Just in the nick of time: After seeing the quick decimation of its defense early in the season, a reinforcement has arrived for the Carolina RailHawks.
David Hayes, a veteran of pro soccer since he began his career with D.C. United in 1999, has signed with the club, the RailHawks announced in a press release.
Hayes is coming off three consecutive seasons of being named to the USL-1 all-league team, the first two with the now-on-hiatus Atlanta Silverbacks and last season with the league's best team, the Portland Timbers.
Hayes reportedly retired at the end of last season, but reemerged two weeks ago in a friendly against the Mexican Olympic team. At that time, RailHawks coach Martin Rennie indicated that efforts were being made to sign Hayes.
The RailHawks' problems in the back include left back John Gilkerson's suspension for accruing two yellow cards last Saturday against Miami FC; a knack of unknown severity to right back Greg Shields, who missed the Miami game; and a serious knee injury to Kupono Low that was sustained during a preseason scrimmage against the Charleston Battery.
Add to that Mark Schulte's uncertain form, a niggling injury to holding midfielder Amir Lowery and the inexperience of rookie signing Ramak Safi, and one can understand the RailHawks calling in backup.
The RailHawks return to WakeMed Soccer Park this Friday at 7 p.m. to host Tampa Bay Rowdies.
Full text of press release follows.
CARY, N.C. (Wednesday, May 12, 2010) — The Carolina RailHawks have acquired veteran defender David Hayes, pending U.S. Soccer Federation approval. Hayes could make his WakeMed Soccer Park debut this Friday at 7 p.m., when the RailHawks take on FC Tampa Bay.
“I am very excited to be here,” Hayes said. “To come here and help the RailHawks whenever and wherever needed was a fantastic opportunity. The RailHawks are a great team and being here brings me closer to my wife and children who live in Atlanta.”
A four-time All-American at Charles County Community College (1995-1996) and at Wingate University (1997-1998) , Hayes was drafted by DC United in 1999 beginning an illustrious professional career. After two seasons in DC he was picked up by the Chicago Fire where he had two first team appearances with one goal. After a year in Rochester (2003) and one in Richmond (2004), Hayes signed with the Atlanta Silverbacks where he stayed for four seasons before spending 2009 with the Portland Timbers.
“Everyone knows that David Hayes is one of the best defenders in the league,” said RailHawks coach Martin Rennie. “He led the Portland Timbers during one of their most successful seasons in franchise history and the timing was right for us to bring him on board, given the suspensions and injuries we have."
Hayes will bring depth at left back, where the RailHawks are without John Gilkerson (Red Card Suspension) and Kupono Low (Injury).
Hayes was named to the USL’s All-League First team three years in a row (2007-2009) and earned the 2007 USL-1 Defender of the year award. In 2009 he led the Portland Timbers in games and minutes played tallying two goals and five assists.
The RailHawks return home on Friday to host the Tampa Bay Rowdies at 7 p.m. at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary. The match is presented by Time Warner Cable and all children in attendance will receive RailHawks thunder sticks courtesy of North Carolina’s premier cable company. Tickets ($10, $15 and $20), for the match are available at the LGFCU Box Office, by calling 919-859-5425 or by visiting www.carolinarailhawks.com