Rob Kinnan / Courtesy of Carolina RailHawks
RailHawks manager Colin Clarke
The Carolina RailHawks announced today
that the club has agreed to terms with head coach Colin Clarke for the 52-year-old Ulsterman to remain manager of the Cary-based soccer team.
Clarke’s new contract is described as a “multi-year deal,” although no further details were disclosed by the club. Clarke coached the 2014 season in the final year of his original three-year contract with Carolina. This is new deal will make Clarke the longest tenure coach in RailHawks franchise history.
Clarke took charge of Carolina in 2012 after a five-season stint as manager of the Puerto Rico Islanders, where he won the 2010 USSF D2 Pro League title. In three seasons as the RailHawks’ gaffer, Clarke has an combined regular season record of 33 wins, 22 draw and 26 losses. Of the seven members of the North American Soccer League (NASL) competing in each of the last three regular seasons, only the San Antonio Scorpions (43) and Minnesota United FC (41.1) averaged more points per year than the RailHawks (40.3). Carolina finished with the best overall record over the 2013 NASL regular season.
Moreover, in each of Clarke’s three seasons in Carolina, the team has made impressive runs in the annual Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, advancing to the Cup’s quarterfinal round in 2013 and 2014. Indeed, the RailHawks have defeated Major League Soccer’s L.A. Galaxy in Open Cup competition for three consecutive years.
However, the one piece of hardware still eluding Clarke in Carolina is the one he vowed to attain when he first arrived
: a league championship.
“I am very happy to be coming back to the RailHawks,” Clarke said in a statement. “I want to thank our owner Traffic Sports USA and team President Curt Johnson for the faith they showed in me and the opportunity they are giving me to continue the work we started in 2011. I am looking forward to the opportunity to further build the franchise and the brand. We’ve had a lot of success over the last three years, but our ultimate goal of winning The Championship has eluded us. I assure our great supporters that my staff and I will do everything possible to bring a championship back to the Triangle.”