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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Is Cary the new Casablanca for world soccer?

Posted by on Tue, Mar 24, 2009 at 9:38 PM

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You'll recall that in Casablanca, Humphrey Bogart ran a club that was a refuge for a polyglot collection of refugees from the Nazi menace.

Things aren't quite so dire in Cary (but with this economy, one never knows). Still, the RailHawks are showing a penchant for picking up veteran players from the farthest reaches of the globe.

Case in point: today's announced signing of Mustapha Sama, a 29-year-old defender from Sierra Leone. In the past nine years, he has played in Syria, Vietnam, Indonesia, Belgium and Norway.

How did he find his way to Cary? Well, he heard about the club from his friend Sallieu Bundu, a fellow Sierra Leonean who signed with the team last month.

"After speaking with [Bundu] and with Coach Rennie I had decided I wanted to come play in America where soccer continues to grow," Sama said in the press release.

Bundu, as it happens, is a real-life political refugee who survived fearful conditions in his war-torn country to make it to America—first, to the Cleveland City Stars, then to Cary.

The Sama signing was the second of a foreign national in two days. Monday, the RailHawks announced the signing of Gavin Glinton, a midfielder from Turks and Caicos Island who played an energetic second half against the New England Revolution two weekends ago. 

With these two signings, there now seem to be at least 10 nine foreign players associated with the team. The USL limit is seven, so it seems that the roster for the March 14 game versus the Revolution, which contained eight seven foreigners (including Glinton but not Sama and Matt Watson, an Englishman) is still in flux.

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