The missing pieces of the RailHawks 2009 roster are falling into place.
Today, the team announced the signing of three players who have been making strong impressions in the preseason: 21-year-old goalkeeper Caleb Patterson Sewell, who has manned the goal for two halves of the two friendlies we've seen; Devon McKenney, who has been starting at right back; and Amir Lowery, who has put in impressive performances in the rear of the midfield. The text of the press release is after the jump.
In other USL-1 news, the league confirmed that there will be an expansion franchise in New York beginning next season. The new team will play in the 13,000-seat stadium at Hofstra University in Hempstead, Long Island, just outside of Queens. The league claims this will take the USL-1 to 13 teams, but they seem to be assuming that there will continue to be USL teams in Portland and Vancouver after this season (the MLS has awarded franchises to both cities). Tampa Bay will also begin play next year as the Rowdies. The league's announcement is here.
Cary, NC (Wednesday, April 01, 2009) - The Carolina RailHawks announced today the addition of goalkeeper Caleb Patterson Sewell, midfielder Amir Lowery and defender Devon McKenney to the 2009 roster pending League and USSF approval. Fans will have a chance to see these great players in action on opening day, Saturday April 11, at 7:00 p.m. as the RailHawks host the Minnesota Thunder at WakeMed Soccer Park. individual tickets ($10, $15 and $20) are available at the LGFCU Box Office, by calling 919-859-KICK (5425) or by visiting www.carolinarailhawks.com
"All three players have proven themselves at training camp," said RailHawks Head Coach Martin Rennie. "They are proven professionals who played for some great clubs and have MLS experience. They are going to be an important part of what we are trying to build here on and off the field."
Born in Tennessee, Sewell began his youth career in Australia in the Toowoomba Raiders youth system. He was quickly noticed by Belgian powerhouse Anderlecht who invited him to join their reserve side in 2004. By the end of 2004, Sewell was playing with Sheffield Wednesday in England before transferring into Liverpool's youth squad in 2005. He played in four reserve matches with Liverpool before returning to Australia. In 2007 he signed with the Cleveland City Stars and helped the USL-2 side qualify for their first ever US Open Cup. Sewell spent the 2008 season with the New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer and made his MLS debut in an international friendly against Barcelona in August of 2008. Sewell made an impact already for the RailHawks with a spectacular 84th minute save in the "Community Shield" match against the New England Revolution on March 14.
A two-time All-ACC selection with Wake Forest, Lowery was drafted by the Colorado Rapids in the 2005 Major League Soccer Superdraft with the 45th pick overall. While in Colorado he made two first team appearances and 11 reserve appearances. In 2007 he transferred to the Kansas City Wizards where he saw action in 13 reserve matches. In May 2008, Lowery was acquired by the San Jose' Earthquakes and spent the rest of 2008 under the direction of Coach Frank Yallop. Lowery made his RailHawks debut at midfield against the New England Revolution and quickly stood out with his impressive skill and stature.
Devon McKenney is a native of North Olmstead, OH and spent his collegiate career at the University of Akron. He was an All-MAC Second Team Selection his sophomore year and was a mainstay in the Zips' defense throughout his collegiate career. McKenney spent 2008 with the Columbus Crew reserves where he caught the eye of RailHawks Head Coach Martin Rennie who invited him to training camp this season.