This week the Atlanta Silverbacks signed a former Colorado Rapids midfielder, while the Puerto Rico Islanders re-signed their captain and brought in two young offensive talents. FC Edmonton brought in another goalkeeper with professional experience and an international from Trinidad & Tobago. And, as was posted here earlier this week, the NSC Minnesota Stars brought their roster up to 23 players, re-signing 2010 Stars Andrei Gotsmanov, Neil Hlavaty and Brian Kallman, and adding 4 new players: Tino Nunez, Jeff Cosgriff, Cristiano Dias and Andy Lorei.
The Silverbacks announced the signing of American midfielder Ciaran O’ Brien, 23. The native of Washington state was a Generation Adidas player drafted by the Colorado Rapids in the 2008 MLS Superdraft out of the University of California-Santa Clara. The former Gaucho played only one game for the Rapids, but gained experienced on loan to D2 teams the Montreal Impact, Seattle Sounders and Austin Aztex during 2008 and 2009. O’Brien was a member of Irish club Sporting Fingal during 2010.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity to come to Atlanta and play for the Silverbacks,” O’Brien said. “It’s a great city, and I can’t wait to get out on the field with my new teammates.”
Coach Harry Sinkgraven and the Edmonton team have added two more pieces to the puzzle for 2011: goalkeeper Lance Parker and Conrad Smith, an international from Trinidad & Tobago. Oklahoma City native Parker, 25, played college ball at Missouri State in Springfield, and spent summers with PDL teams DFW Tornadoes in 2006 and the Colorado Rapids U-23 in 2007. The 6’4″ ‘keeper spent the 2008 and 2009 seasons with Chivas USA, seeing action in 4 contests, and was with Miami FC last season.
Conrad Smith, 29, is an attacking midfielder who has played 24 international matches for the Soca Warriors. Born in Port-of-Spain, Smith has played for Joe Public, San Juan Jabloteh, and Caledonia AIA in the Trinidad & Tobago Pro League and for the Toronto Lynx and Calgary Mustangs.
NSC Minnesota Stars
Coach Manny Lagos had a busy week signing players. The roster is now at 23 with more signings expected this week. Andrei Gotsmanov, Neil Hlavaty and Brian Kallman all signed on for anther year with the Stars while veteran players Tino Nunez, Jeff Cosgriff, Cristiano Dias and Andy Lorei all sign contracts with the Stars.
The big news out of the Stars camp on Friday morning is that U.S. U-20 international Soony Saad is training with the team. Saad left the University of Michigan Wolverines to go pro after the 2010 season. He was named the National Gatorade Player of the Year in high school and the Big Ten Freshman of the Year after scoring 19 goals in his first season with the team. He has had one call up to the U-20 national team where he scored a goal against Canada. The Detroit, Michigan native is still on trial with the team.
Puerto Rico Islanders
The Islanders have announced the signings of Irishman Steven Beattie, Puerto Rican national Tyler Wilson, and have re-signed captain Noah Delgado. The former University of North Kentucky star was drafted by Toronto FC in this year’s Supplemental Draft after he scored 77 goals in his college career and led UNK to the NCAA Division II National Championship last fall. The 22-year-old forward was twice named Division II National Player of the Year, and will help the Islanders as they prepare not only for the opening of the NASL on April 9 but as they look to defend their 2010 Caribbean Football Union Championship when they open this season’s CFU competition on April 13 against Suriname club Walking Boyz. Beattie can also look forward to CONCACAF Champions League action later this summer.
“We are all very excited in acquiring the signature of Beattie. Again he came to us with good contacts through Colin Clarke and having spoken to Steven he is very excited and realizes the challenge that is ahead to work his way into our team,” said Islanders assistant coach Adrian Whitbread.
Wilson, 21, played at University of California-Riverside, where he was team captain his final season. The 5’10″ midfielder has also represented Puerto Rico internationally, having gotten 5 senior caps already. After playing for the Puerto Rican U-21 squad, he made his debut for the senior squad this past fall in the 2010 Digicel Caribbean Cup. Islanders’ Coach Colin Clarke is familiar with Wilson, as Clarke also coaches the national team.
“Signing with the Islanders is a dream come true. The coaching staff, as well as the players, are all committed to being the best club around and I look forward to contributing my dedication to the team as well as my skills,” expressed Tyler Wilson.
Delgado, 31, is a native of California who attended Fresno State. The midfielder has been with the Islanders since 2005 and has been in over 140 matches for Puerto Rico. He was appointed captain in 2009 after previously serving as co-captain, and also has 5 appearances for the Puerto Rican National Team. Before joining the Islanders, Delgado played for the Syracuse Salty Dogs and the Rochester Rhinos.
“I am very happy to be back with the Islanders. We have a very good core of players returning with some good new talent. We have a lot of goals this year with the NASL, CFU and CONCACAF Champions League. I am looking forward to another successful year for the islanders,” said Delgado.
In other league news, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers played an exhibition match Wednesday against tennis stars in the Hope for Japan Charity Soccer Match. The Strikers played a team of tennis players led by superstars Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic. The funds raised will go directly to the Red Cross in aid for the stricken country of Japan.
The event drew lots of local media and the event was well attended by many hoping to support the cause.
“Tonight was fantastic and we appreciate the support of the community and especially the tennis professionals and their representatives who graciously gave their time for the cause. We hope this event raised not only money but also awareness of the plight of the victims in Japan in order to spur others to support relief efforts,” said Strikers President Tim Robbie.
The Carolina RailHawks announced that they will hold their annual “Meet the Team” party on the evening of Tuesday, March 29 at the Brickhouse Pub in Raleigh. The evening will conclude with a viewing of the USMNT’s match against Paraguay.
“The excitement is building as the team prepares for our home opener on April 9th,” said RailHawks President Curt Johnson. “Our players and staff are looking forward to spending time with RailHawks fans at the Meet the Team party. It will be a fun event for all.”