Carolina RailHawks head coach Colin Clarke has added 17-year old defender Conor Donovan to the Carolina RailHawks roster for their NASL finale on Saturday, November 2nd at WakeMed Soccer Park. Donovan, from Fuquay-Varina, is a member of the U-17/18 Capital Area RailHawks of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy and recently appeared for the U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team.
“Conor has been involved in our professional training sessions for some time,” said Clarke. “This is an opportunity that he has earned with his play on the field and dedication to the game. We are excited to give Conor this opportunity.”
Donovan, who has appeared in 35 matches with the U-17 and U-18 U.S. Men’s National Teams, is expected to be included in the 18-man roster on Saturday. During his time with the U.S. Youth National Teams, Donovan has participated in the CONCACAF U-17 Championships in Panama and the Limoges Tournament in France with the U-18’s.
“Conor is truly a product of our soccer community and represents all that is right about youth development in North Carolina,” said RailHawks President Curt Johnson. “He has a bright future.”
The Capital Area RailHawks is a collaboration between the Capital Area Soccer League and the RailHawks for U.S. Soccer Development Academy teams in the U-13/14, U-15/16 and U-17/18 age groups and is designed to attract the highest caliber players and coaches possible, regardless of their previous club affiliations.
U-17/18 Academy players Dre Fortune and Evan Krause have also been identified as players deserving of the opportunity to train with the RailHawks professional squad and be exposed to a professional training environment. Fortune and Krause are available for selection to Saturday’s 18-man roster, but are not expected to appear.
“I’m extremely proud of this accomplishment for Conor, for the Capital Area RailHawks Academy, as well as for soccer development in our community,” said John Bradford, Capital Area RailHawks Academy Director. “We have had several Academy players in training with the Carolina RailHawks and to have Conor selected for a match day roster with the First Team, is truly a remarkable success. All of our players in the Capital Area RailHawks Academy have aspirations to play soccer professionally and this gives a tangible example of the Academy’s professional development pathway with the Carolina RailHawks. I’d like to thank Coach Clarke and the Carolina RailHawks staff and administration, as well as all of the leadership in CASL for their collective, continued support of the Academy. I’d also like to recognize Henry Gutierrez and Dewan Bader of NC Alliance Soccer Club, as they have certainly been instrumental in Conor’s development. Best of luck to the RailHawks and Conor this Saturday as they look to remain unbeaten at home and capture the regular season championship.”
Donovan began playing soccer in the Fuquay Varina Athletic Association (FVAA) and later joined the North Carolina Alliance. Former U.S. National Team and Major League Soccer player, Henry Gutierrez, was instrumental in his development.
"I want to congratulate Conor on this wonderful achievement,” said Gutierrez, Director of Coaching at FVAA and NC Alliance. “We at NC Alliance are extremely proud of having had Conor don our jersey. Personally, I am extremely privileged to have had the chance to be involved in his development. I'm sure, if given the chance to play Saturday, he will make not only his family proud, but he will make the Carolina RailHawks proud."
Academy players are eligible to train and play with professional soccer players prior to their enrollment in college and keep their NCAA eligibility. Fortune, Krause and Donovan were added as amateur players on the RailHawks roster prior to the roster freeze date on October 22nd. Donovan has committed to join the NC State Wolfpack Men’s Soccer program next Fall.
Donovan and the RailHawks will take the field in the final weekend of the NASL regular season on Saturday, November 2nd at WakeMed Soccer Park when they host the San Antonio Scorpions at 7:30pm. The first 1,500 fans through the gates will receive a 2013 RailHawks team poster for Fan Appreciation Night. The night will also include RailHawks Team Awards handed out prior to the match and merchandise and concession specials including 25% off all authentic RailHawks jerseys and $3 Long Hammer beer. For tickets and more information call the St. Lawrence Homes Box Office at (919) 459-8144 or visit www.CarolinaRailHawks.com.
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