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A Bird's Eye View: notes from a RailHawks' practice

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First-year RailHawks coach Martin Rennie is ready to introduce his style of play to the area this year. But what exactly is that style of play?

 

Midfielder Brian Plotkin described it as a “quick, clean, attacking style of soccer.”

 

Rennie’s style has been nothing if not successful.

 

In just three years as a coach, he’s gathered Coach of the Year accolades and a USL-D2 championship.

 

I asked the coach how he would describe the style of play he was bringing to the RailHawks this year.

 

“We like to possess the ball as much as we can, we like to press quite high to win the ball back,” Rennie said.

 

“[When] the other team is coming at us we like to win it and  counterattack them at pace. We like to get wide and get crosses in; we like to get guys on the ball in the midfield and see if they can slide players in.”

 

However, Rennie said it would be hard to dictate to the New England Revolution — Saturday's opponent hasn't had nearly the same amount of offseason attrition and has had far more practice time — what it is his team will want to do.

 

As for this offseason’s player movement, there are five weeks left until the regular season begins and the RailHawks aren’t done adding in new talent.

 

“We’re close,” Rennie said of getting his roster to where he wants it. “We’ve got a lot of good players here, definitely.”

 

Out of the 14 announced acquisitions this year, Rennie named two of them, Sallieu Bundu and Josh Gardner, as players who had stood out in practice — adding Bundu plays well with his back to the goal.

 

In Cleveland, Rennie alternated goalies every other game until the last month, and the coach left it up in the air whether he would do the same this year. He also said he hopes to have three good goalkeepers this year.

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About the blogger

J. Mike Blake has been the Sports Editor for The Cary News and Southwest Wake News since October 2008. He holds two "unofficial" NCHSAA records in two different sports - highest career free throw percentage (2-of-2) in basketball and fewest career singles victories (zero. sigh.) for tennis.
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