CARY, N.C. – The Carolina RailHawks announced today the appointment of Colin Clarke as the North American Soccer League club’s head coach. Clarke joins the RailHawks after a successful stint with NASL rival Puerto Rico Islanders. Per club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.
Clarke began his managerial career in 1998 as the head coach of the Richmond Kickers when he was hired by then Kickers’ General Manager and current RailHawks’ President, Curt Johnson. Over his two seasons in charge he led the Kicker’s to a 38 - 18 record. During the 2003 MLS Season, Clarke took over as head coach of the Dallas Burn (later named FC Dallas) and turned around the club’s fortunes, leading the club to a Western Conference first place finish in 2006. In 2007 Clarke joined the Puerto Rico Islanders. His tenure in Puerto Rico was highlighted by a league regular season championship in 2008 and a historic run to the semifinals of the 2008-2009 CONCACAF Champions League before losing to Cruz Azul in a penalty kick shootout. In 2010 Clarke’s Islanders defeated the RailHawks in the USSF-D2 Pro League Championship Final.
“Coming to Carolina is a very exciting opportunity for me and my family,” said Clarke. “I am very thankful for my time in Puerto Rico and everyone I was able to work with. This is a new challenge and I’m ready to get on the field. This organization has a good history and background and now it’s time to win a championship.”
Prior to coaching, Clarke established himself as one of the top players from Northern Ireland representing the country in the 1986 World Cup and experiencing a twelve-year playing career in England. Clarke began his playing career with Peterborough United of the Football League Fourth Division in 1981 and quickly ascended to England’s First Division spending time with Southampton, Queens Park Rangers, and Portsmouth until a knee injury ended his playing career. Appearing 38 times for the Northern Ireland National Team, Clarke recorded a World Cup goal, a hat-trick, and finished his career as the all-time leading goal scorer for Northern Ireland.
“Colin brings the experience and expertise needed to help our organization to higher levels on and off the field,” said Johnson. “We are thrilled to welcome him to the organization and know he and his family will be an integral part of this community for many years to come.”
On Wednesday, December 7th the RailHawks will host a “Meet the Coach” party at Tir Na nOg Irish Pub in Downtown Raleigh where fans will be able to meet the newly appointed RailHawks Head Coach. The event will begin at 7:00pm with food and drink specials available to all RailHawks’ Fans. The 2012 RailHawks will take the field on March 4th as they face Vancouver Whitecaps F.C. of Major League Soccer at WakeMed Soccer Park. Tickets for the match can be purchased by giving the gift of soccer with a RailHawks Holiday Package starting at $59. For more information on RailHawks Holiday Packages and 2012 Season Tickets visit www.CarolinaRailHawks.com or call the Cruizer’s Box Office 919-459-8144.
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