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Hawks' Nest Notes: Potential RailHawks

Although recent events make this seem somewhat silly, here are a few short bios on players invited to Carolina RailHawks tryouts from this past week. Yep, we're talking about potential players for a team that might not exist this year, much less be called the RailHawks, in a league that might not exist.

Seems silly, but it's a promise I made to my faithful readers of today's Cary News. So here they are:

Norkus no longer "Mr. RailHawk"

Caleb Norkus, once referred to as "Mr. RailHawk" for his community service and  distinction as one of two Carolina RailHawks left over from the original 2006 team, said Thursday night that he was released from the team at the end of last season. Norkus, 31, said it being let go by his hometown team was "painful." He believes at this time that his playing career is done and he would like to focus on coaching.

Another RailHawk signs MLS contract

Daniel Woolard was one of three late-season additions to the Carolina RailHawks that helped the team make a late-season push and win the NASL Conference, then advance to the USSF D2 championship finals before losing to the Puerto Rico Islanders.

Now, Woolard joins one of those late additions as another RailHawks member who landed a contract in the MLS.

Heinemann makes it to MLS

Tom Heinemann has made quite the jump. After starting the 2009 season with in third-division USL and ending it in Carolina, the 23-year-old forward will be spending next year in the MLS with the Columbus Crew.

Around the USSF D2: Brian Wellman talks latest NASL moves

On Thursday, I got up with RailHawks predsident Brian Wellman about the recent news that NASL had re-submitted its bid for Division 2 sanctioning with two extra teams. NASL concluded its recent meeting in Tampa last week.

I've posted the audio in two parts from that interview, since I'm sure there are several questions among the minds of D2 fans across the country. I want those answers to be as clear as possible, and there's nothing more clear than posting the entire interview online.

A few short points before you listen (or for those of you who are too ansty to sit through eight minutes of audio):

  • Wellman's definitely a fan of Atlanta returning to Division 2. He gives us some insight as to how Atlanta seemingly joined out of nowhere. As it turns out, the Silverbacks have been waiting the past two years getting ready for this move.
  • AC St. Louis wasn't added to the bid because nothing has been finalized yet with the franchise's search for investors. If a deal is finalized before NASL starts putting together its schedule for next year, then St. Louis will likely join. As Wellman said "the more teams, the better." He adds "they can show on the radar anytime if that sell goes through."
  • He says that the first bid was submitted with just the six teams that he knew were on firm ground so the USSF could do "due dillegence" to those six first. He said it was communicated to the USSF that NASL would finish off the list at a later date.
  • Wellman says the USSF will have its end-of-the-year meeting soon, and hopes that NASL will hear back around that time. The only other USSF meeting is in February — which would be too late for a ruling — and the U.S. will be spending most of December trying to get a World Cup bid for 2022. So with that in mind, Wellman thinks it won't be long to hear if NASL is sanctioned for next season.
  • A former minority owner from the Austin Aztex — the franchise was moved to Orlando to become a Division 3 franchise — was at the NASL meeting. Although he shouldn't be looked at as a person who could be a primary owner, he is involved with the Austin community and hopes to have a franchise there in the future. "Austin remains on the radar," Wellman said.
  • San Antonio owners were said to have contributed "heavily" at the recent NASL meetings. San Antonio will play in 2012 as an expansion NASL franchise.
  • There's a mystery franchise that NASL has agreed in principle to start play in 2013. Wellman said he could not make that official yet.
  • Wellman says there are "three or four" other markets that NASL is currently targeting.
  • Crystal Palace Baltimore was at the USSF D2 meetings. They will not play in 2011 but hope to be ready to go in 2012.
Brian Wellman interview Part 1
Brian Wellman Part 2

Around the USSF D2: Paladini earns postseason honors

The Carolina RailHawks are one of two teams left standing in the USSF D2 Pro League playoffs, but just one player — Daniel Paladini — was honored by league coaches, general managers and media in the postseason awards.

Video of two questionable goals from Saturday's game

This is the last day I'm talking about the controversial calls made in the RailHawks' 2-0 series-clinching win over the Montreal Impact in the USSF D2 semifinals on Saturday. I promise.

But before we shut it down and begin previewing this weekend's first leg of the championship, let's look at each of the two goals in question.

The first is Tom Heinemann's goal in the 89th minute that put the RailHawks up 2-1 on the series aggregate goals. Was he offside? He was not called for it.

Oh, and I apologize for the French commentary.


The second is Montreal's would-be series-tying goal in stoppage time. The Impact was called for offside. At the time, I thought it was the wrong call, but look again.

Around the USSF D2: RailHawks only top seed not trailing

If the Carolina RailHawks' 0-0 tie at NSC Minnesota on Wednesday in the first leg of the first round of the USSF D2 playoffs disconcerts you, check out some of the other first leg scores.

USL PRO to bid for Division 2

The United Soccer League announced today it would merge its second division with its third division under the name USL PRO. USL PRO, like the North American Soccer League, will have to meet USSF D2 standards to play division 2 next year.

NASL to submit its bid for league this week

RailHawks owner Selby Wellman said Tuesday that the North American Soccer League would be submitting its bid to the United States Soccer Federation this week, with hopes of getting approval to play in 2011.

Ten teams make up the proposed NASL: Carolina, Puerto Rico, Montreal, FC Tampa Bay, Miami FC, Rochester, NSC Minnesota, CP Baltimore, AC St. Louis and expansion franchise FC Edmonton.

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