by Neil Morris
As previously reported earlier this week, Carolina’s Director of Operations David Vaught confirmed that Enzo Martinez has joined the RailHawks on loan from Real Salt Lake. Martinez arrived in RailHawks’ camp on Wednesday and could be eligible for this weekend’s road match against Minnesota United FC, one of three teams tied atop the NASL table.
The 22-year-old Martinez was a first-round pick by Real Salt Lake in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft after leaving UNC-Chapel Hill after his junior season to sign a Generation adidas professional contract. Since arriving in Utah, however, Martinez has yet to make his first-team MLS debut. He has appeared in seven reserve games this year, mostly as a defensive midfielder.
Martinez was a member of the Tar Heels’ 2011 men’s soccer national championship squad. However, there are a couple of other connections behind this loan. While in college, Martinez played for the RailHawks U-23s team that won the 2011 USASA U-23 National Cup. The RailHawks U-23s’ coach is Dewan Bader, who remains assistant coach for the RailHawks’ senior squad. In addition, RSL Head Coach Jason Kreis played two seasons in 2003-04 for the Dallas Burn (later FC Dallas) under then-head coach Colin Clarke, who is now the RailHawks’ gaffer.
Although the Martinez deal has been reported as a short-term loan, Vaught said the arrangement could lengthen depending on circumstances and performance.
Vaught also confirmed the imminent arrival of Kevin Rutkiewicz, a 32-year-old Scottish defender who just completed his season with Greenock Morton in the Scottish First Division. Rutkiewicz is expected to arrive in RailHawks camp next week and feature at center back, further bolstering Carolina’s back line.
Also, the RailHawks are working to ink a contract with striker César Elizondo, who has been training in Carolina for several weeks. The 25-year-old Elizondo has played for Saprissa in his native Costa Rica since 2007. He also has 10 caps for the Costa Rican senior national team.
Vaught says the RailHawks must finalize their request for Elizondo’s International Clearance Process (ITC) before the international transfer window closes Monday evening in order to sign him.