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Carolina RailHawks FC
Railhawks logo.png
Full name Carolina RailHawks FC
Nickname(s) The RailHawks
Founded 2006
Stadium WakeMed Soccer Park
Cary, North Carolina
(Capacity: 7,130)
Owners United States Brian Wellman
United States Selby Wellman
Canada Bob Young
Head Coach Scotland Martin Rennie
League USSF D2 Pro League
2009 (USL1) Regular Season: 2nd
Playoffs: Quarter Finals
Home colors
Away colors
RailHawks fans celebrate their team's 2007 Southern Derby Championship on August 17, 2007 at SAS Soccer Park

Carolina RailHawks FC is an American professional soccer team based in Cary, North Carolina, United States. Founded in 2006, the team plays in the NASL Division of the USSF D2 Pro League, the second tier of the American Soccer Pyramid. The USSFD2 is a temporary professional soccer league created by the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) in 2010 to last just one season, as a temporary compromise between the feuding United Soccer Leagues (USL) and the North American Soccer League (NASL).

The team plays its home games at WakeMed Soccer Park, where they have played since 2007. The team's colors are orange, white and blue. Their current head coach is Scotsman Martin Rennie.



The expansion of the USL to Cary, NC was announced on January 26, 2006 at a press conference at SAS Soccer Park (since renamed WakeMed Soccer Park). After a few changes in the 2008 off season the RailHawks ownership group now consists of: Wellman Family Limited partnership (Selby and Brian Wellman), HTCFC. INC (Bob Young former CEO of Red Hat, presently founder and CEO of, Singh Holdings (Dr. H. Paul Singh) and Boris Jerkunica.

The team's official name was announced on July 19, 2006 at the halftime interval of the 2006 USL All-Star Match. The RailHawk is a fictitious bird of prey that combines the speed and power of the locomotive with the aggressive and fierce nature of a hawk. Cary originally grew out from a depot on the New Bern, NC - Hillsborough, NC rail line and the CSX and Amtrak lines run directly across from the team's grounds. Hawks are indigenous to the area. The name "RailHawks" was chosen as part of a name-the-team contest which was won by W. Jarrett Campbell, a soccer blogger and founder of the Triangle Soccer Fanatics, the team's independent supporters club[1]. Campbell received two lifetime season tickets as his prize.

On October 11, 2006, former Rochester Rhinos defender Scott Schweitzer was named the first head coach of the RailHawks. Schweitzer played collegiately at North Carolina State University and retired from play prior to the 2006 season.

On December 5, 2006, the RailHawks named the first players to sign with the franchise. Among the signings were two former UNC Tar Heel players, Chris Carrieri and Caleb Norkus, as well as several other players with Major League Soccer, United Soccer Leagues, and foreign playing experience.

On March 6, 2007, the RailHawks formed a parternship with the Next Level Academy (NLA) and the Capital Area Soccer League (CASL) to develop the youth system in the Triangle Area of North Carolina. Youth teams that currently participate under the CASL name in the Super Y-League (boys and girls 13-16) would play under the name CASL RailHawks. Also, the Raleigh Elite, who was operated by the NLA as a member of the USL Premier Development League, became the U23 team of the RailHawks program. Their name was changed to the Cary RailHawks U23's. In addition, two Super-20 League teams were launched (one for men, one for women) in 2008.[2].

The club launched their inaugural season on April 21, 2007, in front of a crowd of 6,327 at SAS Soccer Park when they drew 1-1 with the Minnesota Thunder in their first official regular season match. Midfielder Kupono Low scored the first goal in franchise history when he blasted 24-yard left-footed shot past Thunder keeper Joe Warren in the 8th minute of the inaugural match.[3] On May 8, 2007, the RailHawks earned their first franchise victory 2-0 against Chivas USA in an exhibition match.

On August 14, 2007, with a 3-0 victory over the Charleston Battery, the RailHawks secured their first piece of silverware, the 2007 Southern Derby Cup, with one match remaining in the contest. The RailHawks finished their first USL-1 season in 8th place in the league table, securing the league's final playoff spot on the last day of the regular season with a 2-0 victory away over fellow expansion franchise the California Victory. The RailHawks were eliminated from the playoff quarterfinals by the eventual league champion Seattle Sounders.

In November 2009 the RailHawks announced their intent to leave the USL First Division to become the co-founders of a new North American Soccer League, which would begin play in 2010. The league, which has yet to be sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation or the Canadian Soccer Association, would also comprise the Atlanta Silverbacks, Crystal Palace Baltimore, Miami FC, Minnesota Thunder, Montreal Impact, Tampa Bay Rowdies, Vancouver Whitecaps and a brand new team led by St. Louis Soccer United.[4]

After lawsuits were filed and heated press statements exchanged, the USSF declared they would sanction neither league for the coming year, and ordered both to work together on a plan to temporarily allow their teams to play a 2010 season. The interim solution was announced on January 7, 2010 with the USSF running the new USSF D-2 league comprising clubs from both USL-1 and NASL.[5]



Current roster

as of October 22, 2009[6]

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 United States GK Nicolas Platter
2 Scotland DF Greg Shields
3 Puerto Rico MF Kupono Low
8 England MF Matthew Watson
10 United States MF Brian Plotkin
11 United States MF Daniel Paladini
12 United States DF Caleb Norkus
13 United States DF Mark Schulte (captain)
17 Zimbabwe MF Joseph Kabwe
No. Position Player
20 Guyana FW Gregory Richardson
23 United States GK Eric Reed
25 United States DF Amir Lowery
33 Ukraine FW Andriy Budnyi
Malta FW Etienne Barbara
United States DF Matt Bobo
United States MF Floyd Franks
Japan MF Jun Marques Davidson
United States DF Ramak Safi


  • Scotland Martin Rennie - Head Coach
  • Scotland Brian Irvine - Assistant Coach
  • England Richard Huxford - Assistant Coach
  • England Paul Coleman - Equipment Manager
  • United States Lizy Coleman - Head Trainer
  • United States Ginny Williams - Assistant Trainer
  • United States Amy Arundale - Student Trainer
  • United States Jonathan Chappell - Physician
  • United States Todd Staker - Chiropractor


Year Division League Reg. Season Playoffs Open Cup Avg. Attendance
2007 2 USL First Division 8th Quarter Finals Semi Finals 4,962
2008 2 USL First Division 8th Did not qualify 3rd Round 3,869
2009 2 USL First Division 2nd Quarter Finals 2nd Round 2,943
2010 2 USSF Division 2


Head coaches


Club Rivalries

Charleston Battery and Atlanta Silverbacks Upon entering the USL First Division, the RailHawks also joined the Southern Derby, renewing a rivalry first started in 2000 between supporters of the Charleston Battery, Atlanta Silverbacks, and the Raleigh Capital Express. By winning the Southern Derby Cup in their inaugural season, the RailHawks became the first Triangle-area team to hold the Cup since 2000 when Raleigh won the cup 3-1-0 over the Silverbacks and Battery in the Derby's first season.

The rivalry between the three clubs is further fueled by the fact that current RailHawks coach Scott Schweitzer earned a reputation among Battery supporters as the defender they love to hate during his time as a player for Rochester Rhinos and current Atlanta Silverbacks owner Boris Jerkunica has a partial ownership stake in the RailHawks franchise.

The Railhawks (orange) vs. the Rochester Rhinos (black/white/yellow) on 6 July 2007 at PAETEC Park

Rochester Rhinos A rivalry developed between the RailHawks and Rochester Rhinos due to the close financial and player ties between the two organizations. Current RailHawks GM Chris Economides held the same position with the Rhinos before departing for Cary, and former Rhinos President Frank DuRoss and CEO Steve Donner were part of the original ownership group. In addition, RailHawks coach Scott Schweitzer was a captain and fan favorite of the Rhinos, and RailHawks captain Frank Sanfilippo and forward Connally Edozien are former Rhinos players.

Puerto Rico Islanders The Carolina RailHawks and Puerto Rico Islanders have a rivalry brewing among the two clubs. Although Islanders supporters were not pleased when the RailHawks revealed orange and blue kit colors (selected because the combination isn't used by any other Triangle area sports teams, although coincidentally the same colors sported by the Islanders), the rivalry begun in earnest when Islanders President Andrés Guillemard-Noble accused the RailHawks of piracy[7] in the signing of Islanders' free agent Caleb Norkus. While the club executive insists that the Islanders had a verbal agreement with Norkus to return to Puerto Rico for the 2007 season, the player refutes that accusation[8], saying the two sides never reached terms and cites the lack of an offered written contract as evidence of their lack of agreement.


External links


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