With all of the posturing occuring on the MLS Collective Bargaining Agreement and the mess that is being sorted out with the USL and NASL, it is easy to overlook some big happenings in USL -2 soccer in Pennsylvania.
The Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL – 2) held their 11th Annual Open Tryout on December 5-6. Selected participants will receive a callback to a late February camp with current players and other invitees. Though it may be too late for this year, the Riverhounds have an open tryout every winter where they welcome college players, professionals, and amatuers to show off their skills. Keep it on the calendar if you don’t mind the drive.
The Harrisburg City Islanders (USL – 2) are holding two open tryouts this winter. The first occurred on the weekend of December 17th, and the second is set to be held on January 29th, 2010. For more information on the upcoming tryout, please see the Islanders web site.
USL -2 Alignment & Home Openers
The current USL -2 alignment features Real Maryland Monarchs, Harrisburg City Islanders, Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Charlotte Eagles, Richmond Kickers, and USL-1 refugees the Charleston Battery. Both the Western Mass. Pioneers and Bermuda Hogges have shifted to the PDL for this coming season, while the Wilmington Hammerheads franchise has folded. Crystal Palace Baltimore which had played in the USL – 2, is now tangled in the USL/NASL mess and likely will not feature in USL – 2 this season.
Both Harrisburg and Pittsburgh will open their seasons on April 17th on the road, to Richmond and Real Maryland, respectively. Harrisburg hosts its first home contest against Real Maryland on April 24th, while Pittsburgh must wait until May 2nd when Richmond comes to town to play to the hometown fans. The complete list of home openers for USL -2 is available here.
Notable Transactions –
USL – 2 standout, Tiyi Shipalane, 24, of the Harrisburg City Islanders has been acquired by D.C. United. Shipalane was loaned up after the end of the USL season and competed in 3 CONCACAF Champions League matches for United. While Tiyi is not the first Islander alum to be playing in MLS, he is the first Islander to be bought directly by an MLS side. As per league policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.