NASL team news is now coming out of each of the 8 camps fast and furious. Gerry Whittmann, IMS go-to man for team news is unavailable this week so I’ve decided to try to give you a duNord Futbol-like midweek update. Here goes…
The Silverbacks made a promise on February 15th to have 900 meetings in 90 days. It was a new business development initiative on Wednesday, committing to “900 meetings over the next 90 days” to kick off their second season as a member of the NASL. The concept was the more you reach out to the community the more that same community will support the team.
In the process they started a “Think Community” campaign and an “Owner’s Challenge.” That challenge was made by Silverbacks owner Boris Jerkunica who is giving local organizations and soccer teams an opportunity to play against Jerkunica and his staff. Each Owner’s Challenge game is followed by a social hour at Atlanta Silverbacks Park, which is hosted by the organization as a way to get to know members of the local community better. Those games have already started and the first one also included head coach Alex Pineda Chacón.
The Silverbacks also announced the signing of Honduran midfielder Danilo Turcios. The 33-year-old attacking midfielder comes to the Silverbacks from Honduran giants C.D. Olimpia. Turcios is expected to join the team in early March.
The team also announced the Georgia Lottery VIP Players Club. The club box area will offer Silverbacks season ticket holders an added perk on gamedays.
The RailHawks opened camp on Monday but had to spend their first sessions indoors as Cary was blanketed by snow on Sunday evening.
The team will play their first preseason game on Saturday against Campbell University. Carolina is in an excellent location in that many top division 1 college soccer programs are within driving distance. So it was no surprise when the team announced their official preseason schedule on Wednesday that the team will scrimmage 6 college teams. The RailHawks will also be scrimmaging the MLS Vancouver Whitecaps and three USL PRO teams: Charlotte Eagles, Charleston Battery and Wilmington Hammerheads.
After being sent home for not passing a physical and then finally passing that physical, Chilean forward Yashir Pinto has finally signed his name to an FC Edmonton contract and has joined the team in preseason training. Friend to IMS and color commentator for FC Edmonton, Steven Sandor with the story. Here is the team’s press release.
Sandor also has a story saying that FC Edmonton will once again be delaying the announcement of where it will play its home games in the 2012 season. As reported at IMS earlier, the team has said they had a deadline set by the NASL to finally announce their home venue for the 2012 season by February 15th. According to a spokesperson for the team that deadline was made. It was also believed the team has planned on announcing to the public in early March that they would play on a field near Commonwealth Stadium that is part of the complex. But now the team has confirmed that announcement will be delayed and Sandor says Edmonton may be looking at a baseball field who is looking for a new tenant. The minor-league Edmonton Capitals announced that they would not compete this season. They had been playing at Telus Field, which seats 9,000-10,000 and sits near the river and right in downtown Edmonton. Check out Sandor’s story.
Fort Lauderdale Strikers
The Strikers also opened camp on Monday with 17 players currently under contract for the 2012 season. Included in the players in camp was talented 20-year-old Pat Otte who missed most of last season with a torn ACL.
Minnesota Stars FC
The Stars opened their combine on Tuesday at the National Sports Center field house. The Stars with a video report.
The team will be the last NASL team to start preseason training when all players report on March 5th, just one month and two days before the league opener. The Stars FC had been excited to have their first-ever out of state combine to be held in Arizona but lack of interested attendees most likely because of lack of publicity and announcing the event too late caused the team to have to cancel the event.
The Stars also announced their preseason schedule which looks to be one of the stronger ones they’ve had since the Thunder traveled south to train in 2008.
Puerto Rico Islanders
The Islanders announced they will once again be participating in Soccer 101, an outreach program to schools in Bayamon.
Tampa Bay Rowdies
The Rowdies, who will open camp this coming week, announced on Tuesday they had inked Mike Ambersley to a new 3-year contract. The forward was the team’s leading goal scorer with 11 last year and was tied for third place in goals scored in the NASL.
The team also announced they have signed forward/midfielder Fabrice Picault to a two-year contract, with a club option for the 2013 season. Picault was the talk of the NASL combine that took place in Fort Lauderdale two weeks ago. He is a former member of the United States U-20 Men’s National Team and spent the last four seasons of his young professional career playing for Cagliari Calcio in Italy’s Primavera division.
The Rowdies also announced a rescheduling of their game against Minnesota on Saturday, May 26, to Friday, May 25. The move was made to resolve the conflict with the U.S. Men’s National team that was playing on the 26th in Jacksonville, Fla. against Scotland.
San Antonio Scorpions
The Scorpions will play their first-ever game this Friday against the U.S. U-23 Men’s National Team in a scrimmage at FC Dallas Stadium Complex Field #4. Scorpions president Michael Hitchcock is so excited about the game that not only is he inviting team fans to come to a tailgate before the game but he’s inviting supporters to his house after the game. Yes, you read that correctly. Hitchcock lives in Frisco from his days as GM of FC Dallas. If you want to participate in the post game just fill out this form.
The Scorpions have also rolled out a new-look website and have been posting most days about the team’s first week of practice.