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RailHawks announce collaboration with CASL's USSF Developmental Academy Program

Posted February 26, 2013

The Carolina RailHawks are proud to announce a landmark collaboration with CASL’s USSF Development Academy program. The new relationship, which covers all of the boys’ Academy teams (U14, U16 and U18) and all of the girls’ ECNL teams (U14 through U18), has been established with the goal of making the Academy more open to the entire eastern NC soccer community and its players, regardless of their current youth soccer club affiliation. It will also create a more direct platform and pathway for the best young players in NC and beyond to achieve their goal of playing professional soccer, as a result of the new direct participation of the RailHawks professional coaching staff and players in the Academy. The Academy will be renamed the Capital Area RailHawks at the start of the upcoming new Academy season in July.

As part of this new collaboration, the RailHawks have agreed to a substantial three-year annual funding commitment to help make the Academy free to all of its players. This funding will come in part from the RailHawks previously announced ticket-donation initiative, whereby the RailHawks have agreed to donate 10% of its total ticket revenue for each of the 2013-2015 seasons to soccer-related programs that will help to further build and strengthen soccer in the area.

“The Triangle community has increasingly rallied behind the RailHawks over the last two years, which has allowed us to double our attendance over this time. This is one way of thanking the community for its tremendous support and giving back to the community in a substantial way that strengthens soccer in our area. This exciting new commitment by the RailHawks organization is consistent with our overall mission of being meaningfully woven into the fabric of the Triangle soccer community and helping to lead the Triangle community in the growth of the game,” said RailHawks President, Curt Johnson.

“I am very excited about our new involvement in the Academy, since a number of former local youth players have signed professional contracts with the RailHawks, other teams in the NASL, as well as teams in MLS. This new Academy collaboration creates a realistic development model for players who someday wish to compete at the professional level,” said RailHawks Head Coach, Colin Clarke
“The name change to ‘Capital Area RailHawks’ is expected to demonstrate to the highly competitive youth soccer community in the area that CASL is truly committed to identifying the best players in the area and fielding teams that can win national championships. We want the newly expanded and renamed program to attract the highest caliber players and coaches possible, regardless of their previous club affiliation, “said Charlie Slagle, CEO of CASL.
Starting with the next Academy season in July, all of the boys’ Academy teams and all of the girls’ ECNL teams will wear the official adidas uniform of the Carolina RailHawks. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of NC will be the Academy’s new front-of-jersey sponsor and Dunn Physical Therapy will be the Academy’s new front-of-shorts sponsor. In addition, a new organizational structure has been set up with John Bradford named as the Academy Director.

“This new program is designed for the total development of the highest level players within our geography and beyond,” said new Academy Director, John Bradford. “The new program joins the top level youth players with proven, successful coaches at the youth, collegiate, and professional levels with the goal of the establishing the best arena for players to reach their full development potential. We are extremely fortunate to have compiled staff with an unbelievable record of player development and player placement mixed with championship success at all levels.”
John Bradford will be supported by two Assistant Academy Directors, Greg Shields and Bruce Talbot. Greg Shields is a current player and Assistant Coach with the RailHawks and has coached youth teams for CASL and the Triangle Futbol Club. Bruce Talbot is an Assistant Coach with the RailHawks and is the current Director of Coaching for Wake FC.

The following are the other Academy staff coaching positions that have been established at this time:

U18 Academy Head Coach: John Bradford (CASL; RailHawks Assistant Coach)
U18 Assistant Coach: Dave Costa (NC State Assistant Coach)
U16 Academy Head Coach: Bruce Talbot (Wake FC Director of Coaching; RailHawks Assistant Coach)
U16 Academy Assistant Coach: Carlos Somoano (UNC-Chapel Hill Head Coach)
U14 Academy Head Coach: Greg Shields (RailHawks Assistant Coach and player; CASL)
U14 Academy Assistant Coach: Paul Forster (CASL)
Academy Staff Coach: Colin Clarke (RailHawks Head Coach)
Goalkeeping Director: Matt Brown (CASL)
Goalkeeping Staff Coach: Nic Platter (RailHawks Goalkeeper Coach; Carolina Soccer Club)

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