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News from USL

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    Sounders FC U-23 News Release -- www.soundersu23.com

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

    TACOMA, Wash. – In 2012, Doug Herrick patrolled the Sounders U-23 goal on route to a PDL National Semifinals appearance. After a year of training with the Sounders First Team as Major League Soccer's Pool Goalkeeper, Herrick has now signed a professional contract with the Charlotte Eagles of USL PRO.

    “Moving to Charlotte is a huge step in my career," Herrick said. "Goalkeepers are judged based on their games, and while Seattle was an amazing training opportunity I didn't get very many games. I'm excited to work hard in an environment that has the potential to be transformative, as well as play in games. I look forward to the personal growth I anticipate in Charlotte.”

    Herrick was a PDL standout with Sounders U-23, leading the league with 11 wins in 14 league games. In leading the team to a Western Conference Championship, he had five shutouts and an impressive 0.933 goals allowed average.

    “I can't say enough about what the Sounders U-23 team offered me,” Herrick said. “If players are judged by their initial trajectories, a number of players would find themselves in dramatically different situations – I am one of them. My transition to the professional game was a difficult one. As an unproven college kid, the U-23s offered me a place to be a leader and show myself and others that I was someone worth investing in. Working with Darren [Sawatzky], Ben [Dragavon] and the rest of the Sounders U-23 coaching staff provided me with the environment and connections to move into the Sounders first team and now to the Charlotte Eagles.”

    His former Head Coach with the Sounders U-23, Darren Sawatzky said, “we continue to work on the environments for future professional players. It is always great to see players graduate from youth, college, and intermediate soccer to the professional ranks. We are happy for Doug and look forward to seeing him grow in Charlotte and win some games.”

    Since concluding the 2012 PDL season, Herrick has also earned 12 international caps with the Guam National Team. 

    Sounders U-23 Season Ticket Flex Packs for the 2014 season are now on sale at SoundersU23.com.


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    Rochester Rhinos News Release -- www.rhinossoccer.com

    Thursday, February 20, 2014

    ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- The Rochester Rhinos begin preseason for their 19th professional season on Monday, March 3rd at 9:30 a.m. at Sahlen's Stadium. Rhinos head coach Bob Lilley has scheduled seven preseason matches to prepare his side for the 2014 USL PRO season. Three of the seven matches will be played against professional opponents – a stark contrast to the Rhinos preseason schedule of late that was heavy on collegiate opponents in their spring schedule.

    The Rochester Rhinos will travel to Pittsburgh on Sunday, March 16th for their annual preseason match with the Riverhounds in Highmark Stadium at 3 p.m. On Friday, March 21st the Rhinos will host the Ottawa Fury FC at Sahlen's Stadium at 1 p.m. Then on Saturday, March 29th at 1 p.m. the Rhinos will host a squad from Major League Soccer's Montreal Impact at Sahlen's Stadium.

    “Preseason is changing as our league begins to draw more in line with Major League Soccer's calendar.” Lilley said. “Teams in our league are starting to train earlier than ever, and they are playing against better competition like MLS sides who are preparing for the start of their season as well. We identified the need to play against better competition in our preseason schedule, and have designed a schedule to address this need.”

    The Rochester Rhinos will still play four preseason matches against collegiate competition this spring. The Rhinos will host Syracuse University at 3 p.m. on Friday, March 7th to open their preseason schedule. Two days later Rochester will host Binghamton University on Sunday, March 9th at 2 p.m. Niagara University will visit Sahlen's Stadium to play the Rhinos on Friday, March 14th at 6 p.m., and the Rhinos will host Cornell University on Sunday, March 23rd at 4 p.m.

    All six Rochester Rhinos preseason matches at Sahlen's Stadium are open to the public and admission is free. The MVP box office at Sahlen's Stadium will also be open during every home preseason contest, and Rochester Rhinos season tickets and flex packages will be available for purchase.

    Rochester Rhinos Preseason Schedule

    Date

    Time

    Opponent

    Location

    March 7th

    3 p.m.

    Syracuse University

    Sahlen's Stadium

    March 9th

    2 p.m.

    Binghamton University

    Sahlen's Stadium

    March 14th

    6 p.m.

    Niagara University

    Sahlen's Stadium

    March 16th

    3 p.m.

    Pittsburgh Riverhounds

    Highmark Stadium

    March 21st

    1 p.m.

    Ottawa Fury FC

    Sahlen's Stadium

    March 23rd

    4 p.m.

    Cornell University

    Sahlen's Stadium

    March 29th

    1 p.m.

    Montreal Impact

    Sahlen's Stadium

     

    The Rhinos open their 19th season on Saturday, April 5th against the defending USL PRO Champion Orlando City. The Rhinos home opener is on Sunday, April 27th against the Charleston Battery in Sahlen's Stadium. Season tickets, flex packages and group ticket sales are currently available, and they can be purchased by calling (585) 454-KICK (5425), by visiting the MVP Health Care Box Office at Sahlen's Stadium, or by visiting ticketmaster.com. The 2014 Rochester Rhinos schedule can be found at www.rhinossoccer.com/schedule.


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    Charleston Battery News Release -- www.charlestonbattery.com

    Thursday, February 20, 2014

    CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The 11th edition of the Carolina Challenge Cup kicks off on Saturday at Blackbaud Stadium, Daniel Island with a doubleheader of Major League Soccer action.  At 5 p.m., D.C. United takes on the Houston Dynamo, then at 7:15 p.m. USL PRO's Charleston Battery square off against MLS’s Seattle Sounders FC.

    Carolina Challenge Cup tickets are included in all 2014 Charleston Battery season ticket packages.  A limited number of individual and group Carolina Challenge Cup Tickets starting at $15 are still available by calling (843) 971-GOAL (4625) or at www.charlestonbattery.com; game tickets include both matches.

    Seattle Sounders FC's roster includes U.S. Men’s National Team defenders Brad Evans and DeAndre Yedlin, plus three former Charleston Battery players, Osvaldo Alonso, Lamar Neagle and Alex Caskey.

    Saturday’s game against the Sounders is the first meeting between the teams since the 2008 U.S. Open Cup semifinal when Seattle Sounders were still playing in USL. The Battery won that match via a penalty shootout, with the club's place in the final the last time a lower-division side accomplished that feat in the tournament's modern era.

    The Carolina Challenge Cup is the premier preseason tournament in the United States.  Each spring for the past 10 years the Battery have been joined by three teams from Major League Soccer for the round-robin competition. 

    The tournament continues on Wednesday, Feb 26 with Seattle vs Houston (5 p.m.) and Charleston Battery vs D.C. United (7:15 p.m.).  The Carolina Challenge Cup concludes on Saturday, March 1 with D.C. United vs Seattle Sounders (5 p.m.) followed by Charleston Battery vs Houston Dynamo (7:15 p.m.).

    Gates open at 4 p.m. on each match day; for directions or more information please visit www.charlestonbattery.com or call (843) 971-GOAL (4625).


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  • 02/21/14--09:05: Dutch Lions Re-Sign DeLass
  • Dayton Dutch Lions News Release -- www.dutchlionsfc.com

    Friday, February 21, 2014

    DAYTON, Ohio – The Dayton Dutch Lions have announced the re-signing of captain Joel DeLass for the 2014 season, pending league approval.

    "Joel has been the leader of this team for the last two years and he will be returning as our captain for the 2014 season,” Dayton Dutch Lions head coach Sid van Druenen said. “Besides his qualities on the field he is also very important off the field as he is a great leader and example for the younger and new players."

    The Spring Lake, Mich. native was a key cog in the Dutch Lions attack in 2013, registering six goals and one assist.  The reliable midfielder made 26 appearances for Dayton, registering 2,317 minutes played.   

    “I’m very excited to be back in Dayton for another season. As an organization, the club has taken massive strides both on and off the field since the first year in the league,” DeLass said. “Last year we accomplished our goal of making the playoffs, but a tough loss in the playoffs left a bitter taste in a lot of our mouths. Hopefully with the players returning, some key signings, and the affiliation with Columbus, we will be able to once again improve on our previous season and make a deeper run in the playoffs.”

    DeLass was named to the USL PRO Team of the Week six times in 2013, and was an All-League selection in 2012. 

    He was a standout at Wheaton College in Illinois before joining fellow USL PRO side Charlotte Eagles in 2010. He also has experience in the PDL with the West Michigan Edge. 

    He will wear number 8 for the Dutch Lions and can be found on Twitter @joeldelass.


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  • 02/21/14--16:08: Battery Unveil New Uniforms
  • Charlestonn Battery News Release -- www.charlestonbattery.com

    Friday, February 21, 2014

    CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The Charleston Battery and SPARC will continue a partnership in 2014 that will see one of SPARC’s products – Teamphoria – featured as the official jersey sponsor.  All of the Charleston Battery Nike team jerseys and replica jerseys will feature the Teamphoria logo.

    "We are excited to continue our relationship with the Charleston Battery for a second year," said Eric Bowman, CEO of SPARC. "The Battery understands the importance of teamwork and its effect on performance, and aligning Teamphoria with their stellar brand makes a lot of sense.”

    Teamphoria, SPARC’s employee engagement software, helps organizations build and measure healthy company cultures. Teamphoria encourages teams throughout a company to recognize, communicate, and perform more effectively, giving them a huge competitive advantage in the market. People are an organization’s greatest asset, and Teamphoria’s suite of tools helps focus on building success through employee engagement.

    “We are thrilled to continue our partnership with SPARC and to be able to showcase one of their new products, Teamphoria, on the front of our team jerseys.  The support we receive from our local corporate partners is critical to our success and SPARC has been a tremendous help in a multitude of areas - we can’t thank them enough,” said Andrew Bell, President, Charleston Battery.


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    Montreal Impact U23 News Release -- www.impactmontreal.com

    Thursday, February 20, 2014

    MONTREAL -- The Montreal Impact’s U23 side continues its preparation towards its first ever season in the PDL, and is currently undefeated in the Quebec university championship.

    After four games played, the Impact U23 have recorded three wins and one tie. Following a 2-1 victory in Sherbrooke, the Impact blanked McGill 2-0 and then played to a 1-1 draw with UQAM at the Marie-Victorin Sports Complex.

    In its most recent matchup, Philippe Eullaffroy’s squad earned a 2-0 shutout win last Sunday, against UQTR in Trois-Rivières. Frédéric Lajoie-Gravelle and Kevin Luarca scored in the win, while U18 goalkeeper Erhan Ylmaz played well to earn the shutout.

    However, head coach Eullaffroy was not entirely pleased with how his side played the game.

    “It was most definitely our worst game of the four we’ve played this winter," Eullaffroy said. "We can’t be satisfied with a win when our quality of play is not up to our standards. We’ve played five of eight halves with the right characteristics up to now, so we are generally satisfied. At this time of the year, we are working on applying our game principles. We have to continue to build our identity.”

    This identity Eullaffroy speaks of is one that is applied throughout all teams in the Academy. All players in the club work on the same principles, starting at age 12.

    Waiting for their next opponents this Sunday night - the Montreal Carabins - the Impact U23 took part in a special biathlon Tuesday, at Maisonneuve Park. As part of the activity, the Academy technical staff prepared a snowshoe race and an archery competition.

    The Impact U23 open their inaugural season in the PDL on Saturday, May 17 when they visit the Westchester Flames. The club's home opener is set for Sunday, June 1 at the turf field at Stade Saputo, also against the Flames.


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

    Friday, February 21, 2014

    IRVINE, Calif. – Orange County Blues FC has re-signed forward Chris Cortez. Cortez was one of the leading scorers for the Los Angeles Blues in 2013 and has returned in 2014 to the newly named OC Blues FC.

    Cortez, 26, was a member of Chivas USA’s Youth Academy, and following his college career at the University of California Berkeley, he turned professional in 2011 with Chivas USA. After training with Chivas Guadalajara, he spent one season with Reynosa FC in Mexico in 2012 before he returned to the United States to join the Blues last year.

    In his first season for the Blues, Cortez scored nine goals in 23 appearances and is looking to do even more damage in 2014. Cortez ended last season with 65 shots, placing him second in the league, and with 21 points, ranking him 12th in USL PRO. He was named USL PRO Player of the Week for the week of May 19-25, 2013 after he scored two goals and notched an assist in a 4-3 victory against the Charlotte Eagles.

    Cortez is an Orange County native, having grown up in Mission Viejo, and is pleased to remain with the Blues for another season.

    “I’m very excited, and can’t wait for the season to start, and play in Orange County, which I describe as heaven,” said Cortez about the team’s new identity. “I’m proud to be surrounded by an excellent coaching staff.”

    Coach Daryuosh Yazdani is happy to welcome the forward back. “As a coach, I’m really happy to have him come back this season, and I expect him to believe in himself to be the best forward in the league.”

    OC Blues FC's first home match at Anteater Stadium at University of California Irvine is set for Saturday, April 5th, as the Blues welcome expansion franchise OKC Energy FC. The 2014 USL PRO season begins on Saturday, March 22nd at StubHub Center in Carson, for a match against the newly formed LA Galaxy II. For more information on OC Blues FC, please visit www.ocbluesfc.com.


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    W-League Feature

    Friday, February 21, 2014

    TAMPA, Fla. – The U.S. Women’s U23 squad that will head to Europe next week for the Six Nations tournament in La Manga, Spain was announced by Coach Steve Swanson on Friday, with a number of W-League standouts set to compete. Of the 20 players selected, 12 are W-League alumni, including a number of players who featured at last season’s W-League Championships.

    The LA Blues are strongly represented with defenders Abby Dahlkember and Kassey Kallman, midfielders Caprice Dydasco and Jenna Richmond, and forwards Chioma Ubogagu and Katie Stengel all members of the side that earned the W-League Championship last season. Dahlkemper and Dydasco went on to claim the NCAA Championship in December with UCLA, the first in the Bruins’ history, with Dahlkemper being selected as a finalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy.

    Aubrey Bledsoe, a teammate of Stengel at Wake Forest, is also set to join the Blues this summer and is one of two goalkeepers named to the squad. Others set to feature are former Bradenton Athletics midfielder Erika Tymrak, who last season was named the NWSL Rookie of the Year for FC Kansas City and made her first appearance for the U.S. National Team.

    Former New Jersey Wildcats standout Maya Hayes was also selected to join Stengel and Ubogagu in attack. The former Penn State forward, who was selected in January by Sky Blue FC in the NWSL Draft, had six goals for the Wildcats in 2012 and will likely play a key role in Spain.

    Also named to the squad are Seattle Sounders Women defender Jaelene Hinkle and former Vermont Voltage Women midfielder Frances Silva, who was selected in the NWSL Draft in January by FC Kansas City .

    The United States opens the tournament on March 1 against Japan and will also face Sweden on March 3 and Norway on March 5.


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  • 02/22/14--09:36: Lions Face Toronto At Disney
  • Orlando City News Release -- www.orlandocitysoccer.com

    Friday, February 21, 2014

    ORLANDO, Fla. -- Orlando City SC is set to play its second match of the Walt Disney Pro Soccer Classic on Saturday night against Toronto F.C. of Major League Soccer at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. After producing a 1-1 draw in their opening match against the Philadelphia Union, Orlando will look to gain three points against a tough Toronto side that has made multiple key acquisitions during the offseason. Kick-off is set for 8 p.m.

    “Right now, our aim is to concentrate on ourselves and build on what we’ve been working on,” said Assistant Coach Ian Fuller. “Toronto will certainly be a tough test, especially with all of the moves that they’ve made in the off-season, but we’re looking forward to it.”

    After suffering defeat in two preseason friendly matches to MLS sides Chicago Fire and Montreal Impact, City looked slightly closer to regular-season form in their opening Walt Disney Pro Soccer Classic match. The club’s three MLS signings, Kevin Molino, Darwin Ceren and Yordany Alvarez, were a more cohesive unit as they controlled the tempo for the majority of the match, and new signing Austin Da Luz was equally threatening.

    Another encouraging sign for Orlando fans was a goal from newly added striker, Corey Hertzog. The former Vancouver Whitecaps forward displayed good link-up play with Heath’s new group of midfielders, and was rewarded in the 31st minute when he scored his first goal in purple and white.

    The build-up for Hertzog’s goal was a bit more direct than the usual Orlando City possession-oriented style of play, but allowed the striker to show his finishing prowess as he calmly lobbed the ball over the charging Union goalkeeper.

    Following a 3-1 loss to Columbus Crew in their opening Pro Soccer Classic match, Toronto will also be keen to gain three points as they look to gain momentum heading into the 2014 MLS season.

    After a difficult 2013 campaign (6-17-11), the Canadian based side has coordinated a myriad of signings during the off-season, including England international Jermain Defoe, former AS Roma player and U.S. Men’s National Team member Michael Bradley, and Brazilian international Julio Cesar.

    All three players have 214 combined caps for their respective national teams, providing experience and quality to a side that finished second-to-last in the MLS Eastern Conference in the 2013 season. Both Bradley and Cesar will be active for Toronto throughout the Pro Soccer Classic, but Defoe is not set to join the club until the end of the month.

    Orlando and Toronto have played each other in the past three Walt Disney Pro Soccer Classics and share an equal amount of wins, losses and draws (1-1-1). 

    The match against Toronto will not be streamed and admission starts at $20. The address of the complex is 700 S Victory Way, Kissimmee, FL 34747.


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    USL News Release

    Saturday, February 22, 2014

    TAMPA, Fla. – United Soccer Leagues was deeply saddened to learn of the death of former Richmond Kickers President Tom Depcrynski, who passed away on Wednesday at the age of 67. A key figure in the growth and success of the Kickers’ organization, Depcrynski was a major figure in USL history, and we send our condolences to his family and friends at this time.

    “Tom Depcrynski was not only a massive influence on the Kickers organization, but he was also a tremendous person to work alongside,” USL President Tim Holt said. “During his time with the Kickers, he transformed the club from its position as a lone professional team into one of the great examples in U.S. Soccer of a progressive and integrated soccer club that served both genders. His passion for the game of soccer can still be seen in the Kickers’ organization, from its USL PRO side to the club’s outstanding academy program, and he was a key figure in league administration throughout his tenure at the club. He will be greatly missed.”

    Depcrynski joined the Kickers in 1997 as the club’s Vice President and General Manager, and the following year was promoted to club President. He oversaw an outstanding period of growth for the club during which time the Kickers’ senior side claimed a pair of USL Second Division titles in 2006 and 2009. Under his leadership, the Kickers won three Organization of the Year awards, in 2000, 2006 and 2007, while Depcrynski also served on the Executive Committees of both the USL First and Second Divisions.

    “[Tom] loved the Kickers and was passionate about seeing both the pro and the youth teams grow,” Kickers Director of Soccer Leigh Cowlishaw said to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “He wanted the Kickers to become an integral part of life in Richmond.”

    Following the club’s championship in 2009 Depcrynski chose to step away from the club’s day-to-day operation. Since then, the club has continued to go from strength to strength, making a run to the semifinals of the 2011 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, winning the 2013 USL PRO Regular Season Championship, and securing a partnership with Major League Soccer’s D.C. United.

    “I think there comes a time in everyone’s life when you’re ready to move on to something new and different,” Depcrynski told the Times-Dispatch upon his retirement. “I’ve spent a lot of time and effort building the [Kickers] organization and when I look at it now, my feeling is, ‘Mission accomplished.’ ”


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    Charleston Battery News Release -- www.charlestonbattery.com

    Saturday, February 22, 2014

    CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The Charleston Battery lost 2-1 to the Seattle Sounders of Major League Soccer on Saturday night in front of a sold-out crowd of 5,195 during the first of three matchdays at the 2014 edition of the Carolina Challenge Cup, hosted by the Battery at Blackbaud Stadium. D.C. United beat the Houston Dynamo, 2-0 in the first match of the tournament.

    Former Battery player and current Sounders midfielder Osvaldo Alonso scored the opening goal of the match in the 25th minute. Alonso controlled a loose ball about 20 yards out and sent a screamer past Battery goalkeeper Andy Ramos into the top-left corner of the goal.

    Charleston responded quickly though, as captain Colin Falvey pushed a shot past Seattle goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann in the 28th minute. After a free kick was played into the penalty area, the ball was knocked down inside the box before Falvey was able to get a foot on it and shoot it past Hahnemann.

    The match seemed to be heading for a draw before Seattle forward Sean Okoli made a run into the box and was pulled down for a penalty in the 89th minute. Sounders defender Brad Evans stepped up to the penalty spot and buried the shot into the back of the goal to secure the victory for Seattle.

    D.C. United 2, Houston Dynamo 0: Despite not having any significant chances in the first half, D.C. United took the lead in the first match of the day in the 21st minute, when Houston defender David Horst headed a United cross past his own goalkeeper for an own goal.

    Substitute forward Michael Seaton added to United’s lead in the 88th minute as he collected a rebound from a save made by Houston keeper Tyler Deric and found the back of the net with his shot from just inside the box.

    Charleston will continue play in the 2014 Carolina Challenge Cup against D.C. United on Wednesday, February 26 at 7:15 p.m. ET. That match will be preceded by the Houston Dynamo against the Seattle Sounders at 5 p.m. ET. Tickets are available starting at $15, to purchase tickets or for more information please call 843-971-GOAL (4625) or visit www.charlestonbattery.com.


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    Orlando City News Release -- www.orlandocitysoccer.com

    Saturday, February 22, 2014

    LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Orlando City SC earned a 1-1 draw with Major League Soccer side Toronto F.C. on Saturday night at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in the Lions' second contest at the Disney Pro Soccer Classic. After conceding an early penalty kick, the Lions equalized late on to continue their undefeated streak against MLS sides so far at the preseason tournament at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

    “I thought that we were the better side after the first 15-20 minutes,” said Lions coach Adrian Heath. “On a different night, if we take half of our chances, then we would’ve won the game comfortably. Our passing was a bit sloppy in the first half, but I think we began dictating things as we got into a rhythm.”

    For their second Pro Soccer Classic match, Toronto and Orlando played in a regular-season atmosphere as the City supporter groups packed the stands behind the goal and sang continuously for 90 minutes. 

    Despite the fact that star players such as Julio Cesar and Michael Bradley were not included in the starting line-up, the Canadian side looked sharp in the opening 15 minutes. Toronto displayed its attacking prowess through near-chances that had the City fans in attendance on the edge of their seats. For the majority of those attacks, the Orlando backline did well to clear the danger away as Brad Rusin and Rob Valentino maintained the solid partnership that has been slowly forming through only three games together.

    Things would take a turn for the worse for Orlando in the 13th minute when the Lions conceded a penalty for a foul away from the ball inside the penalty area. Toronto midfielder Kyle Bekker stepped up and slotted home his penalty kick into the left corner to give Toronto a 1-0 lead from 12 yards away. Shortly afterwards, the Reds would create another near-chance, but goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo made a quality save to continue his strong start to the preaseason and keep the score 1-0.

    After the close chance for Toronto, City would begin stringing passes together, and attacking midfielder Darwin Ceren created a dangerous chance that went just over the crossbar. Ceren and Kevin Molino switched positions from the previous match against the Union, as Molino moved over to the right and Ceren started in the hole.

    After a slow start, Molino would also become increasingly active in the final third, leading to a few more quality opportunities from Orlando. In an effort to get more involved, the Trinidad & Tobago international began drifting inside and coordinated two powerful efforts that forced Toronto goalkeeper Joe Bendik into a pair of good saves.

    Molino’s presence in the center of the park would also lead to chances for his fellow attackers as the midfielder gifted recently-added forward Corey Hertzog a golden opportunity in the 31st minute that saw the former Vancouver Whitecap shoot over the bar.

    “I thought [Kevin] Molino and [Darwin] Ceren were the best two players on the field for both teams tonight, so that bodes well for the future,” said Heath.

    For the remainder of the first half, both sides would continue to work out the preseason blues as the two clubs struggled to maintain continuous possession. Toronto attempted to remedy that with the introduction of U.S. Men’s National Team player and former A.S. Roma midfielder, Michael Bradley, but it was Orlando which kicked off the second half in much better fashion when the local club created their best opportunity of the night in the 48th minute. After a multitude of deflections, Molino found himself in a fortuitous position when the ball landed at his feet in the six-yard area, only for the midfielder’s strike to be a bit too casual, allowing Bendik was able to make a brilliant foot-save.

    Local player Dennis Chin made an immediate impact upon entering the match against Philadelphia and would do so again against the Reds. In the 51st minute, the speedy striker drove past the Toronto defense and had good look at the goal but was unable to slot his effort by Bendik.

    Two minutes later, Chin would get in behind once again, combine with Hertzog inside the area, but Hertzog's final ball was hit a bit too long for any of the Orlando attacking players.

    City were the more dominant side, in terms of possession, throughout the second half, but Toronto was extremely organized defensively. Not needing to go forward in search of another goal, the Reds held solid defensive lines as City continued to work the ball around the pitch with hopes of finding an opening.

    In the 75th minute, that elusive opening would finally present itself when Molino was able to slip Chin in behind the Toronto defense. Chin only had the goalkeeper to beat but pulled his effort just wide of the far post.

    Shortly afterwards, Heath brought on trial player Dan Jackson to provide more attacking firepower for Orlando. The striker would do just that as he, Molino and Chin forced Toronto to make numerous last-ditch clearances in the final 10 minutes.

    In the 88th minute, Jackson’s contribution would finally pay dividends when the forward’s curling effort was deflected for a corner. Da Luz’s ensuing delivery was whipped in to the back post and trial player Mark Howard was on hand to nod it into the back of the net, earning the Lions a 1-1 draw.

    Orlando City’s next match will take place on Wednesday, February 26, against Columbus Crew. Kick-off is set for 6:00 p.m. and tickets for the match start at just $20.

    For more information, visit www.orlandocitysc.com


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

    Monday, February 24, 2014

    DAYTON, Ohio -- The Dayton Dutch Lions are proud to announce the return of two key players, veteran midfielder/defender Shintaro Harada and defender Shane Smith. The Dutch Lions are excited about the return of Harada, who is in the midst of a multi-year deal with Dayton. 

    Photo courtesy Jeff GossellHarada is one of the most decorated players to ever play for the Dutch Lions, having won a number of awards that include USL Second Division Defender of the Year (2010), USL Second Division All-League First Team (2010, 2009, 2008), and USL Second Division All-League Second Team (2007). 

    "The experience and professionalism that Shintaro brings to the roster is impressive,” Dayton Dutch Lions head coach Sid van Druenen said. “His work ethic and lifestyle are a great example and he brings that veteran leadership we need to make it through the tough parts of the season."

    His overseas experience includes time with professional clubs in Japan and Hong Kong, playing in the countries’ top leagues, including the Japan Football League and the J-League. 

    “I am excited about playing with DDL this year and looking forward to playing with the players who played last year and new players,” Harada said. “We got in the playoffs last year, but I’d like to stay up higher in the league and would like to go to playoffs this year again. We have to train hard to win games.”

    The Tokorozawa, Saitama, Japan native played in 24 games, logging one goal and two assists. He was fourth on the team with 2,113 minutes played. Harada can be found on Twitter @shintaroharada and will again wear number 21 for the Dutch Lions.

    Dayton will also see the return of Smith, who appeared in 25 games. He played 1,871 minutes, and scored two goals and one assist in 2013.

    "Shane is one of the most experienced left backs in the league,” van Druenen said. This is going to be his fourth year playing for us. He knows the club and he is all-round not only a quality left back, but also a great guy to work with."

    The Casa Grande, Ariz. native was named to the USL PRO Team of the Week four times in 2013. Last season he also scored the game-tying goal in the 90th minute to tie the Columbus Crew Reserves 4-4. 

    “I looking forward to another USL PRO season with the Dutch Lions and want to use my experience to lead this team to a successful season,” Smith said. “I am confident in the direction this organization is going and we will look to build off last season’s success with the goal of getting the Dutch Lions into the playoffs again.”

    Smith also coaches in the DDL FC Academy, leading the U-12 Girls and U-11 Boys teams. He can be found on Twitter @cgshane24 and will wear No. 2 for the Dutch Lions.


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    Wilmington Hammerheads News Release -- www.wilmingtonhammerheads.com

    Monday, February 24, 2014

    WILMINGTON, N.C. – Wilmington Hammerheads FC announced today they have signed forward/midfielder Tsotleho “Sunny” Jane for the upcoming 2014 USL PRO regular season. Jane, a former player for the University of Maryland men’s soccer team, will make his professional debut with the Hammerheads this season.

    “I am looking forward to playing the best soccer I have ever played in my life,” said Jane. “My goal is to help take the team to the championship this coming season.”

    A native of South Africa, Jane played for the U15-16 Lesotho National Team before moving to the United States at the age of 13 years old to advance his soccer career while being recruited by United 1996 FC in Louisville, Ky. Jane became an all-state player at Trinity High School in Louisville and was listed as the No. 10 recruit in the country by TopDrawerSoccer.com before committing to play at Maryland for Head Coach Sasho Cirovski.

    Cirovski was known to routinely refer to Jane as one of the most dynamic players in the country.

    "Sunny Jane is a very dynamic attacking player with a cultured left foot,” said Cirovski. “He will become a fan favorite instantly both with his play and his charming personality. He was a joy to coach and a pleasure to be around. He had many magic moments for us and I know he will produce the same and more for the Hammerheads."

    Jane played in every match in back-to-back seasons during his 2012 and 2013 campaigns. He recorded eight goals and 19 assists in four seasons with the Terrapins. He was picked an All-ACC second team selection in 2011.

    The Hammerheads kick off their 2014 USL PRO regular season on Saturday, April 5 at 7:30 p.m. versus the Harrisburg City Islanders at Legion Stadium.

    For more information regarding Wilmington Hammerheads FC, to purchase season tickets or to reserve group parties, please contact (910)777-2111 or visit www.wilmingtonhammerheads.com.


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    W-League Feature

    Monday, February 24, 2014

    TAMPA, Fla. – The U.S. Women’s National Team squad for the 2014 Algarve Cup was named on Monday, with a number of current and former W-League standouts set to head to Portugal next month as part of Tom Sermanni’s team. Called up for the first time was 2013 W-League champion Sarah Killion of the LA Blues SC, who joins Blues teammate Sam Mewis on the roster.

    Killion, who will return to play for the Blues this summer, is set to join Mewis in a midfield that also contains former New Jersey Wildcats standouts Heather O’Reilly and Carli Lloyd, and former Seattle Sounders Women  winger Megan Rapinoe. Both Killion and Mewis earned back-to-back championships in 2013, also claiming the NCAA Division I title with UCLA after the Blues’ victory at IMG Academy that summer.

    Overall, 17 members of the 24-player squad are either current or former members of the W-League, with the side set to be led offensively by the trio of former Rochester Ravens standout Abby Wambach, 2011 W-League Rookie of the Year Sydney Leroux and another former Blues standout, Christen Press. Now with Swedish club Tyreso, Press leads the U.S. with three goals this year and has 11 in 14 appearances for the national team overall.

    All three goalkeepers in the squad are W-League alumni, with former Sounders Women goalkeeper Hope Solo set to hold the starting role and former Hudson Valley Quickstrike player Jill Loyden and Western Mass Lady Pioneers GK Alyssa Naeher also named. As with Mewis and Killion, Naeher – who was the Pioneers starter in the W-League at the age of 18 – is hoping for her first appearance for the national team.

    The United States is set to face Japan, Sweden and Denmark in the tournament’s group stage, with the opening contest a rematch of the 2012 Olympic Final against Japan on March 5.

    Also announced on Monday was Canada’s squad for the 2014 Cyprus Cup, with all 20 members of the squad selected by John Herdman having previously played in the W-League. The side is led by USL Hall of Fame member Christine Sinclair, who is joined by a number of strong young players that competed last summer in the W-League.

    Former Laval Comets standout Nkem Ezurike, who helped her side reach the 2013 W-League Championship Game, is hoping to make her first appearance after starring in the past for Canada’s U20 side. Also in attack is Josee Belanger, who spent the 2013 season with the Quebec Dynamo ARSQ.

    Former Vancouver Whitecaps Women defender Robyn Gayle also returns to the side, while Toronto Lady Lynx defender Kadeisha Buchanan remains in the squad alongside fellow W-League alumni Diana Matheson, Emily Zurrer and Sophie Schmitt.

    Canada opens the Cyprus Cup against Finland on March 5, and will also face Italy and England in the tournament’s group stage.


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  • 02/25/14--10:00: Pride Add Local Talent



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    Colorado Pride News Release - www.pridesoccer.com

    Monday, February 24, 2014

    COLORADO SPRINGS, Co. -
    The Colorado Pride are pleased to announce the signings of a trio of Colorado Springs locals for their inaugural  W-League season. Local products Sarah Schweiss, Kaeli Vandersluis and Jessica Ayers, all of the Colorado College Tigers, have signed with the newly established W-League franchise for 2014.

    Colorado College is coming off a successful 2013 season, winning the Conference USA title for the second consecutive year. All three players played integral roles in the success Colorado College achieved in 2013.

    Ayers, originally from Seattle, is a familiar face in the W-League having had a successful season with the Colorado Rapids Women in 2013, featuring in all regular season games. As a junior at Colorado College in 2013, Ayers led the team in scoring with 13 goals in 21 games, six of which were game-winners. Ayers has been named an NCAA All-American on three occasions, has been selected for the All-Conference first team on three occasions and was also named Midfielder of the Year in Conference USA for the 2011 and 2012 seasons, and an NCAA All-Region selection in 2013.

    Pride Head Coach Daniel Clitnovici is happy to add a former player to his squad in 2014.

    “Jessie is a talented player that posses an amazing work ethic, it will be a pleasure to be working with her again this season,” Clitnovici said.

    Vandersluis joins the Pride as a homegrown product having played her youth soccer with Colorado Pride Predators. Vandersluis had a season to remember in 2013 by adding to Colorado College’s success with nine goals and nine assists from midfield as well as being named 2013 Conference USA Midfielder of the Year.

    “I’ve had the privilege to work with Kaeli in the past and I know what she is capable of, Clitnovici said. "She is a very good player that will enjoy the W-League level. I’m happy she will be playing with Colorado Pride this season.”

    Schweiss is also a homegrown Pride youth product and Colorado College standout. The attacking-minded midfielder started in all 22 games for the Tigers in 2013 contributing seven goals and seven assists. She will look to do the same for the Colorado Pride W-League team in 2014.

    “Sarah is a talented player that can change games; she is a great addition to the squad," Clitnovici said. "I’m excited to see her play with Colorado Pride in 2014.”

    The Pride will host their final W-League tryout on Saturday, April 19 at Colorado College Turf Soccer Field from 5-7 p.m. The date falls within all NCAA compliance and players are encouraged to attend and register via email to head coach Daniel Clitnovici – dclitnovici@pridesoccer.com. Cost for the tryout is $30 per player and all players will need to register prior to the tryout. Registrations will NOT be accepted on the date of the tryout.

    Please stay updated regarding the Colorado Pride W-League team via www.pridesoccer.com and www.facebook.com/pridesoccerclub.


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    Dayton Dutch Lions News Release - www.daytondutchlionsfc.com

    Tuesday, February 25, 2014
     
    DAYTON, Ohio
    – Gavin MacLeod has been named head coach for the Dayton Dutch Lions W-League team. 
     
    "I am happy with Gavin joining the club and leading the women's program,” Dutch Lions Technical Manager Sid van Druenen said. “He is not only a good coach on the field, but also a very dedicated person off the field with a lot of connections, knowledge, and social skills. He has experience working with female athletes and I trust him to do a great job with the Dayton Dutch Lions 2014 women's team and build on the successful 2013 season."
     
    MacLeod was a standout at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tenn. from 2005-08.  His team claimed a number of honors and titles, including two NCAA Final Four appearances in Division II.  MacLeod himself was named NSCAA Scholar All-Region in 2008. 
     
    He earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Lincoln Memorial before moving on to earn a Master’s Degree from Leeds Metropolitan University in 2010. 
     
    "I am delighted to be working with the 2013 W-League Organization of the Year and I look forward to building upon the success of last season,” MacLeod said. “The Dutch Lions provide a fantastic platform for collegiate players, particularly those with professional aspirations, to compete against the best players in the country and gain exposure on a national level during the summer. Sid van Druenen did a very impressive job of building a team that won the Southeastern Conference last season, and while he has left me some big shoes to fill, I have every intention of defending that title and more."
     
    MacLeod also worked for English side Leeds United FC, initially serving as an academy coach before joining the reserve and first team coaching staff.  The role gave him the opportunity to work with youth and senior international players from throughout the world. The first team had great success during his time at Leeds, finishing as high as second in League One.  The reserves had similar triumphs, winning the Central League Division One East Division.
     
    Moving back to the Cincinnati area, MacLeod eventually spent time on the coaching staffs of the Cincinnati Kings and Cincinnati Saints before landing his current assignments at the College of Mount St. Joseph's, Ohio South, and the Kings Hammer Soccer Club.
     
    MacLeod is also known for his work as a certified strength & conditioning coach and sports nutritionist.  He has worked with the Great Britain women's basketball team, Scottish National Team rugby players, Olympic and world champion triathletes as well as world champion boxers.


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    USL PRO Feature

    Tuesday, February 25, 2014

    LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – It’s fair to say the inaugural season of the partnership between Sporting Kansas City and Orlando City was a success.

    Both teams claimed championships in their respective leagues, with Orlando getting major production from USL PRO All-League selection Dom Dwyer, who helped the Lions claim the USL PRO Championship in September before playing a major role in SKC’s run to a second MLS Cup in December.

    While Dwyer got much of the attention in 2013, however, two other young players also had their moments for the Lions and are now seeing the impact of their time in Orlando as the club moves toward the start of the new MLS season in two weeks. Goalkeeper Jon Kempin and midfielder Christian Duke both played solid minutes for the Lions last summer, and according to SKC coach Peter Vermes, the elevation in their play has been noticeable.

    “I’ve kind of mentioned this that I think there are quite a few young players that have really elevated their game from last year to this year, and Christian’s one of them,” Vermes said after the team’s first game of the Disney Pro Soccer Classic. “He’s actually very impressive, like today he got the assist on the goal, he listens really well, he’s a really coachable kid, and those are the aspects that I like about him a lot.”

    Duke made 24 appearances for the Lions, recording almost 1,500 minutes of action as he trained alongside a group of veterans that included Anthony Pulis and James O’Connor. Getting the chance to compete and learn alongside players who both brought experience from the English Championship was, according to Duke, a big opportunity to raise his level of play.

    “Definitely, Orlando City’s a great team, and the midfielders there were experienced and older,” Duke said. “Learning from them and being in that system helped me and I think I’ve progressed from that.”

    A former U.S. U20 international and SKC Homegrown signing, Kempin also impressed in the nine games he appeared in before an injury cut short his opportunity. Among the standout performances was one on the road against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds that saw him make a number of great saves to earn the Lions a point in a 0-0 draw.

    “I thought it was unbelievable,” Kempin said of his time in Orlando. “The organization, the coaching staff, all of that was great, and obviously the games were good. What I learned there, and in the game experience, is crucial to my development and it really helped me feel a lot better, feel a lot more comfortable in games and more comfortable with ordering the first team.”

    This year brings a new dynamic to Sporting’s partnerships, with the addition of USL PRO expansion side the Oklahoma City Energy to the club’s affiliates. With Orlando City getting set to make the jump to MLS in 2015 and former goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen at the helm in OKC, Vermes is looking forward to working with both clubs to continue the good work that was achieved last year.

    “I think we’ve got a good relationship with both,” Vermes said. “As much as Orlando obviously is now moving into new territory and they’re very focused on trying to build their team now for next year, but we still have a relationship and we’re still going to try and help them out with probably a couple of players on loan. I was talking with Adrian a little while ago and we’re going to chat about that in the next few days.

    “In regards to Oklahoma, it’s a different scenario as Jimmy used to play for us and I think he’s going to do a lot of similar-type things that we have done with Sporting in the formation and the style of play, so I think all of that coming together will help us in the long run as well, because when our players go there, it’s not going to be a big change for them, I think.”

    A lot of attention will be focused on the Energy with Nielsen at the helm. Vermes and Kempin both believe the former SKC captain will find success in his new role, with his leadership and man-management skills a plus in Vermes’ eyes.

    “In regards to managing the players, and the situations, I think that’s something he’s very good at,” Vermes said. “He was good at it as a player and he was a great team leader and captain, so I think that translates very well.”

    With veteran MLS goalkeepers Eric Kronberg and Andy Gruenebaum likely in front of him on the SKC depth chart this season, the opportunity may come for Kempin to join his former teammate in Oklahoma City as wellas he continues to look for competitive minutes to continue his development. To have that opportunity - or the chance to return to Orlando - is one that Kempin would welcome.

    “Yeah, I would enjoy it, whether it’s Oklahoma City or maybe Orlando City again,” Kempin said. “Whatever it may be, I’m definitely open to another loan spell if that’s what Peter and the rest of the coaching staff want for me.”

    With a big season ahead, including another go-around in the CONCACAF Champions League in addition to the league and U.S. Open Cup, the chance for serious minutes for both Kempin and Duke may be closer than it appears.

    “I think [Christian has] come a long way and as opposed to last year, he’s going to get some meaningful minutes this year because we’re in three competitions and the trust value is increasing every day,” Vermes said. “I wouldn’t count [Kempin] out being a part of us for certain aspects as well because he’s got real quality, and I think it’s time for him to start getting some meaningful minutes as well.”


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  • 02/25/14--16:41: Lions Set To Face Columbus
  • Orlando City News Release -- www.orlandocitysoccer.com

    Tuesday, February 25, 2014

    ORLANDO, Fla. -- In its third Walt Disney Pro Soccer Classic match, Orlando City SC will play Major League Soccer club Columbus Crew on Wednesday night at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The Lions, who secured a 1-1 draw in both of their previous two matches, will play their most difficult game against a Columbus side that has had two comfortable victories. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

    Photo courtesy Alison Petro/Orlando City“We just want to try and improve upon our last two performances,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath. “The second half against Toronto was certainly the best we’ve been so far, but we have to add another layer now. From my point of view, I’m looking at our ability to incorporate the things that we’ve been working on in training into the game and our ability to look better with the ball and without it.”

    As it was at the 2013 Walt Disney PSC, Columbus is currently being hailed as one of the most impressive teams in the tournament. To begin the 2014 PSC, the Crew gained everyone’s attention when they club produced a solid 3-1 victory against the star-studded Toronto F.C.

    Following the Toronto match, Columbus took a 1-0 victory over Philadelphia Union when midfielder Federico Higuain scored a penalty in the 87th minute. Signed as the club’s third ever Designated Player in July of 2012, Higuain has been in fine form so far this preseason, scoring two goals in as many matches.

    As a result, Columbus (2-0-0, 6 points) is in complete control of the first place position in Group A, which includes Orlando City, the Philadelphia Union and Toronto F.C., and will advance into the championship match. The Lions (0-0-2, 2 points) presently sit in second place and will have the opportunity to play in the third place match against either the New York Red Bulls or the Montreal Impact, with a win against the Crew.

    In last year’s thrilling showdown between Orlando and Columbus, the Crew won 3-2 when Higuain scored a controversial penalty in the 89th minute.

    After a slow start in the opening match, Orlando City looked slightly closer to preseason form in their second game against Toronto F.C. During the first 15-20 minutes, Toronto created a flurry of attacking opportunities that eventually led to a penalty, giving the Reds an early lead. However, the rest of the match featured City dominating possession and controlling the tempo.

    Midfielders and MLS signings Darwin Ceren and Kevin Molino were heavily involved in the Lions’ ability to control the match, providing an encouraging sign for Orlando fans as the regular season draws near.

    “I thought (Kevin) Molino and (Darwin) Ceren were the best two players on the field for both teams tonight, so that bodes well for the future,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath after the match against Toronto.

    Orlando would finally break-through when Ceren’s corner kick found trial player Mark Howard, who nodded a strong effort by Toronto Goalkeeper Joe Bendik to level the score-line.

    The match against Columbus will not be streamed by Orlando City SC or ESPN Wide World of Sports and admission starts at $20. The address of the complex is 700 S Victory Way, Kissimmee, FL 34747.


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    Charleston Battery News Release -- www.charlestonbattery.com

    Tuesday, February 25, 2014

    CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The Charleston Battery face Major League Soccer’s D.C. United on Wednesday night at Blackbaud Stadium on the second day of the 2014 Carolina Challenge Cup; kickoff is set for 7:15 p.m. The match against United is the second game of a doubleheader of MLS action with Seattle Sounders FC taking on the Houston Dynamo in the first game at 5 p.m.

    Tickets to the games on Wednesday are available starting at just $15 and include both matches. To purchase tickets or for more information please call (843) 971-GOAL (4625) or visit www.charlestonbattery.com.

    Charleston lost 2-1 in its first game of the tournament on Saturday night against Seattle Sounders FC. Former Battery midfielder Osvaldo Alonso opened the scoring for Seattle in the 21st minute before Charleston’s Colin Falvey equalized three minutes later. U.S. Men’s National Team defender Brad Evans converted an 88th minute penalty kick to lift Seattle to victory.

    In the other game played on Saturday D.C. United defeated the Houston Dynamo 2-0, with former Richmond Kickers loanee Michael Seaton scoring a late goal to put the game away for United. Three-time Challenge Cup champions, United enter the second match day top of the CCC standings.

    Former Charleston Battery goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra is a current member of the D.C. United squad. Dykstra spent two seasons with the Battery and was a member of the Battery’s 2012 USL PRO Championship-winning team.

    The 2014 Carolina Challenge Cup concludes on Saturday March 1 with Seattle Sounders vs D.C. United at 5 p.m. followed by Charleston Battery vs Houston Dynamo at 7:15 p.m.

    Carolina Challenge Cup Match Day 2
    Seattle Sounders FC vs Houston Dynamo – 5 PM
    Charleston Battery vs D.C. United - 7:15 PM
    Blackbaud Stadium, Daniel Island
    Wednesday, Feb 26 - Gates 4 PM
    (843) 971-GOAL (4625) / www.charlestonbattery.com.


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