Coach Martin Rennie won't have the only Scottish brogue at WakeMed this summer. Today, management announced the signing of 33-year-old defender Paul Ritchie to the lineup.
Ritchie, who last played professionally two seasons ago, is a veteran of both the Scottish and English Premier Leagues, playing for Manchester City, Derby County and Portsmouth in the latter (he also played for Bolton during a period when that club played in the Championship).
According to his wikipedia bio, Ritchie's career heyday appears to have been with his first club, Heart of Midlothian of Edinburgh, Scotland, for whom he made 133 appearances in seven seasons from 1992-1999, scoring six goals.
Ritchie has seven international caps, as well—all but one earned prior to his 2000-03 stint with Manchester City, a period that seems to have been a frustrating one.
From 2004-06, Ritchie made 45 appearances with Dundee United of the SPL. Perhaps significantly, he also seems to have done some coaching with Dundee.
Ritchie last played professionally in 2006-2007, for the Cypriot side AC Omonia, in the Greek Cypriot League.
Here's his career stat sheet, copied from wiki:
Derby County (loan)
|1999–2004||Scotland under-21||7 (1)|
Text of release follows:
Cary, NC (Wednesday, February 25, 2009) - The Carolina RailHawks announced today the addition of English and Scottish Premier League veteran defender Paul Ritchie, pending USSF and League approval. Ritchie will play his first match in RailHawks Orange on Saturday, March 14, at 7:00 p.m. in the "Community Shield", when the Carolina RailHawks host Major League Soccer's New England Revolution. Individual tickets ($10, $15 and $20) are on sale now on the Carolina RailHawks website or by calling the LGFCU Box Office at 919-859-KICK (5425).
"Paul is a quality player," said Railhawks Head Coach Martin Rennie. "He has played internationally for Scotland, and in both the English and Scottish Premier League. He has a lot of experience and will make a difference both on and off the field."
"I spoke to Martin and he really sold me on the place and what he's trying to build," said Railhawks newest defender Paul Ritchie. "I have been here at practice for a few days and I know I made the right choice to come to the RailHawks."
Paul Simon Ritchie began his career with Heart of Midlothian of Scotland's Premier League in 1992, where he quickly gained a reputation as a promising defender, earning a regular first team place and winning Scotland under-21 caps. He had 133 appearances with Hearts, his favorite team, and scored six goals. After seven years in Scotland, Richie went to the Bolton Wanderers of the English Coca Cola Championship. While at Bolton, he helped the team reach the FA Cup and League Cup semifinals.
In 2000, Ritchie transferred to Glasgow Rangers but was immediately sold to Manchester City of England's Premier League. While at City he had the opportunity to play with players of the caliber of Claudio Reyna and for current New York Red Bulls coach Juan Carlos Osorio. After a brief stint on loan at Portsmouth and Derby County, Ritchie transferred to Wallsall of England's League One, before ending at Dundee United where he was also one of the captains of the team.
Paul Ritchie has also represented Scotland in several U-21 matches and seven first team matches. He scored his first and only goal against the Czech Republic in 1999 and has played against England and Germany among others.