(MIAMI, Fla. April 4, 2013) – Two days from now… the waiting will be over when the 2013 North American Soccer League Spring Season kicks off on Saturday, April 6.
The team that emerges on top of the standings after 42 games played between April 6 and July 4 will earn the right to host the 2013 Soccer Bowl in November, to be joined by the Fall campaign champion as the NASL adopts a new split season format for the first time since returning to the American soccer scene in 2011.
“It’s so exciting,” said NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson. “There is so much anticipation to finally get 2013 underway. The coaches and players are ready to battle for the championship and the new format will put them to the test.
“I’ve visited with fans in each of our cities and they’re also very excited to get to the stadium and get the competition underway. 2013 will be a great year for NASL.”
The Tampa Bay Rowdies open their defense of the 2012 championship at home at Al Lang Stadium against the 2011 regular season table-toppers Carolina RailHawks at 7.30pm on Saturday. The Rowdies outlasted the RailHawks 5-4 on aggregate in the playoffs on their way to winning the Soccer Bowl in a penalty shootout over Minnesota.
“We have had great tests during the preseason to get ready for the NASL Season,” said Rowdies coach Ricky Hill. “Everything we have worked on for the last two months need to be demonstrated on Saturday against Carolina. Our squad is focused on obtaining the three points and starting out on the right foot. It has never been easy against Carolina, something that has been proven in the last matches we have played against them.”
Some 250 miles across Florida at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, the home-team Strikers will welcome FC Edmonton at 7.30pm on Saturday. The Strikers bowed out at the first stage of the playoffs last season, but coach Daryl Shore is optimistic for the campaign ahead having drafted in 15 new faces.
“We are excited about our group and feel like our newcomers really fit in with our veteran, core guys,” said Shore. “Our locker room is now a much more professional environment and it is thanks to the experience of the players we’ve brought in.”
Only FC Edmonton has signed more players this offseason with 16 new recruits, and is a team looking to improve on finishing at the foot of the table in 2012 under the sole new head coach in the NASL this year, former Canadian international Colin Miller.
“Colin has selected a big, strong and fast team and I’m personally confident that we’ll make our mark on the league early on,” said FC Edmonton GM Rod Proudfoot. “There are pros and cons to starting our season on the road (first three games) but if we can earn points early and come home with a decent record, we’ll have set ourselves up well for the home games.”
The opening day’s third and final game kicks off 30 minutes later at 8pm in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome when last season’s Soccer Bowl runner up Minnesota United takes on the team that topped the regular season standings in 2012, the San Antonio Scorpions.
Fans heading to the game can travel free of charge on Metro Transit, which will provide rides two hours before and after kickoff on Saturday and also for games on April 20, May 4, May 18 and June 8. To accommodate fans with tickets at will call or purchasing at the box office, a downloadable pass is required and can be accessed via MNUnitedFC.com. Fans showing only a game ticket will not be permitted to ride on Metro Transit buses and light rail free of charge.
“Metro Transit will be an invaluable partner as we begin the next era of professional soccer in the Twin Cities,” said Djorn Buchholz, Minnesota United FC vice president of sporting operations. “We’re excited for the season opener this Saturday and appreciative of Metro Transit’s support to providing greater access to the Metrodome for soccer fans throughout the community.”
Saturday, April 6 – North American Soccer League Week One
(All kickoff time US EST)
Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Carolina RailHawks
Al Lang Stadium, 7.30pm
Fort Lauderdale Strikers vs. FC Edmonton
Lockhart Stadium, 7.30pm
Minnesota United FC vs. San Antonio Scorpions
Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, 8pm
All games will be streamed live and can be watched via the NASL official website http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=001bXplypwRK_5QD92OwlHHfceBKhcN297IuAYlbrRbHHEZkOEaiY3a8qVpZuP-gF-DXv2PbYGhWld2qD2vAD_3vAVa1Bhhx6Zl1nyCj81vFh8= and at each respective team website.
How they line up:
Having taken over the Silverbacks at the end of the 2012 season, coach Brian Haynesstarts his first full season in Atlanta. He leads a large core of players from last year’s second-bottom finish into the 2013 Spring Championship season with high hopes. During the offseason the Silverbacks engaged their fans in name the team and logo design contests. Fans chose to keep the Silverbacks name, while selecting a sleek, modern logo as the club’s new crest.
1. Ruben Luna 2. Mike Randolph 3. Shane Moroney 4. Bobby Reiss 5. Richie Menjivar 6. Beto Navarro 7. Pablo Cruz 8. Milton Blanco 9. Pedro Mendes 10. Danny Barrera 11. Jahbari Willis 12. Horace James 13. Willie Hunt 16. Eric Ati 18. Joe Nasco 19. Borfor Carr 20. Mark Withers 21. Mark Bloom 23. Brandon Manzonelli 25. Lucas Paulini 27. Martyn Lancaster
Out: GK- Daniel Illyes; DF- Patrick Robertson; MF- Jordan Davis; MF- Ciaran O’Brien; FW- Reinaldo Navia; MF- Nico Colaluca; FW- Matt Horth; DF- Jose Burciaga, Jr.; MF- Tony McManus
In: FW- Ruben Luna; DF- Bobby Reiss; MF- Richie Menjivar; MF- Mark Withers; DF- Mark Bloom; MF- Brandon Manzonelli
The Carolina RailHawks open up an expanded WakeMed Soccer Park in the coming season. As part of a $6.3 million expansion project, the RailHawks added 3,000 seats to the previously 7,000-seat stadium. The club set a franchise attendance record when 8,054 fans came to watch the RailHawks host Mexican powerhouse Pumas during preseason. On the field, the RailHawks have kept a large core of players, while adding experienced names like Nicholas Addlery, Ciaran O’Brien and Julius James. The team may get even stronger with 2012 NASL Best XI defender Paul Hamilton in camp.
0. Floyd Franks 1. Akira Fitzgerald 2. Greg Shields 3. Kupono Low 6. Austin Da Luz 8. Jake Beckford 9. Nicholas Addlery 10. Ciaran O’Brien 11. Ty Shipalane 12. Julius James 13. Brian Ackley 14. Nick Millington 15. Austen King 16. Kevin Burns 17. Jordan Graye 18. Tim Murray 20. Breiner Ortiz 21. Brian Shriver 22. Zack Schilawski 23. Nick Zimmerman 25. Sam Stockley 32. Justin Willis
Out: MF- Tommy Drake; MF- Amir Lowery; MF- James Scott; FW- Jason Garey; MF- Mike Palacio; GK- Nic Platter; DF- Jaime Finch; DF- Gale Agbossoumonde; GK- Ray Burse; MF- Cory Elenio; DF- John Krause
In: FW- Nicholas Addlery (Puerto Rico Islanders); MF- Ciaran O’Brien (Atlanta Silverbacks); DF- Julius James; MF- Kevin Burns; GK- Tim Murray
Colin Miller leads a new-look FC Edmonton side that saw no fewer than 18 players from the previous season depart. Last year the team finished bottom of the eight-team standings under former coach Harry Sinkgraven. In the front office, Rod Proudfoot became the club’s new General Manager. On the field, the team has signed young Canadian talent, with six academy players signing pro contracts. While Miller brings a wealth of experience to the Eddies, his young side will have to learn to gel quickly, as the new format doesn’t allow for slow starts in contesting for the Soccer Bowl. The inspirational Shaun Saiko will play a key role for the Eddies again this season, especially now that the club has parted ways with fan-favorite and Best XI defender Paul Hamilton.
1. Lance Parker 2. David Proctor 3. Edson Edward 4. Neil Hlavaty 5. Albert Watson 6. Sadi Jalali 7. Chris Nurse 8. Wes Knight 9. Michael Cox 10. Shaun Saiko 11. Elvir Gigolaj 12. Hanson Boakai 15. Mallan Roberts 16. Daryl Fordyce 17. Lance Laing 23. John Smits 24. Antonio Rago, Carlyle Mitchell, Chris de Guise, Michael Nonni, Andy Ramos, Ajeej Sarkaria
Out: DF- Adam West; FW- Sérisay Barthélémy; DF- Kevin Hatchi; MF- Alex Semenets; MF- Ilja van Leerdam; MF- Kyle Yamada; MF- Matt Lam; DF- Jonathan Joseph-Augustin; FW- Paul Craig; DF- Dino Gardner; MF- Kenny Caceros; DF- Paul Hamilton; FW- Kyle Porter; MF- Dominic Oppong; GK- David Monsalve; GK- Michal Misiewicz; DF- Fabien Vorbe; FW- Yashir Pinto
In: DF- Edson Edward (Puerto Rico Islanders); MF- Neil Hlavaty (Minnesota United FC); DF- Albert Watson; FW- Sadi Jalali; MF- Chris Nurse (Puerto Rico Islanders); DF- Wes Knight (San Antonio Scorpions); MF- Hanson Boakai; DF- Mallan Roberts; FW- Daryl Fordyce; DF- Lance Laing; DF- Chris de Guise; FW- Ajeej Sakaria; MF- Massimo Mirabelli; GK- Andy Ramos; DF- Carlyle Mitchell; MF- Michael Nonni
Fort Lauderdale Strikers
The Strikers have been busy in the offseason growing their brand in the South Florida soccer community under the direction of new team president Tom Mulroy. The organization has been renovating historic Lockhart Stadium, while announcing their intention to look for a new permanent home. Head coach Daryl Shore starts his third full season in charge of the Fort Lauderdale and with him return several key players including Best XI midfielders Walter Restrepo and Mark Anderson, and captain Toni Ståhl, while veterans Ivan Guerrero and Shavar Thomas have signed on.
1. Cody Laurendi 2. Stefan Antonijevic 3. Daniel Arcila 5. Toni Ståhl 6. Hosman Ramos 7. David Foley 8. Pecka 10. Walter Restrepo 11. Stefan Dimitrov 12. Ivan Guerrero 13. Justin Chavez 14. Carlos Salazar 15. Scott Gordon 16. Mike Dietze 17. Eduardo Jimenez 18. Stephane Guillaume 19. Gonzalo De Mujica 20. Mark Anderson 21. Darnell King 23. Manny Gonzalez 24. Matt Glaeser 25. Rubens 26. Andy Herron 44. Shavar Thomas
Out: GK- David Martin; MF- Alfonso Motagalvan; DF- Scott Lorenz; DF- Nickardo Blake; FW- Pat Otte; FW- Abe Thompson; FW- Polo Morales; DF- Emilio Orozco; DF- Jack Stewart; MF- Abel Gebor; DF- Lance Laing (FC Edmonton); MF- Conor Shanosky; DF- Nico Clavijo
In: GK- Cody Laurendi (Puerto Rico Islanders); DF- Stefan Antonijevic; DF- Daniel Arcila; FW- David Foley (Puerto Rico Islanders); FW- Stefan Dimitrov (on loan from New York Cosmos); DF- Ivan Guerrero; DF- Justin Chavez; MF- Carlos Salazar; MF- Mike Dietze; MF- Eduardo Jimenez; DF- Stephane Guillaume; MF- Gonzalo De Mujica; MF- Manny Gonzalez; MF- Rubens; DF- Shavar Thomas
Minnesota United FC
Minnesota Untied starts the 2013 season with a new owner and a new identity. Under owner Dr. Bill McGuire, Minnesota has assembled an array of talent, adding the previous two Golden Ball and Golden Boot winners Etienne Barbara and Pablo Campos, as well as Bryan Arguez, Aaron Pitchkolan, Max Griffin and Daryl Sattler.
1. Mitch Hildebrandt 2. Justin Davis 3. Cristiano Dias 4. Aaron Pitchkolan 5. Edi Buro 6. Kevin Friedland 7. Simone Bracalello 8. Michael Reed 9. Pablo Campos 10. Etienne Barbara 11. Max Griffin 13. Kentaro Takada 14. Brian Kallman 17. Bryan Arguez 20. Conor Tobin 21. Travis Wall 22. Kevin Venegas 23. Miguel Ibarra 24. Nate Polak 28. Ernest Tchoupe 30. Matt VanOekel 32. Lucas Rodriguez 33. Daryl Sattler
Out: MF- Neil Hlavaty (FC Edmonton); FW- Fuad Ibrahim; FW- Amani Walker (Tampa Bay Rowdies); DF- Evan Sassano; MF- Shawn Chin; FW- Devin Del Do (Tampa Bay Rowdies); MF- Andy Lorei; DF- Gino Mauro
In: MF- Aaron Pitchkolan (San Antonio Scorpions); FW- Pablo Campos (San Antonio Scorpions); FW- Etienne Barbara; FW- Max Griffin; MF- Bryan Arguez; GK- Daryl Sattler (San Antonio Scorpions)
San Antonio Scorpions
San Antonio made all the headlines in their debut campaign with their non-profit approach, high attendances, winning team, and plans to build a privately funded soccer-specific stadium. The Scorpions will open the 8,000-seat Toyota Field this month, and will look to continue doing what made them so successful in their first year. The team has changed a lot both on, and off the field. President Michael Hitchcock was replaced by Howard Cornfield and the regular season champions look a completely different side from the team that finished first in the 2012 standings. Gone are Golden Ball and Golden Boot winner Pablo Campos, goalkeeper Daryl Sattler, and veterans Aaron Pitchkolan, Wes Knight and Ryan Cochrane. Coach Tim Hankinson has turned to new players from Eastern Europe as replacements.
00. Craig Hill 2. Lyle Martin 5. Pat Phelan 6. Kevin Harmse 7. Stephen DeRoux 8. Jeff Jennings 9. Nikola Vasilic 10. Hans Denissen 11. Esteban Bayona 12. Greg Janicki 13. Bryan Jordan 17. Blake Wagner 18. Sean Arters 21. Walter Ramirez 22. Adin Dzafic 23. Javier Saavedra 24. Jeremy Vuolo 25. Pat Hannigan 26. Ivan Milicevic 27. Luka Vucko 28. Chris Williams 45. Daniel Medina 55.Edin Husic
Out: FW- Jeff Cunningham; GK- Daryl Sattler (Minnesota United FC); DF- Wes Knight (FC Edmonton); MF- Matt Gold; DF- Karsten Smith; MF- Luiz Tiago; FW- Pablo Campos (Minnesota United FC); DF- Fabian Kling; MF- Aaron Pitchkolan (Minnesota United FC); MF- Josue Soto; DF- Ryan Cochrane; MF- Jonathan Greenfield
In: MF- Edin Husic; DF- Lyle Martin; FW- Adin Dzafic; DF- Luka Vucko; FW- Nikola Vasilic; MF- Pat Phelan; FW- Ivan Milicevic; MF- Bryan Jordan; DF- Chris Williams; DF- Stephen DeRoux (Puerto Rico Islanders); MF- Sean Arters; DF- Daniel Medina; GK- Jeremy Vuolo
Tampa Bay Rowdies
The NASL Champions lost all four matches at the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic, and two to in-state rivals Orlando City in the inaugural I-4 Derby, but will put those defeats behind them as they aim to start the season on the right foot. Coach of the Year Ricky Hill has kept much of his championship-winning squad, while adding the likes of Georgi Hristov, Jay Needham and Amani Walker into the fold.
1. Andrew Fontein 2.Daniel Scott 3. Andres Arango 4. Stuart Campbell 5. Kyle Clinton 6. Jordan Gafa 7. Frankie Sanfilippo 8. Luke Mulholland 9. Raphael Cox 10. Georgi Hristov 11. Shane Hill 14. Draymond Washington 15. Mike Ambersley 16. Amani Walker 18. Jay Needham 20. Evans Frimpong 21. Devin Del Do 22. Keith Savage 24. Diego Restrepo 25. Carl Cort 32. Takuya Yamada
Out: GK- Jeff Attinella; DF- J.P. Rodrigues; FW- Matt Clare; FW- Daniel Antoniuk; FW- Dan O’Brien; DF- Eddie Ababio; FW- Fafa Picault
In: DF- Jordan Gafa; FW- Georgi Hristov; FW- Amani Walker; DF- Jay Needham; FW- Devin Del Do; GK- Diego Restrepo; MF- Kyle Clinton
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