More muscle signed up in Cary | Sports

More muscle signed up in Cary

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The signing news out of Cary has largely concerned midfielders and forwards, but as Sir Alex Ferguson and Edwin van der Sar can attest, there's no more indispensable component of a winning soccer team than a first-rate back four.

The signings have been slow—and the one announced defensive newcomer, Mark Schulte, had not arrived in camp when we were there Wednesday (although we did see 2008 holdover David Stokes, who is on the roster).

Today the RailHawks announced the signings of defenders Jack Stewart and Jeremy Tolleson, both of whom have been training in Cary this week while awaiting clearance on their contracts from relevant supervising parties. The former is a veteran of the MLS and Norway's first division. The latter was the linchpin of last season's Cleveland City Stars defense, and is the latest in a string of players who've followed Martin Rennie down from C-Town.

Here's the text of the team’s announcement:

Cary, NC (Friday, February 13, 2009) - The Carolina RailHawks announced today the addition of 2008 USL-2 Champion Jeremy Tolleson and former MLS star defender Jack Stewart to the 2009 RailHawks roster pending League and USSF approval. These two defenders are sure to excite the crowds when they make their debut at the "Community Shield" on Saturday, March 14 at 7:00 p.m. against Major League Soccer's New England Revolution. Tickets ($10, $15 and $20) are available now at the LGFCU Box Office, by calling 919-859-KICK (5425) or by visiting www.carolinarailhawks.com .

"Tolleson is a player I have worked with for a long time," said RailHawks Head Coach Martin Rennie "He is a smart player who has consistently been one of the best defenders on the teams I have coached."

"Jack Stewart has played in Major League Soccer for Real Salt Lake and for the Chicago Fire," Rennie continued. "I am really impressed with his athleticism. He is great on the ball and has a lot of potential to play at the highest level."

Jack Stewart is a two-time All-Big East Honoree with Notre Dame who was drafted 10th overall by the Chicago Fire in 2005. While at Chicago he saw action in 14 matches and tallied two goals, one during the season and a game-winning goal in a playoff match against DC United. In 2006 he split his time between the Chicago Fire and Real Salt Lake where he played in every match for the remainder of the season. Overall Stewart has played in 39 Major League Soccer regular season matches recording one goal and one assist. Stewart spent the 2008 season in the AdeccoLigaen (Norway's First Division) with Moss FK and Nybersgund IL.

Jeremy Tolleson started every game of the 2008 USL-2 Champions Cleveland City Stars last year, leading the team in minutes played. He has played on every team RailHawks Head Coach Martin Rennie has worked with starting with the PDL's Cascade Surge. Tolleson was instrumental in helping a defense that only allowed 30 goals in 40 regular season games across two seasons and led the Cleveland City Stars to a USL-2 Championship in 2008.

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