NASL Announces Split Season Format

Swoops....RailHawks' Mascot

The 2012 North American Soccer League season ended for the Carolina RailHawks in the semifinals of postseason play.

That they were beaten on a two-game 5-4 aggregate by the eventual champion Tampa Bay Rowdies is small consolation.

The RailHawks, who underwent changes in roster and head coach after the 2011 season, finished in the midde of the standings in regular season play. A 10-10-8 record netted 40 points, good for fourth in the eight-team league.

Colin Clarke replaced Martin Rennie in December of 2011 after Rennie left to coach Vancouver in Major League Soccer. Also departed for MLS were several members of the 2011 RailHawks roster.

The Carolina RailHawks have announced that the club has exercised club options for the 2013 NASL season for 12 players, including defenders Austen King and Justin Willis; Midfielders Austin da Luz, Nick Millington, Floyd Franks, Breiner Ortiz, Tiyiselani Shipalane, Nick Zimmerman and Jake Beckford; and Forwards Brian Ackley, Brian Shriver, and Zack Schilawski.

NASL Format Change

Change is coming to the NASL in 2013. In addition to expansion, the NASL has announced that the league will change its regular season format to split seasons.

The split will result in two seperate seasons which will conclude with each having its own postseason championship. The winners will then meet in a league title game.

The spring season will begin play in late March or early April, and conclude on July 4. The fall season will begin in late July or early August and run through November 2.

The break will occur during the international transfer widoww that is open throughout much of Europe, Latin America and North America.

The new format has already had consequences. The Puerto Rico Islanders, third-place finishers a year ago, have announced that they will take the spring half of the season off in order to reorganize the club.

Cosmos Coming In The Fall

Also, the expansion New York Cosmos have announced that they will wait until the fall portion of the season to begin competing in the NASL. The Cosmos will play home games at Hofstra University on Long Island.

Hofstra is where the original New York Cosmos called home for several seasons in the 1970s. The Cosmos also were reminded of their history with the signing of Long Island native Carlos Mendes, who attended high school in Mineola at The Wheatley School in Old Westbury, the alama mater of former Cosmos goalkeeper Shep Messing.

Mendes, who played collegiate soccer at Old Dominion University, will wear the #4 jersey worn by former Cosmos captain Werner Roth.

Strikers See New Stadium

The 2013 NASL Combine is scheduled for Feb. 1-3 in Fort Lauderdale, FL. at Lockhart Stadium, home of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

Traffic Sports, owners of the Strikers recently appointed Tim Robbie to the position of Managing Director of Team Personnel and Stadium Development with the task of securing a long-term home at a soccer-specific stadium in South Florida.

Assuming the position of Team President will be Tom Mulroy, an industry veteran with ties to the South Florida soccer community reaching back more than 35 years.

“Traffic Sports has given me a mandate to seek a permanent first-class home for the Strikers,” said Robbie.
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