The Lions are known to score, and to score in bunches. Just look at the USL PRO Championship from last season if you need any proof of that. Going into the final season in the USL PRO, Chin does not believe that is going to change.

    “We just need to buckle down and when one guy gets turned I know where to make my runs,” Chin said. “It ties in perfectly with our system.”

    Heath reiterated Chin’s feelings about the upcoming season’s attacking prowess.

    “If you look at it, we’ve probably scored more goals then anybody in the last three years,” Heath stated. “Offensively, we’ve never had an issue and so I expect it to carry on the same. We know if you look at the league table you’re going to have to score 50, 60, 70 goals to win it. Every year you look at the squad before the season starts and say ‘Do we have that many people that can score that many goals within the team?’ I think we will have that this year.”

    Players on this year’s roster also have their sights set on Major League Soccer (MLS). Heath has said multiple times that players on the 2014 squad are being evaluated for a possible spot in 2015. Chin is one of those players fighting for a spot.

    “This year is a huge year for him,” Heath said of Chin. “The next seven to eight months are going to be a huge opportunity for him. He knows the repercussions of this season and no one wants to go to the MLS more than he does.”

    Chin knows there is something large looming in 2015, but knows that 2014 may be the most important year in his young professional career.

    “Moving forward personally, I just want to play and get back to what I usually do – high energy, high pace, good touch and technical ability,” he said. “Just making sure every thing is clean while I’m constantly improving. Not just being satisfied with winning a Championship and trying my best to make it to MLS.”


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    Richmond Kickers Feature -- www.richmondkickers.com

    Monday, February 10, 2014

    RICHMOND, Va. -- The newly extended affiliation agreement between the Richmond Kickers and D.C. United saw Kickers Head Coach Leigh Cowlishaw travel to Sarasota, Fla. this week to join D.C. United’s preseason training camp. Over the 10-day period, Cowlishaw has been involved with practice sessions and exhibition games, while observing training methodologies and best practices and evaluating potential players who may see playing time on loan in Richmond this season.

    “Observing the training camp has been great,” said Cowlishaw.  "It is a continuation of last season and we better understand the process as we move into our second year of the affiliation. We were able to accomplish our on-field objectives last year while providing many D.C. United players meaningful minutes in a professional environment.”

    Separated by a little over 100 miles, the two organizations worked closely to organize loan spells for nearly 20 years before officially affiliating prior to the 2013 season. As a part of the inaugural agreement, six players featured for the Kickers during the club’s 2013 Regular Season Championship run, with 2013 USL PRO Goalkeeper of the Year Andrew Dykstra, Taylor Kemp, Collin Martin, Michael Seaton, Conor Shanosky and Casey Townsend combining for 5,553 minutes while contributing nine goals and two assists on the season.

    Through the extended arrangement with the Kickers, United will once again send a minimum of four first-team players – to be announced at a later date – on long-term loans to Richmond.

    “Although we have had ongoing discussions regarding potential loan players we do not expect the final decision to be made until early March,” said Cowlishaw.  “Logically, younger players are the prime candidates to be on the Kickers. Last year, both sides felt positive about the amount of playing time the six loanees received and how beneficial it was for their overall development.”

    D.C. United’s 15-day training camp included preseason games against Toronto FC and Chicago Fire. Cowlishaw will observe the final scrimmage against Chicago on Wednesday before returning to Richmond to prepare for the Kickers’ preseason, which officially kicks off with a match against George Mason University on February 22.


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    Super Y-League News Release

    Monday, February 10, 2014

    TAMPA, Fla. –
    The Super Y-League announced its First 11 rankings for the 2013 season today, honoring the clubs that rose above the pack on both a competitive and administrative basis. Earning the top spot this year is Waza FC East.

    Michigan-based Waza FC East claimed a pair of titles at the 2013 Super Y-League North American Finals, including U12 Boys and U17 Girls.  The club just edged out New York’s BW Gottschee, which also took home two titles at the SYL finals thanks to its U13 and U14 Boys. 

    Cedar Stars Academy of New Jersey took the third spot overall, followed by Internationals Soccer Club of Cleveland Ohio, which claimed the U14 Girls title in penalty kicks and finished second in U13 Girls.

    Perennial Super Y-League power the Ottawa Fury (U16 Boys finalist) finished in the fifth spot, followed by Florida’s West Pines United FC in sixth (U12 Girls and U15 Boys champions), the Northern Virginia Majestics at seventh, the Northern Virginia Royals (U13 Boys finalist) in eighth, Rage SC of Pennsylvania in ninth, Michigan-based Alliance Academy Black (U13 Girls champion) in 10th and Soccer Plus Academy of New York in 11th.

    Super Y-League First 11

    Rank Club Score
    1 Waza FC East 86.74
    2 BW Gottschee 85.48
    3 Cedar Stars Academy 81.76
    4 Internationals Soccer Club 80.95
    5 Ottawa Fury 78.55
    6 West Pines United FC 74.11
    7 Northern Virginia Majestics 71.65
    8 Northern Virginia Royals 70.13
    9 Rage SC 64.41
    10 Alliance Academy Black 62.08
    11 Soccer Plus Academy 60.52

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    Orlando City News Release -- www.orlandocitysoccer.com

    Tuesday, February 11, 2014

    ORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando City SC kicks off the 2014 preseason on Tuesday night against Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET as the Lions begin their historic final season in USL PRO before joining MLS in 2015.  

    “It should be a difficult test, because I think Chicago have been down here for a few weeks already,” said Orlando City Head Coach Adrian Heath. “But we’ll go with the same approach that we always do, which is to win the game, and it will also give us an opportunity to give each of the players on trial a run.”

    The Fire have been training in Ave Maria, Fla., since January 27, in preparation for the MLS regular season, which opens on March 9 against Chivas USA. High-profile players such as University of Central Florida alumni Sean Johnson and forward Mike Magee headline the Chicago side, which is aiming to get back into the postseason for the first time since 2012.

    The last time the two clubs played each other was the U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals at Toyota Park on June 26, 2013. Despite sitting tied 1-1 through the first 60 minutes, the Lions eventually fell to the Fire 5-1. Prior to the defeat, Orlando topped the Colorado Rapids and Sporting Kansas City in the 2013 edition of the Open Cup.

    After the Fire friendly Tuesday night, Orlando City begins the 2014 Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic. The Lions are grouped with the Montreal Impact (February 19), Toronto FC (February 22), and the Columbus Crew (February 26). There will also be a match held on March 1, with the opponent to be determined after the group stage.

    The club’s roster currently consists of: Goalkeepers Carl Woszczynski, Miguel Gallardo, Defenders Joseph Toby, Luke Boden, Rob Valentino, Midfielders Darwin Ceren Anthony Pulis, Kevin Molino, Yordany Alvarez, Austin Da Luz, James O’Connor, Jamie Watson and Forward Dennis Chin. Multiple trialists will also be participating in the friendly match and throughout the upcoming preseason. 

    Ceren was announced as the club’s latest player signing Thursday afternoon, with the El Salvadorian captain playing in both 2014 and 2015 in MLS. He is the third player guaranteed a spot on Orlando’s roster in MLS, with Alvarez and Molino the other two.

    The Lions have been on the field training since Monday morning, practicing at the Seminole Soccer Complex in Sanford, Fla. Orlando’s regular season begins on March 22 in Charleston against the Battery before coming back to Central Florida for the home opener against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Saturday, March 29.

    Admission for the Chicago match starts at $9 for children and $13 for adults. Parking is available around the soccer facility. The address of the complex is 5500 34th Street West, Bradenton, FL, 34210.  The match will also be live streamed via imgacademy.com.

    For the full preseason schedule, visit OrlandoCitySoccer.com.


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    Austin Aztex News Release -- www.austinaztex.com

    Monday, February 10, 2014

    AUSTIN, Texas -- Austin Aztex Head Coach Manuel Buentello has named Zack Pope as assistant coach of the reigning PDL Champions as they look to defend their title in the 2014 season.

    “I am very pleased to be working with Zack,” Buentello said. “He thoroughly understands the goals of the organization and what it takes to achieve them. Zack has been involved with the Aztex since the beginning and he is intimately linked to its success. He has represented the organization very well during his time as a player.”

    Pope, 27, was the team captain for the Austin Aztex and appeared in 32 games during their previous two seasons. Playing as a defender, Pope helped the Aztex stand among the league leaders in fewest goals allowed through both seasons.

    “Zack was not only the captain of the team, but also a leader off the field,” Buentello said. “Through his hard work and dedication, he earned respect from both his teammates and the coaching staff.

    “We are Austin’s team and I was looking for the perfect candidate that could represent the Aztex’s heart and soul. With the success we achieved on the field last season, I felt it important to keep the same continuity.  After looking at a long list of possible candidates, I was delighted to hear of Zack’s interest in moving his career in a new direction. He is a product of Austin and has been a constant in Austin’s soccer scene from his early beginnings as a successful local youth player to playing for the PDL National Championship team in our city.”

    Pope has an extensive history of playing soccer in the Austin area. Pope attended Stony Point High School in Round Rock and played collegiately at Duke University, where he graduated with a psychology degree and a minor in sociology.

    Pope was drafted 40th overall in the 2008 MLS Supplemental Draft by the Chicago Fire and appeared in reserve games for the Fire and FC Dallas. In 2009, Pope made seven appearances for the Austin Aztex's USL First Division team.

    Pope gained coaching experience as an assistant coach with Southwestern University men’s soccer team, Stony Point High School’s boys varsity team, and head coach of St. Andrew’s Episcopal School’s girls varsity soccer team. Pope served as trainer and technical director of Cen Tex Soccer Training from 2008 to 2010 and is the owner of Acurix Elite Performance Training. In addition, Pope serves as staff coach for Lonestar Soccer Club, with whom he will continue to coach.

    “It is an honor to be able to continue my relationship with the Aztex organization and I look forward to being part of its growing success,” Pope said. “There’s no better way I can think of making my transition to the other side of the game than to be here with Austin’s team. It means a lot that Manuel and the Aztex front office believe in me and provided this opportunity to continue with the organization on a new career path. That’s what the Aztex are all about.”

    Returning members of the Aztex coaching staff include Assistant Coach Ben Crawley and Goalkeeper Coach Ric Granryd.

    The Aztex return to the field in 2014 to begin their title defense when they host the Houston Dutch Lions on May 10 at House Park. The Aztex will conduct their final tryouts with the Collegiate Trial on Saturday, March 15 and the Open/Community Trial on Sunday, March 16.


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    Sacramento Republic FC News Release -- www.sacrepublicfc.com

    Tuesday, Februay 11, 2014

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento Republic FC announced the signing of veteran Major League Soccer forward Justin Braun and 18-year-old rising star Mawolo Gissie pending league approval. Both players will report to Republic FC training camp beginning February 17.  

    “I knew when I first saw Justin play in 2008 that he was a player with great potential, and now it will be even better to work with him due to his experience of playing in the MLS for five years,” said Sacramento Republic FC Head Coach Predrag “Preki” Radosavljević. “Justin’s veteran experience will be leveraged not only on the field but off it as he guides one of the sport’s most exciting young players in Gissie.”

    Braun’s professional career includes stints with Chivas USA (2008-2011), Montreal Impact (2012), Real Salt Lake (2012) and Toronto FC (2013). Braun has appeared in 110 regular season matches, four playoff matches and has scored 24 goals over five seasons in MLS. The 6-foot-3-inch forward made his professional debut on March 30, 2008 after being discovered by then Chivas USA Head Coach Preki at an amateur tournament held at Home Depot Center. His career includes team-high nine goals along with three assists in 2010, MLS Player of the Week honors and a hat trick against the New York Red Bulls on May 15, 2011. Braun is a native of Salt Lake City where he was named an All-State first team player during his junior and senior years in high school.

    Gissie is an up-and-coming talent who has captured attention while only a sophomore in high school. The Liberian-born forward led the New England Revolution’s U16 in goals (15) and assists (8) in 2011-12 and he made his professional debut in 2012 on the Revolution Reserves. He is known for his speed, running six-minute miles, and ability to score serving as an offensive catalyst for his teams. In high school, he scored the go-ahead goal in a 3-1 win for North High; a rare championship win for the Worcester public school system.

    Braun and Gissie join previously signed players Rodrigo Lopez and Mickey Daly on the Republic FC’s club roster. Additional player announcements are expected prior to the club’s training camp which commences on February 17-21 at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento, Calif.


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