TAMPA, FL – United Soccer Leagues announced the USL Second Division All-League honors for the 2008 season, honoring 22 of the top players in the league and the Goalkeeper of the Year as voted on by the league’s coaches and general managers. Also unveiled were the finalists for the league’s marquee awards to be announced at the championship banquet Friday.
All-League First Team
Goalkeeper of the Year – Terry Boss (Charlotte Eagles)
Boss helped guide the Charlotte Eagles to the regular season championship, personally finishing in the top two of the three key goalkeeping categories. While Boss finished second to GAA Champion Eric Reed of Cleveland (0.583) for the statistical honor with an average of 0.691, he did finish first in wins (11) and shutouts (9), posting one more victory than Richmond’s Ronnie Pascale and two more clean sheets than Reed.
The 2008 campaign was the first as the Eagles’ starting keeper for Boss, having served as a back-up to Daniel Benton last year and current USL-1 Carolina RailHawks goalkeeper Chris McClellan in 2005. In 2006, he was the reserve netminder for Josh Saunders with the USL-1 Puerto Rico Islanders, seeing action for just 98 minutes in two games. Boss joined the Eagles in 2005 after two brief seasons in the PDL, where he played for the Cascade Surge in 2003 and two games each with Fort Wayne and Vermont in 2004.
Defender – Brady Bryant (Charlotte Eagles)
A newcomer having played arena football last year, Bryant was surprise to not only Charlotte, but their opposition, finishing the year as the team leader in minutes played. He was the lone player on the squad to see action in every game as the team finished the season with the fewest goals allowed at 15.
Defender – Sascha Gorres (Richmond Kickers)
Gorres helped lead Richmond to second in the table and the league’s third lowest goals allowed total at 20 on the season. He also contributed in the attack with two goals and three assists in 19 games played this season.
Defender – Mark Schulte (Cleveland City Stars)
Winner of the Defender of the Year honor last season, it is no surprise to see Schulte honored again following a season in which Cleveland allowed just 16 goals, only one more than league-leading Charlotte. Schulte played in 18 games for the third place side and also chipped in offensively with two goals and three assists.
Defender – Steve Shak (Charlotte Eagles)
A veteran from the USL First Division, Shak played a more defensive role for the club this season after earning All-League honors at midfield last year. Shak played in 18 games this season and had one goal on the campaign as he helped guide Charlotte to the regular season title.
Midfielder – Mike Burke (Richmond Kickers)
The 2007 league MVP was basically a shoe-in for the honor again after repeating as the Assist Leader. Burke helped guide Richmond to a third straight top two finish in the table with seven goals and eight assists, ranking fourth in the league in points.
Midfielder – Floyd Franks (Cleveland City Stars)
Franks joined Cleveland after a year with the Chicago Fire Major League Soccer reserve squad and proved to be an instant fit, helping guide the team to third with 1322 minutes over the course of 17 games. He also tallied two goals and an assist on the campaign.
Midfielder – Shintaro Harada (Crystal Palace Baltimore)
One of the most consistent players on the squad, the 2007 All-League Second Team honoree Harada saw action in 19 games with the second most minutes played at 1,637. He helped lead the squad to fourth in the table and scored one goal.
Forward – Jorge Herrera (Charlotte Eagles)
The second-year Eagle made his debut last year as primarily a set-up man for Charlotte, but was part of a dynamic duo with Dustin Swinehart that led to both finishing in the top three of the scoring categories. Herrera finished third in all three with nine goals and six assists for 24 points on the year as Charlotte won the regular season title.
Forward – Boyzzz Khumalo (Pittsburgh Riverhounds)
Despite being on the bottom of the table most of the year, the Riverhounds made a late push for the postseason courtesy of Khumalo’s efforts. Khumalo played in all 20 games this season, registering six goals and three assists to finish tied for sixth in points in the league.
Forward – Dustin Swinehart (Charlotte Eagles)
Despite being a veteran star in the USL First and Second Divisions over the years, Dustin’s top honor came as the Assist Leader in 2004, and even then he had to share the honor with teammate Jacob Coggins, who swept the scoring awards and MVP honor. With Coggins departing for USL-1 Carolina, Swinehart assumed the role as the primary scorer and did not disappoint, tallying a league leading 16 goals and 39 points while also finishing second in assists with seven.
All-League Second Team
G – Ronnie Pascale (Richmond Kickers)
D – Dustin Bixler (Harrisburg City Islanders)
D – Trevor McEachron (Richmond Kickers)
D – Federico Molinari (Western Mass Pioneers)
D – Dame Walters (Wilmington Hammerheads)
M – Trey Alexander (Wilmington Hammerheads)
M – Justin Evans (Pittsburgh Riverhounds)
M – Matthew Mbuta (Crystal Palace Baltimore)
F – Gary Brooks (Crystal Palace Baltimore)
F – Sallieu Bundu (Cleveland City Stars)
F – Jeff Deren (Western Mass Pioneers)
The finalists for the Defender of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards were unveiled as the following:
Defender of the Year: Brady Bryant (Charlotte), Sascha Gorres (Richmond), Mark Schulte (Cleveland), Steve Shak (Charlotte)
Rookie of the Year: Pat Healey (Baltimore), Stanley Nyazamba (Richmond)
Coach of the Year: Leigh Cowlishaw (Richmond), Jim Cherneski/Pete Medd (Baltimore), Mark Steffens (Charlotte)
Most Valuable Player: Mike Burke (Richmond), Jorge Herrera (Charlotte), Dustin Swinehart (Charlotte)