Every month on atlantasilverbacks.com, we’ll take you through the biggest news stories from around the North American Soccer League (NASL). With almost one month until the 2013 season kicks off, there isn’t any shortage of action around the league.
We’ll start right here in Atlanta where the Silverbacks have officially started their preseason training camp. The team’s 2013 preparations got underway on Saturday, and it’s not just the 17 players under contract who are in camp. The Silverbacks have welcomed in several top-level trialists, including a very familiar face.
The Silverbacks will get their first game action on Thursday when they host the University of North Georgia at Atlanta Silverbacks Park. Several other NASL teams have been action against local colleges, most recently the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Ricky Hill’s side defeated the University of South Florida, 1-0, on Saturday thanks to trialist Jemal Johnson, formerly of English sides such as Blackburn Rovers and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The Rowdies have already been in action for quite some time in 2013, taking part in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic alongside six MLS sides and USL side Orlando City SC. The Carolina RailHawks also faced a MLS team recently, falling, 3-0, to Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Former RailHawks Head Coach Martin Rennie is now in charge of the Whitecaps, and thanks to a hat trick from a certain Brazilian player, he left his former home with an emphatic win.
Speaking of MLS, the San Antonio Scorpions just signed a player with plenty of experience playing in that league. Defensive midfielder Pat Phelan brings his 80 appearances for the New England Revolution to the Lone Star State to help solidify the Scorpions’ starting XI.
While many teams have been busy signing players for the upcoming season, FC Edmonton has probably been the busiest of late. They recently signed a pair of players from Northern Ireland, but more notably, brought in a handful of Canadian players from the club’s reserve squad. New Eddies Head Coach Colin Miller is clearly adding youth to the club after they parted ways with several veteran players.
Staying north of the border, the NASL’s Ottawa franchise is coming off a big week. At a large press event last week, the club revealed that it would call itself Ottawa Fury FC moving forward. The name comes after a public campaign that consulted Ottawa soccer fans – it generated over 4,000 suggestions. Next up for the club is the logo, which the fans will have a hand in selecting, much like the contest in Atlanta.
Making big branding announcements isn’t just for the league’s incoming expansion teams. At a press conference event scheduled for later today, Minnesota Stars FC are expected to make a few big announcements related to their overall brand. Stay tuned to see what they reveal.
Rounding out the NASL news are a few more player signings. The New York Cosmos recently inked a couple experienced youngsters, one with MLS experience and another coming from Liga MX in Mexico.