The second week of the USL PRO 2011 season features four former USL-2 rivals in Saturday’s action as the Pittsburgh Riverhounds travel to Richmond to battle the Kickers, while the Charlotte Eagles and Charleston Battery fight for North Carolina-South Carolina bragging rights, and the expansion club FC New York travel south to Orlando to take on Adrian Heath’s Orlando City SC Lions. In the past week, the Harrisburg City Islanders, FC New York, Wilmington Hammerheads, Dayton Dutch Lions, LA Blues and the Antigua Barracuda FC have all announced player signings, and Orlando City announced that they will play host to a popular EPL side in a friendly match this summer.
Harrisburg City Islanders
The City Islanders have signed young veteran defender Stephen Basso, along with Jason Hotchkin, Brian Ombiji, and rookies Morgan Langley, Phil Tuttle and Jason Herrick. Basso, only 23, is a Costa Rican-born American who turned pro in Germany instead of going to college. Basso signed with lower division club PSV Blau Gelb in 2003, returning to the U.S. to join the DC United youth academy. From there he signed with SV Darmstadt 98 in 2007 and played for their reserve side. The 6-foot defender joined the Real Maryland Monarchs in 2008 and spent the last two seasons with Crystal Palace Baltimore, totaling over 40 professional appearances for the Maryland clubs.
Jason Hotchkin, 32, returns to Harrisburg after playing 18 matches for the club in 2010, scoring 5 goals. The 6’0″ attacker has been with clubs TUS Koblenz in Germany, IK Brage in Sweden, and the Wilmington Hammerheads and Cleveland City Stars in the U.S., along with playing professionally indoors in the MISL. Brian Ombiji is a 28-year-old Kenyan midfielder who’s made 40 appearances for Harrisburg since 2007.
Morgan Langley comes to the City Islanders after a career at Swarthmore College that saw him earn Centennial Conference Player of the Year honors after scoring 14 goals and adding 14 assists. Phil Tuttle is a goalkeeper who had an outstanding career at Notre Dame, while Jason Herrick, 23, was drafted by the Chicago Fire in 2011 after an outstanding career as a national champion with the University of Maryland Terrapins. A 5′ 11″ forward, Herrick was an All-ACC selection in both 2009 and 2010.
“Jason had an outstanding career at Maryland, and we expect that to continue here with the Islanders,” City Islanders coach Bill Becher stated. “He is a top quality forward. We are very excited to have added Jason to our roster for the 2011 season.” Becher also referred to Basso as “an attack-minded player, and his ability to get forward will add another dimension to our attack.”
FC New York
FC New York have added young midfielder Quame Holder to their squad. “Quame is a talented player who will play anywhere and can play anywhere,” F.C. New York Head Coach Matt Weston said. “We took notice of him immediately in the first tryout he attended. We were enthusiastic about his style of play.”
Holder was born in Trinidad and Tobago, but moved to Brooklyn at the age of 13. He has spent the last two seasons with the NY Red Bulls U-23 team in the NPSL.
The Hammerheads have announced the additions of Gareth Evans, Alex Grendi, and Luke Mulholland to coach David Irving’s 2011 side. Evans, 24, is a Welsh defender who began his pro career in his hometown with Cefn Druids AFC in 2003 and Wrexham before coming to the U.S. in 2009 to play for the Austin Aztex. Evans appeared in 17 matches for the Real Maryland Monarchs last season.
Alex Grendi is a 23-year-old New York state native who played in 3 matches for the Columbus Crew in 2009 after being drafted in the third round of that year’s MLS SuperDraft. The former All-Ivy League first teamer from the University of Pennsylvania spent the 2010 season with the Long Island Rough Riders of the PDL. Luke Mulholland is a young Englishman from Preston who played his college ball at Wingate University in North Carolina. His college coach, Gary Hamill, said that “from day one in this program, Luke has made no secret of the fact that he wants to play at the next level. His work off the field has shown how determined he is. It is a full time commitment and he has shown this every day. I think he would be a great addition to any top side.”
Dayton Dutch Lions
The Dutch Lions announced the signing of three players: Lucien Seymour, George Davis IV and Evan Schwartz. Seymour, 27, adds another link to Dayton’s connection to the Netherlands, as the attacker played in the Eredivisie for VVV Venlo. Seymour signed a 3 year contract with the club.
George Davis IV and Evan Schwartz both played for the 2010 PDL edition of the Dutch Lions. Davis, 23, is a 5’9″ midfielder who began his college career at Bowling Green State before transferring to the University of Kentucky program. The Lima, Ohio native played in all 16 matches for the Dutch Lions in 2010. Schwartz is a right back from Colorado who began his career at the IMG Academy in Bradenton. He played professionally in the third division in Iceland in 2008 and was signed by Breiðablik UBK, a first division Icelandic side which is also the biggest sports club in Iceland. Injury hindered his 2009 season, and Schwartz returned to the U. S. and Dayton in 2010, appearing in 14 PDL matches.
“Last season was a great season for Davis IV,” Dutch Lions Technical Director Cor van Hoeven said. “With his unpredictable actions he makes it difficult for every opponent. Evan is a right defender with great ambitions. With ball possession he can play, especially with his speed, at the right side of the field. The Dayton Dutch Lions are pleased that these two players are back again.”
The Blues announced the addition of veteran central midfielder Edwin Miranda, 30, to their club. Miranda, a native of El Salvador, returns “home” after playing college soccer at Cal State-Northridge. The 6 footer was drafted in 2004 by the Dallas Burn, and played that season with the Portland Timbers in D2. Miranda has made 140 appearances in D2 soccer in the U.S. with stops at Miami FC and the Puerto Rico Islanders.
“Edwin was on our radar for a long time,” Vice President and Head Coach Charlie Naimo offered. “After he touched base with us about a month ago, we made some changes to make room for him on the roster. Edwin gives us depth at the holding midfield position, but he’s also very versatile and can move to center back. Combined with his experience and his track record of success, that makes him a very good fit for us.”
In other Blues news, the club announced that they will operate a reserve squad, the LA Blues 23, in the PDL for the 2011 season. The club will take the place of the Hollywood United Hitmen in the league’s schedule. The team will play in the Western Conference Southwest Division and will play most of their home games in Pacific Palisades at the Stadium by the Sea, according to the team’s press release.
Antigua Barracuda FC
George Dublin, Miguel Baez, Akeem Thomas, Karanja Mack, Lawson Robinson, Tash Harris and Orlando Mitchum were announced to sign with the Barracuda last Monday. Director of Football Fernando Abraham had this to say about the club on the USL website.
“This is a significant and important occasion for us as we put together a unit that will compete and perform at their peak in this our inaugural USL PRO season. These players have all shown the commitment, expertise and the willingness to give their best whenever called upon. They possess a wealth of experience and the vibrancy of youth to challenge any opposition and we are particularly pleased to have secured the commitment of our inspirational leader and Club Captain, George Dublin.”
USL PRO News
The Orlando City SC Lions announced some exciting news for their fans. They will be hosting EPL side Newcastle United at the Citrus Bowl this summer on Saturday July 23, following a several day period in which Newcastle will be training in the area. Owner/President Phil Rawlins also announced that at least five Lions’ matches will be televised on the Bright House Sports Network, and that they team will be playing all its home games at the Citrus Bowl.
The Charleston Battery, 2010 USL-2 champions, hosted the 2010 USSF D2 champions Puerto Rico Islanders on a Tuesday night friendly at Blackbaud Stadium, with the Islanders claiming a 1-0 win. The Battery had several scoring chances from Dane Kelly and another by Seedy Bah, but were unable to get the ball past Islanders’ new goalkeeper, Ray Burse. Matthew Bouraee scored the game’s only goal in the 77th minute.
Richmond Kickers midfielder Michael Callahan was named USL PRO Player of the Week for his performance on opening day against Orlando City SC. Below is the league’s Team of the Week as listed on their website.
USL PRO Team of the Week
|GK||Maximiliano Torlacoff||Sevilla FC PR||Made three saves, including vital one late|
|D||Henry Kalungi||Richmond||Helped contain strong Orlando attack|
|D||Nick Cardenas||Sevilla FC PR||Scored goal; solid defensively|
|D||Matias Maroni||River Plate PR||Helped restrict Sevilla to only four shots|
|D||Yomby William||Richmond||Played key role in opening day shutout|
|M||Lewis Neal||Orlando||Was threat to Richmond defense on set pieces|
|M||Stanley Nyazamba||Richmond||Scored opening goal of USL PRO season|
|M||Peter Villegas||River Plate PR||Pulled strings in midfield; scored River’s first|
|M||Michael Callahan||Richmond||Was dominant in midfield, key to victory|
|F||Yaikel Perez||River Plate PR||Scored game-tying goal in 80th minute|
|F||Matt Delicâte||Richmond||Added insurance goal late; always a threat|