NASL News: RailHawks Officially Announce Signing of Colin Clarke; Lancaster Leaves Strikers for Silverbacks; Scorpions Readying for 1st Season
NASL clubs continue to be active during the off-season preparing for the 2012 season. Carolina officially announced the signing of Colin Clarke to pilot the club in 2012, while Atlanta added a veteran defender for next season and San Antonio are busy not only holding tryouts but marketing the club.
Colin Clarke Announced as RailHawks Coach
As IMSoccer News reported last week, former Puerto Rico Islanders coach Colin Clarke has been named the new coach of the Carolina RailHawks, the club announced today. Clarke, 49, will be reunited with current RailHawks president Curt Johnson, who as Richmond Kickers General Manager, hired Clarke for his first head coaching position in 1998. Before being hired by the Islanders in 2007, the former Northern Ireland international had coached the Dallas Burn/FC Dallas and the Puerto Rican national team, along with shorter stints with the San Diego Flash and Virginia Beach Mariners.
The RailHawks coaching position was vacant due to the hiring of Martin Rennie by the MLS Vancouver Whitecaps. Rennie had a great deal of success in Carolina, as has Clarke with the Islanders, and the RailHawks have replaced one very successful coach with another.
“Coming to Carolina is a very exciting opportunity for me and my family,” said Clarke. “I am very thankful for my time in Puerto Rico and everyone I was able to work with. This is a new challenge and I’m ready to get on the field. This organization has a good history and background and now it’s time to win a championship.”
Johnson is pleased to be bringing in a head coach with such a strong background of success. “Colin brings the experience and expertise needed to help our organization to higher levels on and off the field,” said Johnson. “We are thrilled to welcome him to the organization and know he and his family will be an integral part of this community for many years to come.”
Atlanta Silverbacks Sign Lancaster
The Atlanta Silverbacks have made a recent move to strengthen their NASL-worst defense from last season, signing former Fort Lauderdale Strikers defender Martyn Lancaster for the upcoming season. The 31-year-old Englishman will bring a veteran presence to an Atlanta backline that averaged only 23 years of age last season. This will be Lancaster’s second tour of duty with the Silverbacks — he played 44 matches for the club in 2007 and 2008.
Lancaster was second in the NASL in minutes played last season for a Strikers side that went to the league’s 2011 Championship playoff finals before succumbing to the NSC Minnesota Stars. He was voted by Strikers fans as the team’s Player of the Year for his efforts. Lancaster has also played with clubs such as Queen of the South in Scotland, Chester City in England and the Wilmington Hammerheads of the USL.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to bring in Martyn, who just finished a season as one of the key leaders on a team that went to the NASL championship game,” said Silverbacks Director of Soccer Rodrigo Rios. “He is reliable and has good abilities, and I think he will help improve our defense tremendously.”
In addition to signing the 6’1″ defender, the Silverbacks held their first pro combine over the weekend of December 3-4. The club also announced that it had declined to pick up the option for the services of 2011 defender Josh Casarona.
San Antonio Scorpions Tryouts
The NASL expansion Scorpions held a tryout at the STAR Soccer complex in early November that drew over 140 participants. Coach Tom Hankinson felt the tryout was a success. “Players were reviewed by myself and the coaching staff which helped to identify the players that showed the most potential,” Hankinson said. “The event produced a few players who will be brought to the invitation-only trial. We also identified alternates to keep in mind for future opportunities.”
The Scorpions held their East Coast tryouts in Maryland over the weekend and will have a tryout on December 15-16 at the STAR complex for players between the ages of 19-22. Hankinson said, “There is the 19-22 age group which will attract college and non-college players. This is an important group for the team.” The team will follow up with an invitation-only tryout December 17-18.
Additionally, the Scorpions have been marketing their club around San Antonio by using billboards. Check out the club’s Facebook page for a look at some of the billboards springing up around town.