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News from USL

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    Orlando City News Release --

    Friday, February 28, 2014

    ORLANDO, Fla. -- In their final match of the Walt Disney Pro Soccer Classic, Orlando City SC will take on Thierry Henry and the New York Red Bulls on Saturday evening in the third place match of the tournament. Both Orlando (0-0-3) and New York (2-1-0) finished second in their respective groups, behind 2013 MLS Cup Champions Sporting Kansas City and Columbus Crew. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.

    Photo courtesy Mark Thor/Orlando City“We’re really looking forward to the match,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath. “I think they have one of the strongest squads in MLS, so regardless of whoever they put out, we will expect a good showing.”

    So far throughout the Pro Soccer Classic, Orlando City has already displayed that they can compete with some of the premier teams in the nation, despite not having as much preseason training as the visiting MLS clubs. Coming off consecutive 1-1 draws against Philadelphia Union and Toronto F.C., the Lions’ most recent match on Wednesday featured a thrilling 4-4 contest against group-leaders, Columbus Crew.

    Although Orlando conceded four goals to the Crew, the Lions had their best attacking performance thus far in the tournament. New signing Darwin Ceren, who has impressed many City fans with his contributions in the Pro Soccer Classic, recorded his first goal in purple and white against Columbus.

    MLS signee Kevin Molino has also been in blistering form during the preseason matches and was instrumental in City’s ability to go forward against the Ohio-based club, recording a goal and an assist in 90 minutes.

    After being given the day off for New York’s opening match against Sporting Kansas City, Henry appeared in the Red Bulls' final two matches in the group stage. During those two matches, New York defeated the Montreal Impact 3-0 and followed that performance with a tight 1-0 win over the Fluminense U23s.

    As a result, the 2013 Supporter Shield Champions have momentum heading into their matchup against Orlando. Along with Henry, former Everton F.C. midfielder Tim Cahill and U.S. Men’s National Team player Dax McCarty will also be active on Saturday.

    “I know Tim very well because of both of our connections with Everton,” said Heath. “He was a great player for Everton and I’m not surprised that New York has been successful since he’s been there.”

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

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    Super Y-League Feature

    Saturday, March 1, 2014

    BRADENTON, Fla. – Watching the U14 Super Y-League ODP National Camp squad coached by Steve Gummer on Friday afternoon take on IMG Academy’s U14 side, you would have been forgiven for thinking the group of players that had trained together for the first time on Thursday had been together a lot longer.

    With quick passing movements through the midfield, driven primarily by the trio of Nazar Tsaruk of Orlando City, Francisco Corral of Cedar Stars Academy and Nick Kozdron of Parsippany SC, the side claimed a 4-1 victory behind two goals apiece from Alliance Academy’s Vinny Manzo and the Kalamazoo Kingdom’s Michael Ketteman.

    In the middle of the action was Kozdron, pictured, a U14 All-Tournament selection last December at the North American Finals, who was quick to praise the preparation the side was put through by Gummer as it quickly developed chemistry ahead of its opening scrimmage of the IMG Cup College Showcase.

    “He got us all together and started putting us in drills where we just kept passing the ball, one-, two-touch, and it really just clicked from the first moment,” Kozdron said. “I think the whole team’s doing well; the chemistry on the field, and off, is just fantastic.”

    Gummer, the Technical Director at Southern Soccer Academy, was as quick to praise his players, who quickly took on the principles he instilled.

    “I was actually a little bit lucky because I put those three in the middle at the beginning of practice, and the three guys in there were kinda the smallest guys, but they were the best technicians,” Gummer said. “Everything we’ve done yesterday and this morning was all about how to move the ball through midfield, how to play one-touch quickly, combining and forming a triangle around the ball as quickly as possible.”

    Gummer was also impressed by the leadership shown by Kozdron. Throughout the day’s scrimmage, and in the squad’s training sessions, the 14-year-old was consistently vocal, providing guidance as the side moved the ball well for much of the contest.

    “From the very first day of camp we named him the captain because he’s one of those players that takes charge,” Gummer said. “You can see from the way he plays the game, he understands the game, he understands the principles, he was understanding what we were looking for as a team, but he was also doing the other things, which was encouraging the players, he was getting at them if they needed to work harder, but he was certainly patting them on the back when they’d done well.”

    For his teammates, that leadership proved useful as they faced a well-organized IMG side that tried to press quickly when the ODP side had possession.

    “It’s very useful, because it helps you know how you’re going to move, what’s your next move,” said Corral. “It’s very fast, very technical, because he’s a great midfielder, he knows how to play. It’s very enjoyable.”

    Kozdron said the influence of his father is a big reason behind his communication on the field. His goal, in addition to linking play with a solid technical ability, it to make sure his teammates are always aware of what’s around them as they look to find the right pass or run.

    “You have to help your teammates and be a team player,” Kozdron said, “and the best way to do that is not only play with your team, but communicate and help them with what they can’t see.”

    With the way the side was able to play in its opening game, it seems certain that the players will be able to take a number of lessons back to their sides this summer as the Super Y-League’s regular season comes around. From Gummer’s perspective, the chemistry that the side is showing on and off the field also illustrates how good players can come together quickly, and help one another raise their respective levels.

    “I think it goes to show that soccer is a worldwide game, whether you’re playing as a 13-, 14-year-old in the United States at the Super Y National Camp, or you’re playing professionally,” Gummer said. “We’re trying to emulate what the professionals do, and it can be done at a level which is consummate with the player’s level, and I think bringing the players from different squads around the country, players are players, the technical ability, the tactical ability is usually the same, and if they all buy into the same program, I think you can mesh players together real well, and they can get a good experience from it.

    “We’ve got players from Florida, New Jersey and Michigan, and it’s been a nice little bunch, they’ve seemed to jell real well, and if they’re jelling well, communicating, working hard together and understanding the objectives of how the team wants to play, I think that leads to a successful experience.”

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    Orlando City News Release --

    Saturday, March 1, 2014

    LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Orlando City SC claimed a 4-4 draw with the New York Red Bulls on Saturday night at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in the Walt Disney Pro Soccer Classic third place match. With Orlando and New York electing to forgo a decision by penalty kicks, the two sides shared third place at the preseason tournament. 

    “Despite allowing two or three poor goals, there were a lot of pleasing moments for us, especially going forward,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath. “As their coaches just said, we’re difficult to contain with the way we move the ball.”

    After controlling possession early in the match, a miscommunication in the New York defense would provide a golden opportunity for new Lions' signing Corey Hertzog. Going against the club who drafted him in 2011, Hertzog was in pursuit of a long-floated ball from Darwin Ceren, whose ball seemed to be an easy clearance for the Red Bulls defense, but defender Kosuke Kimura accidentally headed it past goalkeeper Luis Robles, who was on his way to clear the danger away. Hertzog was lurking in the area and slotted it home to give Orlando a 1-0 lead.

    In light of Hertzog’s early goal, Orlando would get into their rhythm, and Molino and Hertzog would create a few opportunities that kept Robles honest.

    At the other end, the 2013 Supporter Shield winners weren’t shy of going forward either and showed why they were one of the best sides in MLS last year. In response to a cracking effort from Molino that hit the crossbar, New York progressed their way down the pitch and equalized in the 28th minute as Bradley Wright-Phillips found the back of the net. After receiving the ball on the right-hand-side, Lloyd Sam whipped in a driven cross to the near-post and Wright-Phillips was there to place it past Gallardo.

    The equalizer from New York was arguably a fair reflection of the first half, as neither side was ever in full control of the game. Nevertheless, despite not having as much time on the ball in comparison to the matches in the group-stages, Orlando still looked dangerous in spurts.

    Ceren has quickly become a fan-favorite for his contributions on the pitch, and was a key facilitator in City’s attacking plays. As a result, Orlando would create the best chance of the match, in the 43rd minute, after several probing efforts. After good build-up play on the left-hand side, City worked the ball across the edge of the area to Yordany Alvarez who hit a powerful volley that forced Robles to push it over the bar and into the supporters section. The play leading up to Alvarez’s effort was almost an identical replication of Ceren’s first goal for the Lions against the Columbus Crew on Wednesday night.

    To begin the second half, Heath brought on Dennis Chin for Hertzog as his only change during the intermission. Within two minutes of entering the game, Chin would score his second goal of the preseason. After Molino earned a corner, Alvarez whipped the ball to the near-post for Chin, who nodded it past Robles.

    However, Orlando had very little time to celebrate as Wright-Phillips tapped home his second goal of the game in the 50th minute. Wright-Phillips, the brother of former England-international Sean Wright-Phillips, used his pace to get in behind the Orlando defense on several occasions but Gallardo maintained his excellent form with notable key saves, but in the 68th minute, New York would get the better of the Mexican goalkeeper when Ibrahim Sekagaya scored a tap-in. Gallardo made a quality save on the initial free-kick from Orlando-native Dax McCarty, but Sekagya was there to tuck it away after City failed to clear it away.

    In the ensuing moments after Sekagya’s goal, Orlando would not lose their fighting spirit and Adama Mbengue, who came on as a substitute in the 57th minute, provided an equalizer in 76th minute. Stemming from another Yordany Alvarez corner-kick, Mbengue blasted a screamer from the edge of the area that flew into the top-corner. 

    Nevertheless, Midfielder Jonny Steele would respond with the Red Bull’s fourth goal of the match, only two minutes later. Steele’s goal marked the second consecutive game in which Orlando allowed four goals. However, similar to the Columbus match, City would respond and level the game at four goals apiece.

    Orlando’s goal occurred after beautiful build-up play in the midfield that allowed Mbengue to release Molino in behind. The Trinidadian quickly latched on to the ball and dinked it by Robles.

    “We played a pretty good New York side tonight and I think we made a good account for ourselves by finishing the tournament unbeaten,” said Heath.

    With neither side being able to break the dead-lock in regulation, the match would finish as a 4-4 draw. After the final whistle, both clubs opted to forgo the routine penalty kicks and conclude the Pro Soccer Classic with a tie for third place.

    Orlando City’s next preseason match will take place on March 8 against Florida International University (FIU). Kickoff is set for 3 p.m., and the match will occur at Seminole Soccer Complex.

    For more information, visit

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    Charleston Battery News Release --

    Saturday, March 1, 2014

    CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Major League Soccer's D.C. United won the 2014 Carolina Challenge Cup on Saturday night at Blackbaud Stadium in front of 4,630, taking the tournament trophy with a 2-2 draw against Seattle Sounders FC. United have now won the Carolina Challenge Cup a record four times with previous victories in 2010, 2011 & 2012.

    Needing a win or a draw to claim the title, United got off to a fast start scoring the opening goal in the ninth minute via a Fabian Espindola penalty kick. 

    Kenny Cooper leveled it for Seattle in the 25th minute with a bundled header, but United responded aa Perry Kitchen scored a second goal for D.C. as he volleyed home from an Espindola corner in the 53rd minute.

    Marco Pappa leveled for Seattle in the 63rd minute and momentum seemed to swing in the Sounders favor after D.C.'s Christian Fernandez was sent off for a reckless challenge in the 76th minute. Seattle threw numbers forward looking for a winning goal but United hung on and defended resolutely to preserve the scoreline and win the tournament.

    In the second game of the evening the Charleston Battery lost 2-0 to Major League Soccer's Houston Dynamo. After a scoreless first half, Tony Cascio broke the deadlock in the 54th minute heading home a Ricardo Clarke cross.

    The Dynamo added a second goal 10 minutes later with Giles Barnes tapping in from close-range after some good build-up play down the right flank.

    The Charleston Battery kick off their USL PRO campaign on Saturday, March 22 at Blackbaud Stadium with a 7:30 p.m. match versus Orlando City. For tickets or more information please visit or call (843) 971-GOAL (4625).

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  • 03/02/14--16:02: SYL Boys ODP Camp Concludes
  • Super Y-League News Release

    Sunday, March 2, 2014

    BRADENTON, Fla. – The 2014 Super Y-League Olympic Development Program Boys National Camp concluded on Sunday morning at the world-class facilities of IMG Academy with the announcement of the camp’s National Select Teams in both the U16 and U14 divisions.

    Players from across the country were honored following impressive performances both in training and competition, as the camp’s invitees competed in the IMG Cup College Showcase.

    “We were very pleased to see how quickly the players were able to come together and become cohesive teams during the weekend,” USL National Technical Director Peter Mellor said. “There were a number of extremely impressive performances from the ODP squads as they faced sides that have obviously been together for a much longer period of time in their club systems.”

    Among those selected to the U16 Select Team was West Pines United’s Devon Nothard, who helped his side claim the U15 championship at last December’s SYL North American Finals. Ironbound SC’s John Antunes was also selected, following up his strong performance at the North American Finals last December that saw him named to the U15 All-Tournament Team.

    “I think it’s been a fantastic experience for the players,” said University of Akron assistant coach Stuart Dobson, who coached Antunes’ squad at the camp. “The way the ODP program has developed over the past few years, I think USL has done a great job putting together professional facilities, and getting top-level coaches to come in and work with these players, and they get a different experience that they ordinarily don’t get on a week-to-week basis.”

    The U14 Select Team included U14 North American Finals All-Tournament Team member Edinson Giron of Washington FC, Kendall SC midfielder Michael Villegas, and Alliance Academy goalkeeper William McCarthy.

    Parsippany SC’s Nick Kozdron, a selection to the North American Finals U13 All-Tournament Team, was also chosen, as were his camp teammates Vincent Manzo of Alliance Academy, Alexander Gonzales of Real Maryland, and goalkeeper Angelo Lazar of Atlanta Fire United from a strong side led by Coach Steve Gummer.

    “Just to work with these players - and everyone’s at a high level - you can really see the players, once they get their confidence, realize that, hey, I’m not just going to stay at this level, I can really achieve more,” Dobson said. “To play against these other teams that have come in and the IMG teams that have been together for months - sometimes years - and realize you can compete at that level, I think it’s been an eye-opening experience and I think players will go from here with a new inspiration.”

    2014 SYL Olympic Development Program Select Teams

    U16 Select Team
    GK – David Monks, Toronto Lynx Jrs.
    GK – Justin Stoll, NJSA 04
    D – Devon Northard, West Pines United
    D – Paul Calkins, Knoxville Soccer Academy
    D – Bryan Medina, Ironbound SC
    D – Tyler Treat, Kalamazoo Kingdom
    D – Carson Brinks, Alliance Academy
    D – Jackson Greenspan, Lightning Soccer Club
    M – Phillimon Bedard-Khalid, Kendall SC
    M – John Antunes, Ironbound SC
    M – Nicholas Couch, Orlando City SC
    M – John Stark, MPS Crusaders
    M – Dalton Seckinger, Atlanta Fire Juniors
    M – William Pauls, Parsippany SC
    F – Jose Huerta, Cedar Stars Academy
    F – Lorenzo Bolanos, Northern Virginia Royals
    F – Angel Meraz, Florida Fire Juniors
    F – Jeremy Park, Ironbound SC

    U14 Select Team
    GK – Angello Lazar, Atlanta Fire United
    GK – William McCarthy, Alliance Academy
    D – Zyen Jones, Alpharetta Ambush
    D – Andres Renfigo, Cedar Stars Academy
    D – Nate Cole, MPS Bulldogs
    D – Kevin Morris, Thunder Soccer Club
    D – Jason Diaz, New Jersey Stallions
    M – Alexander Gonzales, Real Maryland
    M – Issa Rayyan, Waza FC East
    M – Michael Villegas, Kendall SC
    M – Rhys Jeffery, Southern Soccer Academy
    M – Allen Gavilanes, Cedar Stars Academy
    M – Nicholas Kozdron, Parsippany SC
    M – Michael Neascu, Alpharetta Ambush
    M – Brennon Creek, Kalamazoo Kingdom
    F – Edinson Giron, Washington FC
    F – Vincent Manzo, Alliance Academy
    F – Ryan Powell, Northern Virginia Royals

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  • 03/03/14--09:24: Burke Returns To Lead Royals
  • Northern Virginia Royals News Release --

    Monday, March 3, 2014

    FAIRFAX, Va. – The Northern Virginia Royals eagerly announced today that former Livingston manager Richie Burke will resume his previous head coaching duties over the Premier Development League team for the 2014 season. The Royals front office also confirmed the PDL squad will retain former player Grady Renfrow as an assistant on this summer’s coaching staff.

    Following a 2012 stint as manager with Livingston in the Scottish Football League First Division, Burke returns stateside to take the reins of the Royals following a respectable 5-4-5 season in 2013. Guiding the Northern Virginia PDL side is familiar territory to Burke, as he led the Royals in 2011 and 2012 before accepting the coaching post in the United Kingdom.

    A native of Liverpool, England, Burke’s tenure with Northern Virginia began after several successful years with the D.C. United Academy program in which he helped engineer a MLS Youth Cup Championship in 2007. Burke also served as an assistant coach for the MLS D.C. United under Ray Hudson from 2001-2003.

    In addition to coaching, Burke’s background includes numerous stints on the professional player side of the ball.  After playing collegiate soccer at American University, Burke played for the Washington Diplomats before heading returning to England and joining Chester City FC.  Burke retired as a professional player in 1994 following two successful indoor seasons on the Washington Warthogs.

    During the 2012 PDL season, Burke moved back to the UK after securing a coaching and youth development opportunity with Scottish side Livingston.  Burke, who was originally appointed as technical coach of the West Lothian club, was promoted to assistant manager to Gareth Evans in November 2012. After the dismissal of Evans as manager on 28 February 2013, Burke assumed the role of interim manager. On 25 March 2013, he was appointed as the new permanent manager of Livingston on a multi-year contract.

    A member of the Royals organization since 2004, former midfielder Renfrow took over for Burke in 2013 as the fifth head coach in Northern Virginia team history.  A Washington, D.C. native, Renfrow grew up playing soccer with Stoddert Soccer Club before signing with Penn State University.  It was during his Big Ten college stint that Renfrow spent his summers playing in the United Soccer League’s PDL with the local Northern Virginia Royals.

    The Royals kick off their season on Saturday, May 10th as they travel to Newark, N.J., to face the Jersey Express. Northern Virginia opens its home season the following Saturday, May 17th as they face the Baltimore Bohemians. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Westfield High School in Centreville, Va.

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  • 03/03/14--09:14: Eagles Add Thompson To Squad
  • Charlotte Eagles News Release --

    Monday, March 3, 2014

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Charlotte Eagles are excited to announce the signing of former MLS midfielder Wells Thompson.  

    Thompson, 30, a native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina finished his four-year career at Wake Forest with 16 goals and 10 assists.  He led the Demon Deacons to the 2006 NCAA College Cup for the first time in school history. Thompson earned ACC All-Tournament honors as a senior and was also named to the ACC All-Freshman team in 2003.

    "To add a player like Wells brings not only a wealth of soccer experience, but a leader on and off the field," said  Jeremy Auyer, Eagles GM.

    Thompson joins the Eagles after a seven-year MLS career with the New England Revolution, Colorado Rapids and Chicago Fire. Thompson was drafted fifth overall by the Revolution in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft and helped the club win the 2007 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.

    In 2010 Thompson was traded to the Colorado Rapids.  He made 27 appearances for the Rapids scoring five goals as the team captured the 2010 MLS Cup against FC Dallas.  After making 75 appearances for the Rapids, Thompson was dealt to the Chicago Fire in 2012.

    He joins fellow former Demon Deacon Ben Newnam on the 2014 squad.

    The Eagles will kick off their 2014 USL PRO season against the Dayton Dutch Lions on Saturday, April 4th at Queens Sports Complex. Tickets can be purchased at

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    Dayton Dutch Lions News Release -

    Monday, March 3, 2014

    DAYTON, Ohio – The Dayton Dutch Lions are proud to announce the return of defender Alexandra Warren for the 2014 W-League season. The Lehigh University standout appeared in all 10 games for the Dutch Lions in 2013, recording an assist.

    "We are delighted to have Alex back for 2014,” Dutch Lions Head Coach Gavin MacLeod said. “She was an integral part of last season's team, and coupling that experience with her natural leadership and work ethic, I expect her to have a major impact for us this year."

    Warren was named to the USL W-League Team of the Week on two occassions in 2013, with one being an honorable mention selection.

    "I am really excited to come back with the Dayton Dutch Lions," Warren said.  "We made some great strides last season but after it ended I felt we had some unfinished business and so this year I wanted to return to help get this team to the W-League Championships."

    The Silver Spring, Maryland native will wear No. 6 for the Dutch Lions. 

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  • 03/03/14--12:03: Trio Returns To Wilmington
  • Wilmington Hammerheads News Release --

    Monday, March 3, 2014

    WILMINGTON, N.C. – Wilmington Hammerheads FC announced today the return of three players for the 2014 USL PRO season. Midfielder William Heaney, defender Shaun Utterson and forward Mickael Oliveira will all be returning for their second consecutive seasons with the Hammerheads.

    “I’m pleased to be back and I am looking forward to seeing the guys again,” said Heaney. “I missed Wilmington this offseason and I am looking forward to hit the ground running. Being a foreigner, I am so thankful for how helpful people in the Wilmington community have been to me over the past years.”

    A native of Maryport, Heaney made his debut with the Hammerheads during the 2013 USL PRO regular season after previously training with the club in 2012 as a trialist. The midfielder tallied one goal and one assist last season in 14 matches. During the offseason, Heaney traveled overseas to play with Gretna FC of the Scottish Football League and Workington AFC.

    Utterson returns to the Hammerheads after offseason play with Blyth Spartans AFC of the Northern Premier League Premier Division in Northumberland. A former player for the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, the defender made his official USL PRO debut with the Hammerheads in 2013; making 20 appearances.

    “I am delighted to be back,” said Utterson. “Really looking forward to getting into preseason and gelling with the returning and new players. Wilmington is a great place to play football and I am very much excited to return to Legion Stadium.”

    Oliveira made eight appearances overall during his professional debut with the Hammerheads in 2013 after being officially added to the roster mid-season. The Belgian forward tallied three goals and one assist before wrapping up his first season with the club.

    “I am very excited to come back to Wilmington for my second season,” said Oliveira. “Seeing the fantastic fans that we have, I am excited to play a full season this time around.”

    Wilmington Hammerheads FC 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

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    K-W United FC News Release --

    Monday, March 3, 2014

    WATERLOO, Ont. -- K-W United FC is thrilled to announce the arrival of new head coach, Stuart Neely. Neely will take the helm with United after the unexpected departure of previous head coach, Brett Mosen.

    With years of experience in North America and internationally, Neely comes to K-W United FC to serve as the vice president of football and head coach of both the PDL and W-League teams. Being familiar with the national and provincial scene, Neely hopes to build on the years of experience and positive relationships established to make the club an ongoing success.

    "I'm very lucky to be involved in the game and when provided an opportunity to do so with good footballing people in such a great community as Kitchener-Waterloo, you have to seriously consider the benefits professionally and personally. It brings me home to help in the development of the Canadian game and our players," Neely said.

    Neely's professional accomplishments include coaching with the Toronto FC, Vancouver Whitecaps, the Canadian Soccer Association and the Ontario Soccer Association, as well as his most recent position as the head of football development for New Zealand.

    "While the season is short, we must look to the long term and what lies ahead for the program and what we expect of ourselves and the players," Neely said. "We can't look at this as a year-to-year commitment. We need stability in everything we do and we must be great doing it - needless to say, the local clubs will also play a huge part in our growth and we must continue to build strong relationships as we build pathways for players and coaches.

    "Everyone in the PDL knows that it is all hands on deck and I'm prepared to be part of that, to build a vision that is centered around the players, the community and obviously the club. We are United!"

    K-W United FC would like to wish a warm welcome to our newly-appointed head coach.

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    Super Y-League News Release

    Monday, March 3, 2014

    TAMPA, Fla. – The Super Y-League announced the participants and coaches for its 2014 Girls ODP National Camp today, with the event running Thursday through Sunday (March 6-9) at the world-class facilities of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. The more than 160 invitees will train under the supervision of top college and youth coaches while also competing in the IMG Cup College Showcase, where they will be scouted by top colleges from throughout the country.

    The coaching staff at the event, once again assembled and led by USL National Technical Director Peter Mellor, will include the University of Maine’s Scott Atherley, Rice University's Brandon Gwin, Gardner-Webb University's Mike Varga and Erskine College's Gary Winchester. Scouts from colleges such as Auburn, LSU, Florida Atlantic and Florida Gulf Coast will also be on hand to evaluate the top-level talent from the U13 to U16 divisions.

    Among the players set to attend for the U15/16 age group are Virginia Alliance defender Olivia Kobayaashi, a 2013 SYL North American Finals U17 All-Tournament Team selection, as well as Kalamazoo Kingdom midfielder Kathryn Nutter - who shared the tournament’s U16 Golden Boot honors after tallying three goals in five games - and U15 Golden Boot winner Taylor Chapman of Super Nova FC.

    The U13/14 age group will include Virginia Alliance's Breanna Mitchell, the U14 SYL North American Finals Golden Boot winner, as well as Alliance Academy Black's Madison Donley, who earned the U13 Golden Boot.

    In addition to training sessions each day, the U13/14 and U15/16 teams will also compete three times during the weekend in the renowned IMG Cup College Showcase. One of the top showcase events in the country, the IMG Cup will give the players a chance to face teams from throughout the country in front of numerous college scouts, and implement lessons absorbed throughout the weekend from practice into live action.

    U13/14 Participants

    U15/16 Participants

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    Super Y-League Feature

    Tuesday, March 4, 2014

    BRADENTON, Fla. – The goal at the start of every Super Y-League ODP National Camp is for the players to learn and grow while also enjoying the experience of competing alongside top players from throughout the country.

    For West Pines United’s Devon Nothard and Alliance Academy’s Carson Brinks, the past weekend certainly lived up to their expectations. As part of a squad led by Lynn University coach John Rootes, both shone defensively and were named to the camp’s U16 Select Team.

    “It’s fantastic; the level of play here is phenomenal and I’m so glad to be part of it,” Nothard said. “Just being around all of these players, and the level that they’re at. I just feel happy to be a part of it.”

    Nothard returned to IMG Academy as a champion, having been part of the West Pines United side that claimed the Boys U15 title last December. Led by Golden Boot-winner Alex Alexis, United put together a string of impressive performances that culminated in the club’s biggest win to date.

    “I’d never won anything that big before; it was just on a whole new level,” Nothard said. “I was ecstatic; the team was ecstatic; we all just put it together. We’re coming up. We haven’t always been on that level, and it just shows when we all collaborate together our teams can come up and compete at the top level.”

    Nothard’s size and ability to read the game drew attention throughout the weekend, but it was his touch on the ball and willingness to join the midfield when the chance presented it that stood out. That facet of his game allowed the team to maintain good spells of possession, and allowed Rootes flexibility in his system of play.

    “That’s what I like about him,” Rootes said. “He’s big, a typical central defender, great in the air and he tackles well, closes people down well, but he does have silky touch and the ability to distribute, and he likes to play with the ball at his feet. He gave us the ability to play out of the back. He’s got a lot of composure.”

    Brinks, whose regular position for Alliance is also center back, was moved to full back for portions of the weekend’s action and showed excellent positional sense in addition to good speed as he got up and down the flank. Rootes credited his squad’s ability to hit quickly on the counter-attack partly to Brinks’ ability to win possession and quickly turn defense into attack.

    “He has a lot of athleticism, very aggressive, and he reads the game well,” Rootes said. “He’s very good at stepping up and winning balls and starting counter-attacks. In the three games we played, he was instrumental in creating a lot of chances from winning the ball and starting off on the counter. I liked him as an outside back because he could win the ball and distribute it and get forward on the overlap; he did very well there.”

    Brinks and his Alliance squad reached the semifinals of the Boys U16 Division last December as they fell to eventual champions Real Maryland. As he prepares to enter his final season in the Super Y-League - and starts getting offers from colleges to continue his career - Brinks said he enjoyed getting the chance to compete alongside and get to know some of the top players from throughout the league.

    “I think the chemistry of the team,” Brinks said. “We really bonded this whole week. I got to know a lot of these guys - we’re all from different states - and to come together and play this well, it was really cool for me.”

    Which means for Rootes, the goal of the weekend’s camp was accomplished.

    “What I try to do is try to create a more professional environment that would be similar to what they would experience in college, and kind of treat them the way that I would my college team in the way that we train and prepare for the game,” Rootes said. “Hopefully it gave them a little taste of what it would be like playing at the next level.”

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    USL PRO Feature

    Tuesday, March 4, 2014

    The Pittsburgh Riverhounds began a new era in 2013 with a beautiful new stadium, a re-tooled squad, and a higher visibility in the city’s sporting landscape.

    For the first few weeks of the season, however, things just wouldn’t quite click. The side went winless in its opening seven games, six of which were on the road, and only scored three goals.

    Then, Jose Angulo found his stride.

    “As a team, we started a bit slow in the beginning, even individually, but eventually I got to know the guys, I got to know the staff, and everything started feeling comfortable,” Angulo said recently. “After that, it just started working out, the team started jelling, and individually I started scoring goals.”

    Making his return to USL PRO after a stint with the New York Red Bulls, Angulo scored both goals in the Riverhounds’ first win of the season, a 2-1 victory against Phoenix. The win triggered a strong run of form that saw Pittsburgh go undefeated in USL PRO through May and June and helped propel the side into the postseason.

    At the center was the goal-scoring of Angulo and his partnership with winger Matt Dallman. Both set USL PRO records in 2013, with Angulo sharing the league’s Golden Boot with Orlando City’s Dom Dwyer after scoring 15 goals and Dallman setting a new assists record with 12. The chemistry between the two was evident throughout as they combined for not only the first goal in Highmark Stadium history, but five goals in their first season together as Angulo claimed the league’s Most Valuable Player award.

    “He’s just one of those guys that just thrives off getting assists, you know?” Angulo said of Dallman. “He’s always looking for assists, always looking for the runs, always has his head up, and that’s always good for a striker when you have a guy like that on your team. We have a great relationship on and off the field.”

    The Riverhounds are hoping that relationship continues to thrive this season as the side looks to build on the momentum it built in 2013. With an early start to preseason, a new partnership with the Houston Dynamo and the addition of more proven quality to the squad such as 2013 All-League selection Joseph Ngwenya, Angulo believes the side will get off to a faster start this season and be in contention at the end.

    “I think this year with the people coming back, the core of the team back, it’s not a new team anymore,” Angulo said. “A lot of the guys, we all know each other, we all hang out, and I think that helps to translate onto the field. I think we’re definitely a contender for the top three.”

    Should the team reach its goals for the season, the attention being paid in the local community will also continue to grow. Thanks to the investment of new owner Tuffy Shallenberger and the visibility provided by Highmark Stadium, the Riverhounds are becoming minor local celebrities in their own right.

    “You can already tell from last year to this year, every time we’re just going to the store or walking around Pittsburgh, people recognize us as the Riverhounds now, and I think it’s becoming a household name in Pittsburgh,” Angulo said. “That’s a step forward for the club and it’s becoming a really good name here in Pittsburgh, and hopefully that will become contagious to the rest of the area and the country.”

    If he continues to perform in the manner of 2013, Angulo will likely get his fair share of attention. As the season approaches, though, Angulo has a singular focus.

    “As a striker, you always want to be the best at what you do, and score the most goals as you can, but I go into every season game by game,” he said. “My goal right now is to do my best against Orlando on the 29th of March.” 

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    Orlando City Feature --

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

    ORLANDO, Fla. -- For midfielder Darwin Ceren, growing up in El Salvador was often challenging and strenuous at times.

    However, fortunately for Ceren, soccer has been a key cornerstone in his life since an early age, and those difficult times that he encountered have been essential in the Salvadorian’s approach to the beautiful game.

    “Like everything in life, sometimes you have bad things happen and at times it’s been hard, but I feel like the sport of soccer has always been there for me,” said Ceren. “I’ve worked hard from a young age for everything I’ve accomplished this far, and my determination will only continue to get stronger going forward.”

    When Ceren joined his former club Juventud Independiente, he was only 19-years-old but even then his mental toughness and determination would propel him and the club to new heights. Appearing in 83 matches for Independiente, Ceren found the back of the net 15 times, despite playing as a defensive midfielder, and was instrumental in the club’s promotion to the El Salvador Premier League.

    Having such an impactful role at a young age allowed the midfielder to develop a sense of leadership both on and off the field.

    Once Ceren made his debut for the El Salvador National Team, his leadership and talent would impress the team’s technical staff so much that they nominated him as team captain, albeit playing in only 16 matches.

    “I think it’s one of the things that motivated me,” Ceren said of being named captain of El Salvador. “I think it speaks to all of my hard work and the way that I prepare. I always give 100%, and I believe that led them to making that decision.”

    Nevertheless, despite all of his domestic success, Ceren still had big dreams of playing in a more recognizable league, particularly MLS. In December 2013, the dots would all begin to connect when OCSC Head Coach Adrian Heath was in El Salvador to watch a semifinal match featuring Juventud Independiente.

    Heath is notorious for venturing on international scouting trips during his off-season and was in El Salvador with the mission of recruiting players for the upcoming USL PRO season, and possibly the MLS season in 2015.

    It’s safe to say that Heath found one.

    Despite the fact that several MLS clubs were vying to try and acquire Ceren’s talents, the Lions were able to capture his signature earlier this month to make him the team’s third MLS signing.

    “Darwin is at the right age,” said Heath in a statement in early February. “He’s the captain of his country and an all-around great kid, so I’m very pleased that we were able to get this deal finalized.”

    The El Salvador native was presented with a proposal he could not deny and added that he is also excited for the opportunities that the future holds for him here in Orlando.

    “I believe it was a smart decision to come here,” Ceren continued. “It’s a magnificent club with the possibility of winning it all in the USL this season. A great showing this season will make for a great transition next year to the MLS.”

    With Ceren signed through the inaugural MLS season, as well as Yordany Alvarez and Kevin Molino, the Lions’ midfield is destined to be in capable hands for the next few years.

    “This is already a championship club and you can tell right away,” Ceren said. “Hopefully I can help us repeat this year and become a champion alongside my new teammates. Winning a championship outside my home country would be a great personal accomplishment for me. Down the road, giving a good showing in MLS is another goal of mine.”

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    USL PRO Feature

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

    As things go, it’s pretty good to be Rodrigo Lopez.

    The first signing in the history of the Sacramento Republic FC, Lopez is looking to make a fresh start in Northern California. Reunited with his former coach Preki, whom he spent time with at Chivas USA, the 2014 season is filled with anticipation - and optimism - for the expansion USL PRO franchise.

    “I’m privileged and honored to be the first player ever for the franchise,” Lopez said recently. “I want to stay here for as long as I can and make a name for not just myself, but more importantly for the team. I’m here to win, I’m not here to achieve stuff on my own; obviously the team is more important to me and I’m happy to be here. Honestly, with the way things are going here, and the way people are doing things around here in the front office, it makes things so much easier and so pleasurable to be here.”

    On the face of it, 2013 was an excellent year for Lopez. Playing for the LA Blues, the standout midfielder finished second in USL PRO with 11 assists, added a pair of goals, and helped the side reach the postseason.

    While Lopez was starring for the Blues on the field, however, he was going through what he described as a ‘hard year emotionally’ after complications arose before and after the birth of his son, Roman.

    “A couple of months before his birth, they ran an exam on him, and he had what is called an aortic stenosis,” Lopez explained. “His main valve was a little thick, and it wasn’t opening, so when he was pumping blood out of his heart, it wouldn’t open up the whole way. It was causing his heart to work a little harder.

    A couple of days after his birth, he had a surgery, he had a procedure done to him where they stuck a balloon up his leg, into his heart, and they pumped the valve up a little to try and expand it, and he came out well from the procedure. Now they have to monitor him, and see how well he’s coming along; we don’t know if he’s going to need another surgery, but he looks fine now, and he seems like a normal baby, so I thank God he’s okay for now.”

    For Lopez, the days were long as he went from training, or games, and then immediately back to the hospital to be with his family and newborn son. Roman spent nearly 10 days in the ICU as he went through the procedure and monitoring, and the experienced served to push Lopez harder when he got on the field.

    “It was so tough, man. I went through hell for a couple of weeks,” Lopez said. “Those 10 days to me were draining. … It was so tough for me, but to be honest my son was my motivation and what pushed me to work a little harder. It was demanding physically and emotionally, but I got through it because of him. If he could go through something that difficult, why couldn’t I put in a little extra to do well and get through those 10 days?”

    Lopez has now brought his work ethic and ability to the Republic, where he is enjoying being back on the field for preseason. The club received good news last week with the unanimous vote by the Cal Expo Board of Directors to allow the facility to become the club’s home, and now the team is putting in the work to ensure it will be competitive from the opening game of the season.

    “If you don’t enjoy being on a soccer field, whether it’s running, whether it’s playing, or doing whatever it is with your team, I don’t feel you belong anywhere around this profession,” Lopez said. “Obviously the running has to be done, and it’s good for you in the long run, so I’m enjoying every single part of it; meeting new coaches, meeting new players, the front office, who are doing a phenomenal job and making sure we’re taken care of.”

    Lopez is also enjoying being part of a side led by Preki again. The former U.S. international and 2007 MLS Coach of the Year is back on the sidelines for the first time since his spell with Toronto FC in 2010, and Lopez sees a more mature coach leading the way toward the club’s opening game.

    “I think he’s a great coach and a great fit for this club,” Lopez said. “We’re starting off really well in preseason; we’re working really hard. He obviously knows the game of soccer; he’s played at a very high level, so he knows what he’s doing. He’s putting in a very good group of guys - some good young guys mixed in with some experience - and everyone’s working hard, no-one’s going their own way, we’re all going in one direction, and that’s the key to be successful here.”

    After all he went through last year, Lopez is ready to turn the page and help write a successful first chapter in the Republic’s history.

    “It’s awesome man,” he said. “It’s a new beginning; it feels like a breath of fresh air. … Everyone here knows what Sacramento is all about. The fans are so excited for the season, and it’s not just the fans, you go into the offices and everyone’s got a smile on their face.

    “A lot of people are going to have their eyes on us, and that’s OK, because I think we’re ready as a whole team to be successful. We have the players and the coaching staff to strive for big things, and I’m thinking championship. I don’t want to sound too cocky, but that’s what you work for since day one in preseason, to try and build a team to win a championship.”

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    Charleston Battery News Release --

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

    CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Defenders John Wilson and Taylor Mueller have both signed for the Charleston Battery and will return for the upcoming USL PRO season. Veteran defender Wilson will be playing in his 12th season as a Charleston Battery player while Mueller returns for a third year; both players have signed pending USSF approval.

    “John had a fantastic season last year and being able to sign him for another year is very important to our experience in the defense and with the entire team," Head Coach Mike Anhaeuser said. "Taylor is another experienced defender who has played many games and we look forward to having him to solidify our 2014 back line.”

    Wilson has played on three of the Battery’s four championship winning teams (2003, 2010 & 2012) his career Charleston Battery totals includes 246 games played (second all-time), 21,501 minutes, 3 goals and 11 assists.

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

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

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

    In 2012 Wilson switched to his favored left-back position and played 23 games as the Battery claimed its fourth USL Championship.

    The 36-year-old Wilson, 5-foot-9, 170 lbs., had an outstanding college career at Clemson University and was named All-ACC in 1997 and 1998. He played in 57 matches for the Tigers, scored 18 goals and added 35 assists in his career. Wilson helped Clemson to an ACC Championship, No. 1 national ranking and Final Eight NCAA finish in 1998.

    Mueller returns to the Battery for a third season.  Mueller played 16 games in 2013 both in a central and wide defensive role, and was a member of the Charleston Battery’s 2012 USL PRO championship winning team.

    Mueller was a four-year starter at the University of Washington. A native of Sammamish, Wash., the 25-year-old Mueller, 6-foot-2, 180 lbs., scored two goals in 76 games for the Huskies.

    Charleston Battery opens season against Orlando City

    The Charleston Battery will kick off their USL PRO season at Blackbaud Stadium on Saturday, March 22 against Orlando City; gates open at 6 p.m. with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m.  Season Ticket packages, which include a ticket to all home Charleston Battery games, are on sale now.  Individual and group tickets for the USL PRO regular season will go on sale on Monday, March 10 at 10 a.m. To purchase season tickets or for more information please call (843) 971-GOAL (4625) or visit

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    Dayton Dutch Lions FC News Release --

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

    DAYTON, Ohio -- With the FIFA World Cup in Brazil just months away, the Dayton Dutch Lions have added their own infusion of Brazilian talent with the signings of defender Matheus Diovany Pechim Dos Santos and forwards Jackson Beckham Diego Socrates da Silva de Jesus, pictured, and Guilherme Ribeiro Felix.
    "Matheus brings a wealth of experience even at a young age,” Dayton Dutch Lions head coach Sid van Druenen said. “His experience as a Brazilian youth international and in the Netherlands with Eredivisie club VVV will only help us and his physical presence and technical ability will fit right in with our style of play.”
    The Coritiba, Brazil native joins the USL PRO side from VVV Venlo. He also has previous experience with the Brazil youth national team and Coritiba FC.
    “I thought this would be a great opportunity for my career,” Dos Santos said. “I think this step in my career will help me get to where I want to go and I am looking forward to my time in Dayton.”
    The new signing will wear the number 4 for the Dutch Lions and can be found on Twitter @matheusdiovany. 
    Jackson Beckham spent several years with Italian side ACF Fiorentina, attracting the attention of EPL clubs like Chelsea and West Ham.  He was under a youth contract with the Serie A side from 2007-2010 before earning a professional contract for 2010-2013.   
    "Beckham is a very technical player that can play on the wing and attacking midfielder,” van Druenen said. “Despite his young age he brings three years of experience at the highest European level at ACF Fiorentina in Italy and I expect him to become an important part of our offensive strategies this season."
    The Araguaina, Brazil native is just 19 years old. 
    Felix is a 23-year-old forward that hails from Uberaba, Brazil.  His career includes time with Brazilian sides Trieste FC, Goias Esporte Clube, and Atletico Mogi.  He also had a stint with Metalurg Z in Ukraine, but is best known for his time at Coritiba FC in Brazil, where he played from 2008-2010.
    "Guilherme is a very strong and technical target striker that fits perfectly in our playing style,” van Druenen said. “He is one of the many options we will have to play up top, giving us the possibility to change things around and bring up the competitive level at training."

    Matheus and Felix share a common bond as former Coritiba players.  It is a well-known club in Brazil, one that has produced world-class footballers as Adriano (FC Barcelona), Rafinha (Bayern Munich), and Alexsandro de Souza (Fenerbahce and Parma).

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    Charleston Battery News Release --

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

    CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The Charleston Battery have transferred midfielder Micheal Azira to Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders FC. Azira spent the past two seasons with the Battery and enjoyed a stellar 2013 campaign that saw him score six goals with two assists in 31 games. His performance earned him selection to the 2013 USL PRO All-League Team.

    Azira’s lone previous goal for Charleston was a crucial one as he scored the game-winner in the Battery’s 1-0 2012 USL PRO Championship win versus the Wilmington Hammerheads.

    “Micheal has done a fantastic job with the Charleston Battery and has proved and earned his place with Seattle," Battery Head Coach Mike Anhaeuser said. "We wish him the best of luck.”

    Azira played collegiately at Lindsay Wilson College and University of Mobile, where he earned NAIA All-America Honorable Mention. He also competed for the Mississippi Brilla in the PDL, where he earned All-Southern Conference honors in 2011. The native of Kampala, Uganda, Azira was called into the Uganda National Team for a 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifier. 

    Azira is the fourth Charleston Battery player to transition to Major League Soccer’s Sounders, following Osvaldo Alonso, Lamar Neagle and Alex Caskey.

    The Charleston Battery kicks off its USL PRO season on March 22 versus the Orlando City Lions.  2014 Charleston Battery season ticket packages are still available for purchase including a limited number of exclusive Three Lions Club memberships.  Season ticket packages include reserved seats to all Charleston Battery home matches plus discounted U.S. Open Cup and playoff tickets.  For more information please visit or call (843) 971-GOAL (4625).

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    Victoria Highlanders FC News Release --

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

    VICTORIA, B.C. -- With the PDL season less than two months away, the Victoria Highlanders FC are excited to make the first player announcement for the club’s 2014 roster, pending USL approval. The Highlanders will be re-signing seven players from the 2013 squad that captured the PDL Western Conference Championship, all of whom spent the fall season with the University of Victoria Vikes. The 2014 Highlanders team will see the return of Elliot Mitrou in goal, along with Adam Ravenhill and Gavin Barrett in front of him in defense. Midfielders Craig Gorman, Sam Prette, Andrew Ravenhill and Cameron Stokes will also be returning.

    The group comes back to the Highlanders from one of the top Men’s Soccer programs in Canada.  They share several Canada West First and Second Team All Stars honours among them, while Barrett and Ravenhill have both been named CIS Second Team All-Canadians, and Mitrou was a First Team All-Canadian this past season. Cameron Stokes was tied for the Vikes top goal scorer this past season, with 11 goals in 14 matches.

    This group also has the advantage of knowing one another and this organization. “One of the goals coming into this season is to maintain consistency and familiarity from last year,” said men’s Head Coach Steve Simonson. “The Vikes players obviously have a great familiarity with each other, and I expect that will carry over into our team.”

    “I think the players understand that they may have different roles with us than perhaps they have had in the winter, and they realize that they have to join into new squad and new set of teammates for the PDL season,” said Coach Simonson regarding the adjustment these players will need to make coming back to the Highlanders.

    This exchange of players between the Highlanders and the University also allows them to bring back more of the group that took part in the 2013 season in which they finished first in the USL PDL Northwest Division and were Western Conference Champions. “The core of our squad will be back again this year so I expect we will have a solid team,” said Coach Simonson. “We have added some quality and some depth this year and we will work very hard to replicate the sort of success that we showed last year in what we expect to be a very tough division.

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    Richmond Kickers News Release --

    Friday, March 7, 2014

    RICHMOND, Va. – The Richmond Kickers are pleased to announce the signing of George Mason University standout Hugh Roberts, pending USSF approval.

    “Hugh is a great addition to the squad,” said Leigh Cowlishaw, Richmond Kickers Director of Soccer. “He's a young central defender with excellent physical attributes and is comfortable with the ball at his feet. He will learn from our veteran defenders and we expect to see strong gains in his development over the course of the season.”

    Roberts impressed at the Kickers January 2014 Pro Combine, after attending the 2014 USL PRO Combine, and earned his first professional contract after making 69 appearances at George Mason University. Roberts finished his collegiate career in 2013 with six goals and nine assists overall. Named to the A-10 All-Tournament Team and the All-Region Second Team his senior year, he anchored the defensive unit that led George Mason to the A-10 Championship in 2013. The 6-foot-4 native of Olney, Md. also made 13 appearances with the Baltimore Bohemians of the PDL, claiming All-Eastern Conference honors last season.

    Don't miss a minute of Kickers Pro action as they kick off their 22nd season on Saturday, April 5. Richmond Kickers season passes offer unbeatable value, VIP benefits and incredibly low prices to all regular season home games. Guaranteed to see all regular season home games for the best possible pricing, Kickers games are a fantastic way to get together with friends, family and colleagues for an unforgettable entertainment experience - order now!

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