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Carolina RailHawks

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Something old, new and borrowed: Carolina RailHawks kick home blues with 3-1 win over San Antonio Scorpions

Posted by on Sun, Sep 14, 2014 at 12:52 AM

Enzo Martinez puts a licking on the San Antonio Scorpions during the Carolina RailHawks 3-1 win Saturday night at WakeMed Soccer Park - PHOTO COURTESY OF CAROLINA RAILHAWKS
  • Photo courtesy of Carolina RailHawks
  • Enzo Martinez puts a licking on the San Antonio Scorpions during the Carolina RailHawks 3-1 win Saturday night at WakeMed Soccer Park
WAKEMED SOCCER PARK/ CARY—Facing the prospect of the first four-match home losing streak in club history, it was all boots on deck for the Carolina RailHawks. The long-awaited arrival of Nacho Novo—check. The short-term loan acquisition of a Major League Soccer striker in Devon Sandoval from Real Salt Lake—check. Prying Zack Schilawski away from his law school studies for a few hours—check.

Indeed, all three players saw action against the NASL-leading San Antonio Scorpions Saturday evening at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary. However, it was a different trio of RailHawks who scaled the scoring column to pace Carolina to a pivotal 3-1 victory over the Scorpions.

“It was a great results,” said RailHawks manager Colin Clarke. “We’ve had our troubles at home the last few games, But if we’re going to be successful this season we have to win our home games. I thought it was a great response tonight under a little bit of pressure.”

On cue, one of Carolina’s new additions sounded a new attacking tone less than a minute into the match. Out of the opening kickoff, a through ball was played forward to Sandoval, who started as the center striker. Sandoval blazed a trail through the Scorpions’ back line and delivered a cross through the box that ended up far post at the feet of Ty Shipalane. Shipalane’s shot impacted the side netting. However, Sandoval’s instant threat signaled a confidence that the RailHawks have been sorely lacking throughout the NASL fall campaign.

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    The RailHawks basked in a result described using a word that hasn’t been heard much following the team’s recent home results: Fun.

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Nacho Novo, Glasgow Rangers legend, signs with Carolina RailHawks

Posted by on Thu, Sep 11, 2014 at 1:50 PM

Nacho Novo poses with his new Carolina RailHawks jersey Thursday at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC. - NEIL MORRIS
  • Neil Morris
  • Nacho Novo poses with his new Carolina RailHawks jersey Thursday at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC.
The Carolina RailHawks’ long-gestating rumor is now official: Nacho Novo, the lauded Spanish striker who spent seven seasons with Glasgow Rangers of the Scottish Premier League, has signed with the RailHawks of the North American Soccer League (NASL).

The 35-year-old Novo, who last played this spring for Carlisle United in England’s League One, traveled to North Carolina in June to trial with the RailHawks and also took in a few of the club’s matches.

Novo and the club agreed to contractual terms several weeks later. However, immigration entanglements delayed Novo joining the team until this week.

After arriving in North Carolina late Wednesday evening, a jet lagged Novo trained with his new teammates Thursday morning after passing a team physical. Afterwards, he spoke with INDY Week about what brought him to Cary, NC.

“The advantage I had was I came over here and saw the facilities and the city, and I felt relaxed,” Novo says. “The main thing for me is to feel relaxed and settled, where I come every day and enjoy training. At my age, I still enjoy football like when I was 12 years of age.”

Novo says the longest time he's previously spent in the United States was a month-long vacation in Orlando, Fla. Now, his contract with the RailHawks extends through the 2015 season.

Novo is arguably the most pedigreed player to ever join the RailHawks. During his time with Rangers from 2004-10, Novo scored 47 league goals, 25 of those in his first season with the club. During that initial season, Rangers won both the Scottish League Cup and Scottish Premier League, with Novo scoring the winning goal against Hibernian to clinch league title.

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    Novo is a member of the Rangers Hall of Fame and played on the team that advanced to the 2008 UEFA Cup Final.

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Train wrecked: Atlanta Silverbacks defeat anemic Carolina RailHawks 2-0 for third straight home loss

Posted by on Sun, Aug 31, 2014 at 9:24 AM

Atlanta's Ryan Roushandel and Carolina's Nick Zimmerman battle for a header while RailHawks Connor Tobin, Akira Fitzgerald and Kupono Low look on during the Silverbacks' 2-0 win over the RailHawks. - PHOTO COURTESY OF CAROLINA RAILHAWKS
  • Photo courtesy of Carolina RailHawks
  • Atlanta's Ryan Roushandel and Carolina's Nick Zimmerman battle for a header while RailHawks Connor Tobin, Akira Fitzgerald and Kupono Low look on during the Silverbacks' 2-0 win over the RailHawks.

WAKEMED SOCCER PARK/ CARY—Colin Clarke said he didn’t recall a more lackluster home performance in his three seasons as manager of the Carolina RailHawks than their 2-0 loss to the Atlanta Silverbacks Saturday evening at WakeMed Soccer Park.

There are few, if any, who would disagree.

After earning their second straight road victory last week at Tampa Bay, the RailHawks were hoping to notch three points at home and solidify their fourth-place position in the North American Soccer League (NASL) yearly standings, good for the final berth in the year-end NASL Championship playoffs. Instead, the loss to Atlanta drops Carolina to sixth place in the overall table.

“This was a big game tonight,” Clarke said. “We talked a lot about it, we prepared for it and knew what we had to do. And we came up short on the night.”

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    The win was the Silverbacks' first over the RailHawks in 11 visits to Cary, NC dating back to 2007.

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Penalty-palooza: Carolina RailHawks clipped 3-2 by FC Edmonton for third home loss in fall season

Posted by on Sun, Aug 17, 2014 at 2:34 AM

Zack Schilawski celebrates his second RailHawks goal against FC Edmonton Saturday night at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary - PHOTO COURTESY OF CAROLINA RAILHAWKS
  • Photo courtesy of Carolina RailHawks
  • Zack Schilawski celebrates his second RailHawks goal against FC Edmonton Saturday night at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary
WAKEMED SOCCER PARK/ CARY—For the second straight week, the Carolina RailHawks fell behind to an opponent at WakeMed Soccer Park. For the second straight week, the RailHawks and Zack Schilawski, the team’s leading scorer, clawed back to tie the match in the second half and appeared poised to grab a win. And for the second straight week, the RailHawks ended up losing the match anyway.

After grabbing an early lead that lasted through halftime, the RailHawks surrendered three second-half goals on their way to a 3-2 loss to FC Edmonton in front of 4,666 fans. The defeat is Carolina’s third in their last four home league games. The road win is only FC Edmonton’s second this year, the other one being at cellar-dwelling Indy Eleven during the NASL spring season. And this is FC Edmonton’s first win on the RailHawks’ home ground, having lost each of their previous six visits to Cary.

After surrendering four goals to the Tampa Bay Rowdies last week at home, the RailHawks returned goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald to the starting XI. Coincidentally, Fitzgerald hasn't played since Carolina’s 6-1 loss at FC Edmonton to end the spring season. Fitzgerald then injured his thumb in training and was replaced by Scott Goodwin during the RailHawks’ U.S. Open Cup run and the opening five games of the fall season.

However, Carolina was without defender Daniel Scott, who was suspended due to being sent off last week against Tampa Bay. Scott was replaced by Austen King, who hasn't played since committing his own red card offense against Indy Eleven last month. More on King in a moment.

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    Zack Schilawski's brace isn't enough to overcome three second-half goals by FC Edmonton

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Zack Schilawski of Carolina RailHawks to enter law school, possibly ending his pro soccer playing career

Posted by on Tue, Aug 12, 2014 at 1:43 PM

Zack Schilawski (and his avatar) celebrate his early goal against FC Dallas during their quarterfinal match in the 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in early July. - PHOTO COURTESY OF CAROLINA RAILHAWKS
  • Photo courtesy of Carolina RailHawks
  • Zack Schilawski (and his avatar) celebrate his early goal against FC Dallas during their quarterfinal match in the 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in early July.

Watching last weekend’s Carolina RailHawks game in Cary, you wouldn't know that Zack Schilawski might be nearing the end of his professional soccer playing career.

With Carolina down two goals to the Tampa Bay Rowdies, Schilawski led an early second-half charge, scoring one goal and assisting another. As the RailHawks again surrendered the lead late in the game, the Cary-born striker could be seen trying to fire up his teammates. And after the eventual loss, he stood at a podium in front of the media and obligingly answered their questions, but he visibly wore an agony of defeat that made you think nothing else in the world mattered to him.

But others things do matter to Schilawski, and they about to collide with soccer.

Schilawski will play for the RailHawks this Saturday, Aug. 16 at WakeMed Soccer Park against FC Edmonton. The following Wednesday, he enters law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Speaking to INDY Week, Schilawski says he began pondering this next phase in his life last off-season.

“I still love playing and still have a great time,” Schilawski says. “I still think I can help teams win games. But it gets to the point where you’re not sure if it’s really sustainable long-term to keep playing, especially in the off-season. The off-seasons can get hard, and this past off-season I just decided I’m not doing anything except working out, so I may as well take this time to study for the [LSAT], shoot some applications out there and see what kind of feedback I get.

“The test went well, the feedback from the applications went well, and I got some good offers that came in around April or so. I sat on it for a little bit, but in the end I just felt like I couldn't turn it down.”

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    Schilawski plays for the RailHawks this Saturday, then begins law school next week. His playing status beyond that remains uncertain.

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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Tampa Bay Rowdies grind out wet and wild 4-3 win over Carolina RailHawks

Posted by on Sun, Aug 10, 2014 at 1:46 AM

Lucky strike: Mkosana celebrates his go-ahead goal for the Tampa Bay Rowdies against the Carolina RailHawks Saturday evening at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC. - PHOTO COURTESY OF CAROLINA RAILHAWKS
  • Photo courtesy of Carolina RailHawks
  • Lucky strike: Mkosana celebrates his go-ahead goal for the Tampa Bay Rowdies against the Carolina RailHawks Saturday evening at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC.
WAKEMED SOCCER PARK/ CARY—Coming off an improbable and important road win against the New York Cosmos last week, the Carolina RailHawks returned to the erstwhile comfortable confines of WakeMed Soccer Park Saturday night against the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

However, Carolina stumbled out of the starting gate, eventually falling 4-3 to the Rowdies in a wet and wild match. It is Tampa Bay’s first regular season win over the RailHawks in Cary since May 2010, during its pre-Rowdies days when the team was named FC Tampa Bay.

The RailHawks, once unbeatable at their home roost, have lately been anything but. Saturday’s loss is their third at home out of their last four games in all competitions. Indeed, this defeat stings even more than the loss to lowly Indy Eleven to open the NASL fall season, which at least carried the excuse of being the third match in a week and the second in four days for a fatigued Carolina squad.

The Rowdies loss, on the other hand, comes on the heels of the win at New York, Carolina’s first road victory this year. It comes with a full week’s rest. And it comes at the outset of a pivotal homestand that has the RailHawks playing five of their next seven matches at home.

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    This was only the third time in club history the RailHawks allowed four goals in a regular season home match.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Carolina RailHawks trade Cesar Elizondo to San Antonio Scorpions for Danny Barrera

Posted by on Tue, Aug 5, 2014 at 6:59 PM

Danny Barrera
  • Danny Barrera
The Carolina RailHawks and San Antonio Scorpions have agreed to a trade that sends Costa Rican midfielder Cesar Elizondo to the Scorpions in return for 24-year-old midfielder Danny Barrera.

Elizondo, who arrived in Carolina in advance of their 2013 season, became a regular in the RailHawks' starting XI, appearing in 12 games this year and earning three assists in 777 total minutes played.

The Columbia-born Barrera, who came to San Antonio last offseason, appeared in 13 games this season and compiled a goal and two assists in nine starts and 830 minutes played. He spent the two previous seasons with the Atlanta Silverbacks, where he was recruited by then-manager Eric Wynalda from amateur side Cal FC.  In 2013, Barrera scored four goals and recorded seven assists for the Silverbacks.

“We are excited to add a young and talented player to our squad,” said RailHawks manager Colin Clarke in a statement. “I’ve been following Danny throughout the years and I know he is capable of scoring goals and creating chances for our team. He will fit really well with our locker room and will be an essential part of our roster as we attempt to win the 2014 NASL Championship.”

The trade will undoubtedly face scrutiny from some RailHawks supporters. Elizondo was a popular player whose tenacity and speedy skill set fit well within Carolina's uptempo offense. On the other hand, Barrera had seen his playing time rapidly diminish in San Antonio—all of his nine starts this year came during the NASL spring season; he didn't start any of the Scorpions' five matches to open the fall campaign.

According to a team source, it's expected that Barrera will arrive at RailHawks camp as early as tomorrow. The RailHawks host the Tampa Bay Rowdies this Saturday, Aug. 9 at WakeMed Soccer Park.

In conjunction with this trade, the Scorpions also announced they are releasing Shaun Saiko from his contract with the club. The reason provided for parting ways with the Canadian midfielder was the need to free up an international roster spot for the incoming Elizondo.

The trade caps a full day of player news for the RailHawks, which previously announced the signing of former Panther Creek High, Elon University and MLS midfielder Gabe Latigue.
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    The trade caps a full day of player news for the RailHawks, which previously announced the signing of midfielder Gabe Latigue.

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Carolina RailHawks sign former Elon and MLS midfielder Gabe Latigue

Posted by on Tue, Aug 5, 2014 at 1:32 PM

Gabe Latigue (left) celebrates a goal by Conor Donovan during the Carolina RailHawks 2-1 win over Puebla FC on July 6 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary. - PHOTO COURTESY OF CAROLINA RAILHAWKS
  • Photo courtesy of Carolina RailHawks
  • Gabe Latigue (left) celebrates a goal by Conor Donovan during the Carolina RailHawks 2-1 win over Puebla FC on July 6 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary.
Today, the Carolina RailHawks announced the signing of midfielder Gabe Latigue. Per club policy, the terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Latigue played soccer at Panther Creek High School in Cary and then Elon University. He was drafted by the New England Revolution in the 4th round of the 2013 Major League Soccer Supplemental Draft. He eventually signed a contract with the Revolution and was loaned out to the Rochester Rhinos for the 2013 season. Latigue made 16 appearances with the Rhinos and was named to the USL Pro Team of the Week in early July.

Unfortunately, the following Monday Latigue suffered a knee injury during training. In August, he underwent reconstructive surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his right knee.

“We are thrilled to add another player that learned the game in the Triangle,” RailHawks' President Curt Johnson said in a statement. “He is truly a product of soccer in North Carolina. We expect great things from Gabe during the 2014 Fall Season.” 

The 23-year-old Latigue is a former member of the Carolina RailHawks U23s team. He trialed with the RailHawks’ senior squad during this year’s league midseason break and started their friendly victory over Puebla FC, playing 66 minutes and earning an assist for a corner kick goal by Conor Donovan.
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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Zack attack: Carolina RailHawks calm Ottawa Fury 3-0

Posted by on Sun, Jul 27, 2014 at 1:38 AM

Zack Schilawski readies his first of two goals during the Carolina RailHawks' 3-0 win over Ottawa Fury FC at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary. - PHOTO COURTESY OF CAROLINA RAILHAWKS
  • Photo courtesy of Carolina RailHawks
  • Zack Schilawski readies his first of two goals during the Carolina RailHawks' 3-0 win over Ottawa Fury FC at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary.
WAKEMED SOCCER PARK/ CARY—There was a palpable sense of relief among players, coaches and the 4,294 in attendance following the Carolina RailHawks’ 3-0 victory over Ottawa Fury FC Saturday evening in Cary. Sure, the win snaps the RailHawks’ four-match losing streak in NASL play, a skid that saw Carolina outscored 11-2.

But what truly shook the RailHawks’ collective confidence was that after a 23-game home unbeaten run, Carolina had lost two straight matches at WakeMed Soccer Park: FC Dallas in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup and previously winless Indy Eleven. Chronic losing on the road is one thing. But when the results started going against them at home, that really rattled the RailHawks.

The RailHawks got back on track against Ottawa thanks to several factors. Carolina’s cadre of speedy midfielders—Cesar Elizondo, Ty Shipalane and Enzo Martinez—feasted on the larger dimensions of the WakeMed Soccer Stadium field. The new(est) Carolina back line, now featuring returning right back Jordan Graye, is developing necessary chemistry. And on this night, Zack Schilawski regained his shooting form.

Schilawski opened the books in the 10th minute. Graye played a nifty chip ball ahead to Shipalane running up the middle. Shipalane played the ball out wide to Martinez, whose ensuing cross into the box took a deflection off Fury defender Maycon and dribbled its way to Schilawski stationed in space. Schilawski one-touched a shot past goalkeeper Devala Gorrick for the early lead.

“I was able to stay over [the shot],” Schilawski said. “A lot of times I make mistakes on those. If it’s on my right side I’ll lean back and pop it over. This time I stayed over it, and it found the corner [of the net] for me.”

While Ottawa held the majority of possession for the rest of the first half, the RailHawks had the better chances. In the 33rd minute, Martinez found himself onside and 1-v-1 with Gorrick. However, Martinez’s first dud was saved by the keeper, and then Martinez air-mailed the rebound over the goal. Three minutes later, Shipalane gathered a through ball from Graye but pulled his angled shot wide left.

And in the 37th minute, Elizondo was nearly taken down in the box but laudably stayed on his feet in order to reach a loose ball with Gorrick out of position. Although positioned at an acute angle, Elizondo calmly poked the ball in the direction of the utterly open goal … and deflected his shot off the left post. Geometricians will undoubtedly devote decades of calculation and research to decipher how Elizondo failed to convert that shot.

A minute later, Schilawski decided to show his teammates how it’s done. A perfectly weighted pass over the defense by Elizondo landed in the path of a streaking Schilawski. The Carolina striker again needed only one touch to execute a chip shot over Gorrick that nestled into the back of the net for his brace.

“A really good ball from Cesar, huh?” Schilawski said. “I picked my head up and saw the keeper was out a bit, and I just went for it first time.”
Nazmi Albadawi uses his head to convert a goal during the RailHawks' 3-0 win over the Ottawa Fury in Cary. - PHOTO COURTESY OF CAROLINA RAILHAWKS
  • Photo courtesy of Carolina RailHawks
  • Nazmi Albadawi uses his head to convert a goal during the RailHawks' 3-0 win over the Ottawa Fury in Cary.

After halftime, Carolina wasted no time steering clear of The Most Dangerous Score in Soccer™. In the 48th minute, a nicely arched cross off the right flank from Graye grazed off Gorrick’s fingertips. Stationed far post, Nazmi Albadawi dove head-first at the bouncing ball like a butting ram, nudging it over the goal line for the 3-0 advantage.

Ottawa held 56 percent of possession for the game, had more corner kicks and attacking drives, and equalled Carolina’s shot attempts. It’s why Ottawa head coach Marc Dos Santos, making his first return to WakeMed Soccer Park since April 2011 when he was managing the Montreal Impact, believed the contest was closer than the one-sided score indicates.

“We had spells where we had a lot of possession in Carolina’s half,” Dos Santos said. “But we seemed not to be effective enough, and we seem not to have enough movement that put us facing the goal. The couple of chances we had today had a lack of confidence.

“Carolina counterattacked well, and I think the goals were sloppy from our side. It’s a little bit exaggerated, the 3-0, for the possession that we had. But it’s a result that humbles ourself and makes us think on things that we have to get better.”

The result was a marked difference from the previous meeting between Carolina and Ottawa in late April during the NASL spring season. The Fury embarrassed the RailHawks 4-0 on the ragged artificial turf of Ottawa’s then temporary home at Carleton University's Keith Harris Stadium.

RailHawks’ manager Colin Clarke shared in his team’s obvious ebullience after Saturday’s result.

“We hit a little bit of a lull since FC Dallas, maybe a hangover from our Open Cup run” Clarke admitted. “It was nice to get back to three points, and it was important.”

The win creeps the RailHawks back into fourth place in the yearly NASL league standings. That said, Clarke promises that player personnel additions (plural) are in the works.

And none too soon. The RailHawks travel to New York to face the Cosmos next Saturday. Carolina then plays five of its next seven games in Cary, starting with two potentially pivotal home matches against the Tampa Bay Rowdies and FC Edmonton.

Why pivotal? When a reporter asked Clarke whether he was anxious for the media to stop asking about the RailHawks’ continuing road losses, Clarke was ready with a comeback.

“As long as you don’t stop asking about me about the wins at home.”
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    The win snaps the RailHawks’ four-match losing streak in NASL play.

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Indy Eleven one-ups 10-man Carolina RailHawks 2-1 to open NASL fall season

Posted by on Sun, Jul 13, 2014 at 2:04 AM

Indy Eleven manager Juergen Sommer following his team's 2-1 win over the Carolina RailHawks in Cary, N.C. - NEIL MORRIS
  • Neil Morris
  • Indy Eleven manager Juergen Sommer following his team's 2-1 win over the Carolina RailHawks in Cary, N.C.
WAKEMED SOCCER PARK/ CARY—It was supposed to be a stroll in the Park.

On one side were the Carolina RailHawks, riding a 17-match home unbeaten streak against their North American Soccer League (NASL) competition. Moreover, four weeks ago, Carolina defeated Chivas USA of Major League Soccer (MLS) in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup; less than three weeks ago, they did the same thing to Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and the LA Galaxy.

On the other end was Indy Eleven, an expansion NASL side without a single win in nine regular season games this year. Indy Eleven surrendered 20 goals over those nine games, tied with the Atlanta Silverbacks for the most in the league. And over the midseason NASL break, Indy Eleven cut ties with four of their roster players, including starter Walter Ramirez.

The outcome seemed inevitable, which naturally meant it would turn out to be anything but. A cornucopia of calamity beset the hometown RailHawks as Indy Eleven ground out a 2-1 win in each team’s opening match of the NASL fall season.

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    A cornucopia of calamity beset the hometown RailHawks as Indy Eleven notched their first league win in team history.

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Jason Smith was a good choice. Nice to finally beat the Railchickens at Wakemed! …

by ASFCTilIDie.com on Train wrecked: Atlanta Silverbacks defeat anemic Carolina RailHawks 2-0 for third straight home loss (Sports)

I think I speak for Zack's family, we've not missed a game (middle/high schools,Wake Forest U, a game in

by L Jean Schilawski on Zack Schilawski of Carolina RailHawks to enter law school, possibly ending his pro soccer playing career (Sports)

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