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News from USL

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    W-League Feature

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

    U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Tom Sermanni named a 24-player squad to face China in a pair of games set for April 6 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo. and April 10 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego on Tuesday, with a number of current and former W-League players earning selection.

    Leading the group is current LA Blues SC forward Katie Stengel, who became the seventh player from the U.S. U20 2012 World Cup-winning squad to earn a call-up to the full national team. Stengel, who helped the Blues claim the 2013 W-League Championship, is joined by Blues teammate Sam Mewis, who made her debut for the U.S. during the recent Algarve Cup.

    Overall, 19 of the players selected to the squad have W-League experience, including a number of predecessors to Stengel and Mewis with the Blues. Former Blues standouts Christen Press, Kelley O’Hara, Tobin Heath and Lauren Holiday were all named to the squad that will look to bounce back from a disappointing performance in March’s Algarve Cup.

    The Seattle Sounders Women are also well represented, with former goalkeeper Hope Solo leading a contingent of three goalkeepers with W-League experience. Should Solo appear in both games, she would become the 18th woman to appear 150 times for the national team. Former Sounders defender Stephanie Cox, midfielder Megan Rapinoe and forward Sydney Leroux – the 2011 W-League Rookie of the Year – also earned selection.

    Other former W-League players to be named to the squad included 2013 NWSL Defender of the Year Becky Sauerbrunn, formerly of D.C. United Women, and the New Jersey Wildcats duo of Heather O’Reilly and Carli Lloyd. Former Rochester Ravens forward Abby Wambach, the all-time leading scorer in women’s international soccer, was also selected. 


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    OKC Energy FC News Release -- www.energyfc.com

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

    OKLAHOMA CITY – OKC Energy FC announced today that respected local businessman Tim McLaughlin has joined the management team as an equal partner with Bob Funk Jr. 

    The partnership represents a major step towards uniting the Oklahoma City soccer community and strengthens Prodigal’s commitment to bring top level professional soccer to Oklahoma City including a potential Major League Soccer team in the years ahead. 

    “We’re pleased to have Tim join OKC Energy FC as an equal partner,” said Prodigal owner Bob Funk Jr.  “His passion for the continued success of Oklahoma City and its citizens is unmatched. By uniting our efforts, it brings us another step closer to our shared vision of bringing a Major League Soccer (MLS) team to Oklahoma City in the future.”

    McLaughlin’s dedication to Oklahoma City, particularly the students of the Oklahoma City Public Schools, is underscored through the success of the Fields & Futures program founded by him and his wife Liz in early 2012. The program provides much needed funds to build and maintain athletic fields throughout the Oklahoma City Public Schools district.  The program contributes to the positive development and retention of coaches as well as inspires student-athletes. Overhauling 44 athletic fields within the Oklahoma City Public Schools district and establishing an endowment for upkeep is the long term goal of the organization.

    “I’m looking forward with great enthusiasm to working with Bob Funk Jr. and OKC Energy FC to unite the soccer community in Oklahoma City,” said McLaughlin.  “The professionalism of Bob Jr. and his staff along with the strength of the league and their partnership with MLS and Sporting KC attracted me to partner with them. I am excited about what we can do together for soccer and Oklahoma City.”

    Beginning in early April 2014, OKC Energy FC begins practicing on the campus of Oklahoma City University. OKC Energy FC will compete during the 2014 season at Pribil Stadium on the campus of Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School.  The following Spring, OKC Energy FC will begin play at the re-modeled and historic Taft Stadium, currently undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation.  As part of the lease with Taft Stadium, $2 of every soccer ticket sold will benefit Fields & Futures.

    “We greatly appreciate the very generous donation from Tim McLaughlin as part of the Fields & Futures program for rebuilding  the vintage Taft Stadium into a modern facility for Oklahoma City Public Schools events and pro soccer,” said interim OKC Public Schools Superintendent Dave Lopez. “The joint efforts of Bob Funk Jr. and Mr. McLaughlin to bring professional soccer to our community also deserves applause."

    “Soccer’s popularity continues to soar, not only nationally but also in our community,” said Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett.  “This is a great time to bring professional soccer to Oklahoma City and lay the foundation for a possible Major League Soccer team in a few years.  Oklahoma City has always been at its best with people pulling on the same rope. We appreciate the shared vision of Bob Jr. and Tim to introduce professional soccer to our community and commend them for working together to make it happen.”

    OKC Energy FC’s move to Taft allows for Prodigal to operate a franchise in USL’s Premier Development League (PDL).  The PDL is the top amateur league in the United States and a professional development league for the United Soccer League.  The league consists of 64 teams, playing in four conferences and nine regional divisions.  The PDL season runs from May through July.  The yet-to-be-named team will play its home games at Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School.

    “Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School has developed a close relationship with OKC Energy FC,” said Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School athletic director Gary Savely.  “We will continue to support the team and work together in whatever role that meets the needs of the team and the community.”

    OKC Energy FC opens its home slate of game April 26 at Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School. Season tickets are available by calling (405) 235-KICK or visiting EnergyFC.com.


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    Richmond Kickers News Release -- www.richmondkickers.com

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

    RICHMOND, Va. – The Richmond Kickers are pleased to announce that the club’s all-time leading scorer, Matthew Delicâte, will return for the 2014 season.

    Photo courtesy Brian L. ZimmermanEntering his eighth season with the Kickers, Delicâte eclipsed the franchise’s all-time scoring record in 2012, notching 71 goals and 19 assists in 182 appearances. The three-time All-League First Team honoree has been one of the top goal scorers in the league since his Kickers professional debut in 2004.  Spending the 2006, 2007 and 2008 seasons with the Rochester Rhinos, the native of Kent, England returned to Richmond in 2009, leading the club to back-to-back Championship appearances.

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

    Don't miss a minute of 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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    Sounders FC U-23 News Release -- www.soundersu23.com

    Wednesday, March 25, 2014

    TACOMA, Wash. – The Sounders FC U-23 have signed two defenders from North Carolina-based universities for the 2014 PDL season. Clement Simonin, 22, is a French center back who anchored North Carolina State through the grueling Atlantic Coast Conference. Austin Dunker, 21, is an outside back from one of the stingiest defenses in college soccer, Elon University.

    Simonin grew up playing for his home-town club, FC Lorient, in France. At 20 years of age, he changed paths to pursue an education but continued to play soccer at Division II Lander University. Following two All-American years, he transferred to North Carolina State.

    Regarding his opportunity with the Sounders U-23, Simonin said, “Playing for the Sounders U23 will be a really good occasion to come back in a professional club and show what I'm able to bring to a new team with a lot of exposure on the professional level. I'm conscious that having a great summer here on and off the field will bring me new opportunities. This is mainly why I thought the club could be a great fit for me and my expectations.”

    Sounders U-23 Head Coach, Darren Sawatzky, said, “The Sounders U23 team is a proving ground for future professional players.  Clement comes with a good pedigree and we look forward to having him at the back to lead our group.”

    Simonin scored four goals and added three assists, despite playing center back last year for NC State, who narrowly missed out on an NCAA Tournament bid despite beating #9 North Carolina in their final regular season match.

    Dunker is a three-year starter at Elon University. With six shutouts on the season, and three versus ranked opponents, the left back’s Elon University Phoenix made it to the 2nd Round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to UCLA.

    Dunker said what he looks forward to most about playing for the Sounders U-23 this summer is, “Being in a competitive environment and being pushed every day, as well as experiencing the professionalism the Sounders are known for.”

    Dunker led the Phoenix with 2,192 minutes from 23 starts last season. He contributed on the offensive end with four assists.

    Darren Sawatzky said, “Austin Dunker represents the prototypical attacking left back.  He will play a good role in our attack this summer.”

    Both defenders are expected to join the team in early May, in time for the PDL season kick off on May 16.

    Season Tickets for the 2014 Sounders U-23 season are on sale on SoundersU23.com for only $60. The 2014 Season Ticket Flex Pack eliminates the risk of missing games. Instead of one ticket specifically associated with each match, with the Sounders U-23 Flex Pack, fans will receive eight tickets, and each of those tickets will be accepted at any match during the 2014 season. It's the ultimate deal in flexibility.


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    Washington Spirit Reserves News Release - www.washingtonspirit.com

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

    BOYDS, Md. – In continued preparation for the start of the 2014 W-League season, the Washington Spirit eagerly announced today the return of Andi Sullivan and Brittany Basinger to the Reserves roster.  Fresh off a two-game series sweep of China earlier this month in Florida, the United States U-20 Women’s National Team duo return to the Spirit Reserves after a successful run with the squad in 2013.

    Following the W-League season this summer, both Sullivan and Basinger will represent the United States at the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, beginning in August.

    A native of Lorton, Virginia, Sullivan is no stranger to the W-League.  Prior to her stint with the Spirit Reserves last year, the dynamic midfielder was a member of the starting eleven for D.C United Women at the age of 16.  Also the youngest member of the current U.S. U-20 WNT squad, Sullivan will join Stanford University this fall. 

    As a freshmen defender at Penn State last fall, Basinger started all 23 games for the Nittany Lions and helped the team to a 15-7-1 record.  Basinger scored a goal for the United States in January against Guatemala, crashing in towards the far post from the left back position.  The goal was not her first for the U.S. WNT program, however, as Basinger notched her first tally as a member of the U-17 team against Slovenia in July of 2012.

    Both Sullivan and Basinger started for Washington at the 2013 USL W-League Championships Final Four at the end of last summer in Bradenton, Florida.  Sullivan scored the first goal of the weekend for the Spirit Reserves, hammering a shot home from distance to draw the match equal against the Pali Blues in the semifinals.

    “I am very excited to welcome these two players back to the Spirit Reserves,” Head Coach German Peri said. “Andi and Brittany are a great example of the high level of talent in the league as well as within the Spirit organization.

    “Having seen them both play locally, I know they will instantly add valuable experience to the team.”

    The Washington Spirit Reserves face a challenging schedule of opponents in the Northeast Conference this season, including historic playoff contenders the Long Island Rough Riders and W-League veterans the New York Magic.

    The Spirit Reserves kick off their season Saturday, May 17 against the Braddock Road Stars Elite at the Maryland SoccerPlex.  Match time is currently slated for 3 p.m. and is the first match of a special doubleheader with the Washington Spirit professional side.  The Spirit take on Abby Wambach and the Western New York Flash at 6:30 p.m.


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    OKC Energy FC News Release -- www.energyfc.com

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

    OKLAHOMA CITY – OKC Energy FC has announced the signing of forward Pete Caringi III, General Manager Jason Hawkins announced today. Caringi was selected by the Montreal Impact in the third round of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft.

    “We’re very happy to have Pete on board,” said Energy FC Head Coach Jimmy Nielsen. “We’re looking forward to working with him. He’s a well-schooled, intelligent soccer player who will play a big part on our offense. We can’t wait to see his game develop.”

    Caringi finished his collegiate playing career in May at the University Maryland, Baltimore County, where he scored 37 goals and had 17 assists in four years for the Retrievers. He earned America East Player of the Week honors twice as a senior and was named CSN’s Player of the Week on Sept. 8, 2013. He also earned a spot on the teams of the week for Top Drawer Soccer and College Soccer News.

    Caringi was named the conference’s player of the week three times as a junior and named to the CSN and Soccer America teams of the week a combined three times. The league’s coaches voted him striker of the year and the fans named him the fans’ choice player of the year. He was also the ECAC Offensive Player of the Year and an all-star. Caringi was named to the NCSCA All-Northeast Region second team and earned his team’s most valuable player honors. He was also a Soccer News Net College Boot finalist, recognizing the men’s collegiate player of the year.

    He was named to the America East All-Rookie team as a freshman and also earned second team all-conference honors that same season. He was an all-conference first team honoree as a sophomore.

    He played for the PDL’s Baltimore Bohemians in 2013 and became the league’s Golden Boot-winner that season with 16 goals and five assists in 12 games. He also earned Player of the Week honors on two occasions, and took home the league's Young (U-21) Player of the Year award.


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  • 03/26/14--17:07: Hammerheads Enter New Era
  • USL PRO Feature

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

    LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Since his arrival at the Wilmington Hammerheads in 1998, it’s unlikely Coach David Irving has seen an offseason quite like the one the club just underwent.

    There’s a new ownership group led by businessman George Altirs. There are upgraded offices, a new club crest, and a new general manager to work with in Jason Arnold. Last but certainly not least, there is the club’s new partnership with Toronto FC, which had its own transformative offseason.

    All things considered, it’s an exciting time to be a Hammerhead and Irving is ready for the season to arrive.

    “We need to get started,” Irving said recently. “It’s been a long offseason, a lot of changes, but it’s an exciting season. Obviously, with the relationship with Toronto, getting players from them changes the whole complexion of the Wilmington Hammerheads. Getting four or five players from Toronto helps us considerably, and we’ll be more competitive than we ever have been in the past.”

    The theme of competition is one that has appeared frequently this offseason, with 10 MLS teams now partnering with USL PRO teams as the partnership between the two leagues continues to grow. Toronto FC coach Ryan Nelsen is enthusiastic about the partnership and the fact that his players will be competing in an elevated environment compared to the MLS Reserve League.

    “That’s really important, when there’s something on the line,” Nelsen said. “You can play games, you can get minutes and that, but when there’s a few-thousand watching, and there’s three points, and jobs are on the line, Dave wants to win and Wilmington wants to be successful, and there’s pressure. 

    “That’s why I like this over, no disrespect to the Reserve League, but it was a bit of a relaxed kind of atmosphere. Here there will be people playing for jobs, and our boys have got to stand up and make a good account of themselves.”

    After the Hammerheads narrowly missed out on the playoffs a season ago, a return to contention in both the regular season and the playoffs is the priority at Legion Stadium. The side will be without some key cogs from recent years including Gareth Evans, now with the OKC Energy FC.

    The return of players such as Cody Arnoux, Paul Nicholson and Mickael Oliveira, however, should provide a good backbone for Irving to build his squad around. The Hammerheads also recently received three of their loanees from Toronto, with midfielder Daniel Lovitz returning to the state where he starred for Elon University and the PDL’s Carolina Dynamo. Also joining Irving’s squad are a pair of Homegrown Signings, with goalkeeper Quillan Roberts and midfielder Manny Aparicio both bringing youth international experience with them to Wilmington.

    Despite the additional pieces, however, the veteran coach is under no illusions as to how tough a competition USL PRO will remain this season.

    “It was disappointing, but that’s football sometimes, and sometimes you have to take a couple of steps back to move forward,” Irving said of the club’s 2013 season. “Everyone’s on the same page and looking forward to the season, but we know and we realize this is a difficult league, USL PRO, to play in, and anyone can beat anybody on any given day. It is a tough league, and very, very competitive.”

    That level of competition will be an important factor in helping quicken the development of the players Toronto FC sends to Wilmington. Another factor, and one which Nelsen welcomes, is the distance between the two cities. While there were some eyebrows raised when the partnership between the two clubs was announced, Nelsen believes his players will also benefit from being away from Toronto and getting the chance to learn alongside the seasoned veterans in the Hammerheads’ squad.

    “Sometimes, when you’re at other places - when you’re at home they get a lot of comforts, we give them a lot of comforts - and it’s good when they’re away and they see a bit of the real world as well, and experience life,” Nelsen said. “They have to grow as human beings, not just as footballers, and that’s really important for their character.”

    Nelsen added that he also hoped the players would help the Hammerheads put a winning product on the field. As the saying goes, winning is a habit, and it’s a feeling that Nelsen wants his players to get used to that feeling no matter whether they are wearing the red of Toronto or the blue of Wilmington.

    “I know they’ll get minutes, I know they’ll play, and I hope they’ll win for Wilmington because that’s important,” he said. “We can’t be selfish and think that it’s just on our side, we need to help Wilmington win games and hopefully get them to win the league.”

    All of which is music to the ears of Arnold, formerly the Operations Manager for USL PRO. One of the drivers behind the club’s revamped look on and off the field since his hiring by Altirs, Arnold is aiming to bring a new mentality to the club and build on what has been an established name in its local market.

    “I think it was time to re-ignite, re-energize what we were doing there,” Arnold said. “With the new ownership coming in we’re going to try and take things to the next level on everything we’re doing across the board, so the new logo, the new website, the affiliation with Toronto - there’s a lot of good things coming into the club right now.”

    With Arnold’s new colleague more than ready to get back into action, the Hammerheads could be set for a strong start to the club’s new era.

    “You have new expectations and you just want to get back at it,” Irving said. “I’m a soccer coach and it’s been a long offseason, so let’s get up and back in the saddle and let’s get working and looking forward to April 5 when we play Harrisburg at home.”


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    USL News Release

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

    TAMPA, Fla. – Jurgen Klinsmann named a 22-player squad to face Mexico at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Phoenix, Ariz. on Wednesday, April 2 with a number of PDL and Super Y-League alumni included on the roster.

    The PDL contingent is led by former Sounders FC U-23 standout DeAndre Yedlin, a 2012 PDL All-League selection prior to signing as a Homegrown Player with Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders FC. He is joined in the defensive group by his Sounders teammate Brad Evans, who made 13 appearances for the Orange County Blue Star before turning pro.

    Former Colorado Rapids Reserves center back Clarence Goodson, now of the San Jose Earthquakes, was also selected, as was Columbus Crew captain Michael Parkhurst, who made 10 appearances for IMG Academy Bradenton in 2003.

    Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson, formerly of the Atlanta Blackhawks, is joined by D.C. United’s Bill Hamid, who starred for his MLS club in the Super Y-League before becoming the Black and Red’s first Homegrown Player. Another Super Y-League ODP standout, Luis Gil of Real Salt Lake, was also selected, as was former Central Florida Kraze midfielder Graham Zusi of Sporting Kansas City.

    Kickoff for the international exhibition is set for 11:15 p.m. ET/8:15 p.m. PT, with tickets available by visiting ussoccer.com. The game can also be seen live on ESPN.


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    Harrisburg City Islanders News Release -- www.cityislanders.com

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

    HARRISBURG, Pa. -- The Philadelphia Union announced today that the club has loaned two players to the team's official USL PRO affiliate, the Harrisburg City Islanders, for the 2014 USL PRO season. Defender Richie Marquez and Pedro Ribeiro will join the City Islanders ahead of their USL PRO season-opening match on April 5 against the Wilmington Hammerheads. Philadelphia Union will have the option to recall any of the two players during the loan period.

    Ribeiro, 23, spent four years at Coastal Carolina, scoring 31 goals and notching 26 assists during his collegiate career. A product of Reading United A.C., the Union's PDL Affiliate club, the native Brazilian had a decorated career at Coastal Carolina, receiving NSCAA Second Team All-American honors (2013), Big South Attacking Player of the Year (2013) and First Team All-Big South (2013, 2012, 2011), among others.

    Marquez, 21, from the University of Redlands, he earned NSCAA All-American honors in his junior (2012) season and D3soccer.com All-American honors his senior (2013) season. Additionally, the defender was named to the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) First-Team in each of his four years at the University of Redlands. During his senior year, Marquez helped lead the Bulldogs to six shutouts and a 0.85 GAA en route to becoming the only SCIAC member to earn NSCAA All-American honors.

    Officially signed in March of 2010, the original partnership with Harrisburg provided the Union with an option to loan players to the Islanders for increased playing time, as well as scout up and coming talent, such as Union starting right back Sheanon Williams, who suited up for the City Islanders in 2010.

    Philadelphia Union and the Harrisburg City Islanders announced on March 6, 2013 that the clubs expanded their original partnership, allowing players to stay, practice and play vital games with their USL counterparts for an extended period of time. The Union no longer field a Reserve League team, instead incorporating reserve players into the City Islanders to help the team compete for a USL championship. 

    With the 2014 USL PRO season right around the corner, the Islanders are preparing for another competitive and exciting season in the USL PRO. The Isles will kick-off their 2014 campaign on April 5th against the Wilmington Hammerheads. The club's home opener is slated for April 19th against the Dayton Dutch Lions at the Skyline Sports Complex in Harrisburg. Season tickets and group packages are on sale now. To purchase tickets please visit our website at cityislanders.com or contact the office at 441-GOAL (4625).


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  • 03/28/14--13:15: Longtime Rivals Set To Clash
  • Charleston Battery News Release -- www.charlestonbattery.com

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

    CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The Charleston Battery (0-0-1) continue their USL PRO season on Saturday night with a 7:30 p.m. match against the Richmond Kickers (0-0-0) at Blackbaud Stadium. This is the Battery’s second game of the year; Charleston tied 1-1 against Orlando City in the season opener last Saturday night.

    Tickets for Saturday’s game ore on sale now starting at just $10 (discounted $8 for all military); to purchase tickets, for directions or for more information please visit www.charlestonbattery.com or call (843) 971-GOAL (4625). Saturday’s game will be broadcast on ESPN 910 AM and will also be streamed live via charlestonbattery.com.

    Forward Mamadou Diouf put the Battery ahead 1-0 against Orlando with a 65th-minute strike to record his first goal as a professional. Orlando responded with a 75th-minute equalizer through Austin da Luz to cancel the Battery’s advantage.

    Charleston defender Quinton Griffith received a red-card in stoppage-time and will be unavailable for the match versus Richmond as he serves a one-game suspension.

    Charleston Battery captain Colin Falvey returns to the squad this week; he missed the opening game of the season through suspension but is available for selection on Saturday night.

    Saturday’s game is Richmond’s first of the 2014 campaign. Last year the Kickers won the regular season title following an impressive season that saw them lose just one regular season match (08/10/13 vs. Charleston Battery). Richmond was eliminated from the post-season at the semifinal stage by the Charlotte Eagles.

    Formed the same year as the Battery in 1993, Richmond is one of Charleston’s oldest rivals.  The Battery’s first ever league match was against Richmond on May 1, 1993 in a game played at Stoney Field in downtown Charleston. The Battery won that match 2-1 behind goals from Mario Lone and Nigel James. Current Richmond head coach Leigh Cowlishaw scored the Richmond goal from the penalty-spot.

    The overall series between the teams is even. In the 48 games played the Battery have won 22, lost 22 while four games ending tied. Both teams were successful on their home turf in 2013,

    Over the years there have been several players that have played for both sides, the list includes: Andrew Dykstra, Mario Lone, Marco Feruzzi, Mike Burke, Scott Cannon, Mac Cozier, Kevin Scott, Greg Simmonds, Josh Henderson, Kelvin Jones, Luke Vercollone & Anthony Catalano.


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    Orlando City News Release -- www.orlandocitysoccer.com

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

    ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando City SC kicks off its final USL PRO home opener at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, as they welcome the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Saturday night. The match will kickoff at 7:30 p.m. ET, with all of the action also available live on YouTube.

    “We’re delighted to play in front of our fans this weekend and we’ll be looking to come out of the gate strong,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath on the home opener. “Pittsburgh is a good side and we know that we have a bigger target on our backs this year, but we’ll be up for it.”

    The WWOS complex will serve as a temporary one-year home for the Lions and has increased capacity to allow approximately 5,500 fans to attend City’s home matches this season.

    After starting the season on the road in South Carolina with a 1-1 draw against the Charleston Battery, the Lions will look for their first win of the season. Newly signed Midfielder Austin da Luz looked sharp in his debut with Orlando, recording the team’s first goal of the 2014 campaign.

    "The fans that made the trip to Charleston were unbelievable,” da Luz said ahead of Saturday’s matchup with Pittsburgh. “I can’t imagine what the home opener is going to be like. I think it’s going to be a great opportunity for us to get our first win.”

    Defender Rob Valentino should be ready to go for the home opener this weekend. Valentino and Rusin looked to be a formidable partnership during the Pro Soccer Classic, as the Lions only conceded two goals in the two games Valentino and Rusin played together.

    However, during the offseason Pittsburgh added even more attacking firepower to their core lineup and will provide a solid test for the City backline. After re-signing lethal striker Jose Angulo, who recorded 15 goals last season, the Riverhounds also added former Fulham and Chicago Fire Forward Collins John. Pittsburgh’s squad also includes three loanees from MLS affiliate Houston Dynamo.

    During the 2013 season the Lions went 1-1-1 against the Riverhounds, but defeated them in the USL PRO quarterfinals en route to City’s second USL PRO Championship.


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    LA Galaxy II News Release -- www.lagalaxy.com

    Friday, March 28, 2014

    CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy II will host Sacramento Republic FC at the StubHub Center Track and Field Stadium on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. PT as the visitors from Northern California make their debut appearance in USL PRO. The match will be shown live on lagalaxy.com with play-by-play commentary from LA Galaxy broadcast veteran Joe Tutino. 

    Saturday’s match will mark the first time the Galaxy II will play the Republic, who will be kicking off their inaugural USL PRO season on the road against LA. The two clubs are scheduled to play each other four times during the USL PRO regular season, with the Galaxy II set to visit Sacramento for the first time on May 17.

    The Galaxy II defeated the Orange County Blues in their inaugural match at the StubHub Center Track and Field Stadium as midfielder and USL PRO Player of the Week Kenney Walker scored a goal and recorded an assist to propel the team to a 3-1 victory. Galaxy II forward Charlie Rugg and defender Daniel Steres also found the back of the net in the team’s inaugural victory. Both players joined Walker on the USL PRO Team of the Week for Week 1 of the 2014 season.

    Sacramento, which has been busy fine-tuning its roster over the last several weeks, features a number of familiar faces. Among them is forward Justin Braun, formerly of Chivas USA, and Jake Gleeson, who is on loan from the Portland Timbers.

    Perhaps the one member of the team certain to stir fond memories in these parts is Sacramento coach Pedrag Radosavljevic, otherwise known as Preki. The U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame member was Major League Soccer Coach of the Year in 2007, when he coached Chivas USA to first place in the Western Conference, and figures to bring his combative playing style to Sacramento, which just broke ground on an 8,000-seat stadium that will be constructed at Cal Expo inside the state fairgrounds.

    Galaxy II Head Coach Curt Onalfo can expect a physical, hard-nosed opponent.

    “Preki’s a really good coach,” Onalfo said. “They’re going to be well-organized and they’re going to look to play.

    “I think it’s going to certainly be a tough challenge.”

    Galaxy II forward Charlie Rugg said he expects Sacramento to offer quality competition.

    “From what I hear, they’re going to be a good team, a lot better than what we’ve seen so far,” Rugg said. “I think we’re all aware of that and prepared. We’re going to play our game and try not to be too concerned with them. I think if we focus on our game we’ll be okay.”

    Onalfo said he was generally pleased with his team in its debut last weekend. Now it’s just a matter of moving it ahead.

    “From a performance standpoint I was pleased with a lot of aspects with how we played,” he said. “Getting that first game under our belt was important.

    “We wanted to win, but it’s still all about moving these guys forward and progressing them in their careers. We’ve had a good week of training and it’s only going to get better.

    “We know we’re going to have a very difficult opponent in Sacramento on Saturday, and it’s just a matter of getting the guys acclimated and ready for a tough challenge.”

    Tune in to watch all the action live on lagalaxy.com and youtube.com/lagalaxy.

    Throughout the 2014 USL PRO season, live games and on-demand content will be available for free on each team’s YouTube channel, with archived games available shortly after each game’s completion.

    LA Galaxy II Season Ticket Memberships begin at just $6 per game. For more information on LA Galaxy, LA Galaxy II memberships, or group and single tickets, visit www.lagalaxy.com or call 877-3GALAXY (342-5299).


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    USL News Release

    Friday, March 28, 2014

    TAMPA, Fla. – United Soccer Leagues is pleased to announce Ruffneck Scarves as the Official Scarf Supplier of USL. The multi-year agreement between the Seattle, Washington-based company and USL provides USL and its teams the opportunity to work with a nationally recognized scarf manufacturer that specializes in custom scarf production targeted at enhancing game day atmosphere, providing fans a way to display their support for a club and providing teams with a formal way to continue the extensions of their brands.

    “Our partnership with Ruffneck Scarves will help provide all of our teams with a valuable opportunity to enhance their brand awareness and fan engagement,” USL President Tim Holt said. “Ruffneck Scarves has become an industry leader by producing a quality product and catering to the needs of passionate soccer fans, and USL looks forward to helping grow that passion.”

    Founded by Jeff McIntyre and Erin O’Brien in 2007, Ruffneck’s story began by working with supporters groups and focusing on the soccer fanatic lifestyle. Since the company’s inception, Ruffneck has remained focused on its mission to be recognized as the best soccer scarf company in the world and continues to display the passion fans have for the beautiful game while offering outstanding customer service.

    In addition to Ruffneck’s work with Major League Soccer, the company has recently produced custom scarves for world-renowned clubs such as Manchester United, FC Barcelona and Juventus.

    "We are excited to work with USL, its member clubs and fans to continue to grow the passion and support for soccer in North America," Ruffneck Scarves President Jeff McIntyre said. “We recognize that USL has been at the forefront of grassroots soccer for many years. Ruffneck is proud to partner with USL leagues that consistently bring a professional standard of soccer to local communities everywhere. Our commitment will include exclusive offers to all USL member clubs and supporters groups."

    As the official scarf provider of USL, Ruffneck will continue the development of the soccer fanatic lifestyle throughout North America. From supporters groups to merchandising and fundraising, Ruffneck specializes in soccer at all levels, which fits the USL mold.


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    Arizona United SC News Release -- www.arizonaunited.com

    Friday, March 28, 2014

    PEORIA, Ariz. – Arizona’s only professional soccer team, Arizona United SC, announced today the hiring of Michael Dellorusso as its head coach. Dellorusso, 30, has spent the past four years as the top assistant for the Terrapins, helping guide the team to unprecedented success as one of college soccer’s top programs. During his tenure, Maryland made four straight Sweet Sixteen appearances and went to two College Cup Final Fours. In the 2013 season, the Terrapins lost to Notre Dame in the NCAA Championship Game.

    A native of Columbia, Md., Dellorusso played collegiately at Maryland, and served as team captain during his junior and senior seasons. During his senior campaign in 2005, Dellorusso guided the Terrapins to their first national championship since 1968.

    “My wife, Hilary, and I are very excited about the opportunity to join Arizona United SC,” said Dellorusso. “We look forward to being apart of the Arizona community and building a great soccer tradition for the future.”

    After a successful collegiate career, Dellorusso played for FC Dallas of Major League Soccer, where he spent three-and-a-half seasons with the club. He also played professionally for the Austin Aztex of USL PRO and the Baltimore Blast of the MISL in 2009.

    “Michael Dellorusso represents the bright future of soccer in Arizona,” said Kyle Eng, Arizona United SC’s owner. “He will bring a winning tradition to the Valley and we look forward to his close interaction with our fans and putting a great product on the field.”

    Dellorusso earned his bachelor's degree in American Studies from the University of Maryland. For more information about Arizona United Soccer Club, visit ArizonaUnited.com. Supporters can also “Like” the team on Facebook at Facebook.com/ArizonaUnitedSoccer or follow them on Twitter @AZUnitedSC.


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    USL PRO Game Report

    Saturday, March 29, 2014

    CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The Charleston Battery and Richmond Kickers played to a 2-2 draw on Saturday night at Blackbaud Stadium in front of 3,254 fans. Midfielder Jarad van Schaik led the way for the Battery, scoring in the 22nd minute and assisting Amadou Sanyang’s goal in the 58th minute, but the Kickers were able to claim a point as 2013 All-League selection George Davis IV scored twice on his debut for Richmond.

    “Obviously we were disappointed to give up the early goal but we got a great goal from Jarad van Schaik,” said head coach Mike Anhaeuser. “In the second half, we came out a little better and went up 2-1, but they were able to whip in a good cross. After that, it was an even game. Richmond is a good team and we need to work these teams a little better.”

    Richmond netted the first goal of the game just short of the quarter-hour mark into the match. Davis IV scored after being played in behind the Battery defense by D.C. United loanee Collin Martin, who set up the goal with a swift run down the right side before slotting a leading pass that Davis collected just before entering the penalty area. After his first touch, Davis dribbled in and sent his shot past Battery goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper into the back of the net.

    Charleston nearly equalized in the 19th minute when midfielder Zach Prince sent a shot just wide of goal. Prince gathered the ball on the left side before he passed to van Schaik, who returned the ball with a nifty back heel pass that Prince shot wide.

    Minutes later, Charleston was able to tie the game in the 22nd minute on a header from van Schaik. Midfielder Andre Lewis found space on the left side, and was able to pick out van Schaik with a perfect cross that allowed the midfielder to flick the ball past Richmond goalkeeper Joe Willis.

    The Battery went up 2-1 in the 58th minute after substitute forward Adam Mena drew a free kick just outside of the penalty area only two minutes after he entered the game. Van Schaik stepped up to take the free kick and played a cross into the box which was met by Amadou Sanyang, who jumped and was able to put his head on the ball and into the back of the net.

    Richmond responded quickly when Martin and Davis IV connected again to make it 2-2 in the 67th minute. After Charleston failed to clear a corner, the ball was sent out to Martin on the right, and he sent a cross into the near post where Davis put the ball safely into the back of the net.

    The Battery will next face Orlando City at Disney Wide World of Sports Stadium in Orlando, Florida on Saturday, April 12 at 7:30 p.m. ET. Richmond, meanwhile, returns home to host the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in its home opener at City Stadium on Saturday, April 5 at 5 p.m. ET.

    Tickets are available starting at $10, to purchase tickets or for more information please call 843-971-GOAL (4625) or visit www.charlestonbattery.com.


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    USL PRO Game Report

    Saturday, March 29, 2014

    CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy II left it late, but earned a point in a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Sacramento Republic FC at StubHub Center’s Track and Field Stadium on Saturday evening. Former MLS forward Justin Braun tallied for the Northern California side in their inaugural USL PRO match, but Galaxy first-team loanee Chandler Hoffman equalized for the home side in the 81st minute to give Los Dos their fourth point of the 2014 USL PRO regular season campaign.

    The Galaxy II dominated the early run of play as they peppered Sacramento goalkeeper Jake Gleeson’s net but the ‘keeper was up to the task, making five saves in the opening stanza. The finest stop came in the 16th minute when the on-loan Portland Timber pushed away a breakaway chance from Galaxy II forward Jack McBean.

    In the 33rd minute, the visitors capitalized on a poor clearance by the LA back line as Braun nodded a shot past an out of position Brian Rowe for the first-ever goal in Republic FC history.  The goal was also the first time that the Galaxy’s USL PRO affiliate had fallen behind in a match. The Galaxy nearly leveled just moments later but Gleeson saved captain Rafael Garcia’s chance from 18 yards out.

    Down a goal in the second half, Galaxy II head coach Curt Onalfo threw on Hoffman for added offensive punch, but Los Dos struggled to break through the compact Sacramento side managed by former MLS head coach Preki. As the half wore on, the match grew choppier with four cards being issued all together.

    In the 81st minute, Galaxy Homegrown Player Raul Mendiola shook past several Sacramento defenders in the midfield to set up a chance for Hoffman who coolly placed a shot past Gleeson in the bottom corner of the Republic net.

    LA nearly went ahead in stoppage as Jack McBean earned a dangerous free kick near the corner flag, but Kenney Walker’s delivery couldn’t find a teammate and the match finished 1-1.

    The LA Galaxy II return to action next weekend when they host yet another first-year club in Oklahoma City Energy FC on Monday, April 7 at the StubHub Center Track and Field Stadium. Republic FC returns to action earlier on April 7 as it visits the Chivas USA Reserves for an 11 a.m. PT kickoff at the same venue.


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  • 03/29/14--23:15: Lions, Riverhounds End Even
  • USL PRO Game Report

    Saturday, March 29, 2014

    KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Orlando City and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds played to a 1-1 draw at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on Saturday night. Orlando defender Luke Boden provided the equalizer in the 58th minute to answer Jose Angulo's opener for the Riverhounds as City drew its second consecutive match in the early stages of their final USL PRO campaign.

    “I have a lot of confidence in this group, despite the result,” said Orlando coach Adrian Heath. “We scored a lot of goals in the past three years and I guarantee that we’ll score more goals this year.”

    In their first home game at ESPN WWOS, Orlando began in typical fashion, controlling the pace of the game in the early stages. The Lions entertained large amounts of possession in midfield and the final third, but were also equally impressive in defense, allowing Pittsburgh very little time on the ball.

    City’s cohesive high-pressure defending forced the Riverhounds to employ route one tactics and knock the ball long, rather than allowing them any threatening build-up play through the middle of the park.

    On the other hand, Orlando’s midfielders were in complete control in the first 45, leading to several quality opportunities for the hosts. Orlando’s first MLS signee, Kevin Molino, provided the first chance for the Lions when he curled a dangerous effort that went just past the post.

    Following Molino’s effort, Corey Hertzog also added two close chances that kept visiting goalkeeper Hunter Gilstrap on his toes. Both fullbacks, Boden and Tyler Turner, also got involved in the attack and provided multiple crosses to the near-post for Hertzog from deep inside Pittsburgh’s half.

    Luckily for Gilstrap, the Riverhounds’ defense did well to make several last minute clearances and prevent Hertzog from earning his first goal in purple and white.

    On the other end, Pittsburgh’s few chances came primarily from set pieces as Orlando’s organized defending made it difficult for them to gain a real grip on the match. The visiting’s side’s best chance of the half came when Angulo almost nodded home a chance in the 27th minute, but saw it skip off the crossbar.

    Orlando center backs Rob Valentino and Brad Rusin managed Angulo quite capably in the first period, but the poaching striker, who scored a league-high 15 goals last season, was able to break through in the second half. In the 48th minute, Angulo was able to steal possession from Valentino and he then skipped past Gallardo and finished to put the visitors up 1-0.

    Nevertheless, City would continue to have the better of the run of play and would fight back to level the score-line. After progressing their way down the pitch, Orlando earned a corner in the 58th minute, which led to a cracking finish from Boden. Gilstrap was able to punch away Molino’s initial cross, but the former Sheffield Wednesday defender was left all alone inside the area and controlled the ball well before volleying a powerful strike into the top-corner.

    Adding to Pittsburgh’s woes, Gilstrap was also injured during the set-piece and reserve goalkeeper Greg Blum was brought in for relief, giving City more of a reason to fire away at the target. In light of the Lions’ equalizer, Pittsburgh began to show a bit of attacking life but Orlando regained their first-half form and re-took control of the game.

    In the 83rd minute, Dennis Chin came close to providing the second goal for City, but his header went just wide of the post. With time ticking away, the Lions’ chances of gaining three points were beginning to look slim until the fourth official announced seven minutes of stoppage time.

    As Pittsburgh bunkered in, Orlando continued pushing forward with multiple attacking players but key saves by Blum maintained a 1-1 score through 90 minutes. The draw against Pittsburgh marks the second consecutive match in which the Lions have conceded first before battling back to earn a point.

    Orlando City will continue their home stretch, when they take on the Rochester Rhinos at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 5, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The Riverhounds remain on the road, as they visit the Richmond Kickers at 5 p.m. ET on Saturday, April5 at City Stadium. 


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    USL PRO Game Report

    Sunday, March 30, 2014

    HARRISON, N.J. – Eric Stevenson had a goal and assist as the New York Red Bulls Reserves took a 3-0 victory against the Dayton Dutch Lions on Sunday evening in the first interleague contest between teams from the MLS Reserve League and USL PRO this season. All three goals for the Red Bulls came in the second half, as Michael Bustamante, pictured, and Matt Miazga also found the back of the net for the hosts.

    The first half was played evenly, and the Dutch Lions came out with positive energy in their first game of the season. Dayton looked to stretch the field in possession as it tried to put on loan Columbus Crew forward Ryan Finley and fellow strikers Eli Garner and Cameron Vickers in dangerous positions, but the Dutch Lions were unable to force a serious save from Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara.

    The Red Bulls, meanwhile, were able to create opportunities, and Dayton goalkeeper Matt Williams came up big in the 25th minute as he made saves from Bustamante and Stevenson to keep the game scoreless. New York forward Marius Obekop also had a good chance late in the half, but pulled his shot wide of the left post after getting in behind the Dutch Lions’ defense.

    New York would take the lead six minutes into the second half, however, as a corner kick came to Bustamante, who scored from close range for a 1-0 lead. Ten minutes later the Red Bulls would double their advantage as a good move that began on the left side came across the field to find Stevenson in space on the right, and the midfielder drove home an emphatic finish. The goal was the former Sounders FC U-23s player’s first in Red Bulls uniform.

    Stevenson would then provide the service for Miazga’s from another corner in the 66th minute, as the Homegrown center back rose and powered home a header off the underside of the crossbar and in. Dayton would have some bright moments in the final 20 minutes, particularly after the introduction of Matt Walker, but the Dutch Lions were unable to find a way back into the game as the Red Bulls held on to complete the shutout.

    Dayton remains on the road in its next contest as it visits the Charlotte Eagles on Friday night at 7 p.m. ET at the Queens Sports Complex.


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    Michigan Bucks News Release -- www.buckssoccer.com

    Monday, March 31, 2014

    PONTIAC, Mich. -- The Michigan Bucks are hosting their final event this spring before the team kicks off its 19th PDL season, when six top men's and women's college teams converge on Ultimate Soccer Arenas in Pontiac this Saturday in a triple header of soccer action. Opening the day's events, Oakland University takes on Northwestern in men's action beginning with a 1:30 p.m. kickoff. The second game features the Michigan Wolverines taking on the Michigan State Spartans (men) at 3:45 p.m. The final event pits the Lady Spartans of Michigan State against the Oakland University Lady Grizzlies at 6 p.m.

    Tickets for all three games are one price, $12 Adults and $9 Youth (16 and under) at the door. Children 5 and under always get in free to Bucks events. Special pre-sale tickets can be purchased on line until midnight on Friday for only $8 at  www.buckssoccer.com. College students presenting a valid student ID at the door get in for only $6. 

    All six teams are very familiar with one another, as they all played this past fall season. Oakland visited Northwestern last August and came away with a well deserved 0-0 draw against the Big Ten powerhouse. The Wolverines will be looking for revenge for the 2-0 loss to the Spartans in East Lansing in last November's regular season finale. The Lady Grizzlies tied the Lady Spartans 1-1 in East Lansing in September and will be looking for a win as the host team at Ultimate Soccer Arenas.

    Fans will be able to see several of this year's Bucks players in their final action of the spring before joining the team on May 1. While the final Bucks roster is yet to be determined, there will be several players from Oakland, Michigan and Michigan State playing an important role in the team's quest for another national title. The Bucks will open with a Round One US Open Cup game on Wednesday, May 14th (opponent and venue to be determined by US Soccer) and then begin the PDL regular season by hosting the Chicago Fire on Saturday, May 17 at Ultimate Soccer Arenas (7:30 p.m. kick off). 

    Bucks season tickets, flex passes and discounted pre sale individual game tickets are currently available on the Bucks web site. Season tickets and flex passes are available for 50% discount online through the College Triple Header event on Saturday and will be available at the event as well.


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    Victoria Highlanders News Release -- www.victoriahighlandersfc.com

    Monday, March 31, 2014

    VICTORIA – Victoria Highlanders FC are proud to announce the signing of All-Star midfielder Cam Hundal (Terrace, B.C.) for the 2014 Premier Development League season. Hundal recently completed his third year of eligibility with the University of Victoria Vikes, finishing in a tie as the teams leading goal scorer.
     
    Hundal has been named a Canada West All-Star in each of his first three collegiate years and was named Canada West Rookie of the Year in 2011. Following UVic’s CIS national championship win in 2011, he was named both a CIS Tournament MVP and CIS Tournament All-Star. In his most recent campaign, the Terrace native posted 13 points (11 goals, 2 assists) in 14 regular season games.
     
    “Obviously since the Vikes won nationals in 2011 Cam has been a popular figure in this town and we know his talent and that he’s a good quality player,” said Highlanders head coach Steve Simonson. “He’s caused us grief as a Whitecap. He can run, dribble, set-up and score goals. He’s a player I’ve had my eye on for a couple of years.”
     
    Hundal joins the Highlanders after several years as a member of the Vancouver Whitecaps prospect and U-23 programs. During the 2013 PDL season, he posted four goals and four assists in 14 games.
     
    “I love to embrace new challenges,” explained Hundal. “I believe it is an essential part of growing as a player. Changing the environment I play in will enable me to learn, improve and hopefully open up some new doors in the future. The Highlanders are a great organization, and they proved it last year. I think one of the reasons this team is so successful is because all members of the organization have the same intended goal - to win a PDL Championship.”
     
    Hundal joins seven teammates from his university squad that include Craig Gorman, Andrew Ravenhill and Gavin Barrett. He also pairs up with teammate Cameron Stokes who, along with Hundal led the Vikes in goals scored in 2013 with 11.
     
    “Playing with UVic over the past few years has enabled me to become familiar with the players, staff, fans, and city so the transition won't be difficult,” said Hundal. “It's always fun to play with players that you know so well, but it's also very beneficial as we know each other's tendencies. It helps to build chemistry within the team, which is extremely useful in a league where the season is so short.”
     
    Hundal and the Highlanders kick-off their 2014 PDL campaign, May 4 at Royal Athletic Park. For tickets and more information, please visit www.victoriahighlandersfc.com.


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