Raleigh

NC State settles with Keatts

 

By: Trey Walker


Friday afternoon, a new era began for Wolfpack basketball. A team with a once unstable future has finally found someone to bring some stability in former UNCW head coach, Kevin Keatts. And people already love him.

Keatts

Kevin Keatts spent the last 3 seasons at UNCW (PC: wralsportsfan)

Who is this guy?

That’s a great question. Kevin Keatts has held coaching positions all over the place: Southwestern Michigan College, Hargrave, and Marshall, but his most recent pit stop was at UNCW, where he successfully turned an ailing program into a back-to-back NCAA tournament qualifier and powerhouse in the Colonial Athletic Conference. Before Wilmington, Keatts was the Associate Head Coach under Rick Pitino at Louisville, where he was apart of the 2013 national championship.

What is he going to change? What does he do well?

Recruiting. This dude kills the recruiting game. Mark Gottfried didn’t struggle to land big time recruits, and Keatts shouldn’t have a problem continuing that trend. During his time at Louisville, he compiled 2 top-10 recruiting classes.

Bottom line: This was a great hire for the Wolfpack. Keatts is young, energetic, structured, and has been successful everywhere he has coached. As far as returning talent, the future is uncertain. Omer Yurtseven has declared that he will test his possibilities, Abdul-Malik Abu’s return is again in question, and DSJ is packing his bags. I believe that after he gets his system installed, Keatts can make NC State competitive again, and put the program back on the map.

NCFC agrees to historic merger

By: Trey Walker


North Carolina FC continues to prove to the MLS why they are worthy of the MLS bid they seek. This afternoon, the soccer club agreed to a “Strategic Collaboration” with youth programs: Capital Area Soccer League(CASL) and Triangle Futbol Club Alliance(TFCA). This new agreement has forged what is now the largest youth development league in the country.

In the past, CASL had been sponsored by Chelsea Football Club (England) and most recently have maintained a relationship with the Carolina Railhawks. This merger will grow to what is already a successful youth development league. Since 2013, the Railhawks Academy has churned out college talent, graduating 71 players to the collegiate ranks. NCFC’s owner Steve Malik, believes that this move is pivotal in his organizations MLS campaign.

“North Carolina FC Youth will be home to more than 13,500 youth players and will be a key positive differentiator in our already strong Major League Soccer bid. The collaboration shows the unified and powerful support of soccer at all levels in our area. I want to personally thank the visionary leadership of CASL and TFCA for their work in accomplishing this goal.” – Steve Malik

Although this transaction takes place on the youth level, it is worth of your attention. Steve Malik and company are really laying it all out there to try to snag the MLS bid, and they may just get it….

 

Railhawks Draw Hammers in Sellout Crowd

By: Trey Walker


Wakemed Soccer Park:  Cary, NC                                   July 12, 2016

For the first time ever, a British Premier League team made a trip to the Triangle for a friendly. High hopes surrounded this match, as it was the first ever sellout in Railhawks history (10,125 people were in attendance).  Prior to the match, fans enjoyed food and festivities outside the stadium. The sun set behind the east stand and at 8, arguably Carolina’s most important match ever began.

Initially, the momentum of the game didn’t really favor either West Ham or Carolina, defensive stops resulted in counterattacks that sailed off target or were turned over.

Until the 13th minute.

Carolina had pushed the ball onto the Hammers side of the field, where a wingman crossed the rock over to forward Matt Fondy for a shot on goal.

In attempt to clear the ball out, West Ham defender, Winston Reid, slid near the goal and in front of Fondy, and took a bad touch. The ball slipped past the goalie for an own goal. Suddenly fireworks shot up, and the crowd went absolutely berserk, for their 5 to 1 underdog Railhawks had just taken a 1-0 lead over an elite Premier League team.

Fans really expressed their pride after the own goal. One man sitting close shouted, “Reid is our best player!”

Play shortly resumed, and it did not take long for the Hammers to earn back what they had lost. Ironically, Winston Reid(Guess he learned which goal to shoot on) scored the equalizer for West Ham in the 17th minute.

West Ham took advantage of the momentum swing, and in the 20th minute, notched one more goal before the half off of a nice shot from forward Andy Carroll.

Once the whistle blew for halftime, the PA announcer informed the fans to stay in their seats and await an “important announcement”. Then Railhawks owner, Steve Malik, and the play by play announcer approached midfield and stopped in front of a press conference back-drop.

The crowd fell silent awaiting the big news.

Steve Malik took the mic and happily informed the fans that the Railhawks had just signed Mexican International Team star, Omar Bravo, who he believed to be the biggest front office move in franchise history. Bravo emerged from the tunnel and received a warm welcome from his fans. He is the all-time leading scorer at his former club, Cd Chivas Guadalajara, and should be a great scorer for the Railhawks.

IMG_2833.JPG

Bravo being signed at Wakemed.

A slew of substitutions occurred before the teams continued to play in the second half. Both teams looked a little sluggish coming out of the break, and players started to get a little chippy with one another.

Rain started to fall in the early moments of the half, and in the 62nd minute, the referee decided to postpone the game after spotting lightning. Fans were forced to evacuate the stadium. Many fled to their cars and headed home.

In their last important homestand (against the New England Revolution of the MLS), the Railhawks fell victim of inclement weather(the game was called due to lightning) and they were not about to let that happen again.

After about a 45 minute delay, the match finally resumed. Despite taking a break, the fans didn’t fail to keep it rowdy.

As time waned, the Railhawks started to take chances, as it was becoming evident that a draw was a more plausible outcome than a victory.

In the 67th minute, Marvin Ceballos was rewarded a penalty kick after a West Ham defender committed a hand ball inside of the box, and easily scored the tying goal.

No team had complete control for the rest of the game, it was evenly matched. When the referee blew the final whistle, the soaked, exhausted, dirty players applauded their keeper and the crowd.

This game was a great step forward for soccer in the Triangle. Carolina proved that they can hang with high caliber competition, and the Triangle proved that they will show out for matches.

Thanks to our sponsor: 

Beloved Coach Dies at 58

By: Trey Walker


Late Friday night, Don Horton, a former assistant football coach for NC State and Boston College, passed away. Coach Horton had been battling Parkinson’s disease for almost 10 years.

Don BC

Horton with Boston College      PC:dailymail.com

Horton will be remembered as a man who loved his family and cared for his players. During his coaching tenure, he coached in many bowl games and sent 15 lineman to play on Sunday.

A native of Cincinnati, Don’s love for football developed at a young age. He played offensive line in high school at Indian Hill High, and in college at Wittenberg(Ohio).

After graduating from Wittenberg, Coach Horton’s first gig as a coach came when he was asked to be a Graduate Assistant at Ohio State University. His love for coaching led him to get other opportunities on the coaching staffs of Southern Illinois, New Mexico State, Virginia, and Wittenberg.

In 1997, Tom O’Brien was hired as the head coach for Boston College, replacing Dan Henning. Horton was appointed as the Offensive Line Coach under O’Brien’s new regime. The two stuck together(from BC to NCSU) until Coach Horton took an administrative position in May of 2012. Horton had quite an impressive resume in his time with the O’Brien administration…

Coach Horton by the Numbers:

– 15 NFL lineman coached

– .695% overall winning percentage at NC State and Boston College

– 8 bowl victories

-1 conference title*

Many of his former players have expressed how influential Horton was in their lives: on and off the field:

“In a football world where players are treated as numbers, you treated us as people, and stood out” said former Boston College running back, Ryan Utzler, on Horton.

Horton is survived by his 2 loving daughters, Libby and Hadley, and his wife Maura.

You will be missed Coach Horton!

*This is a Big East title, for Boston College was not annexed into the ACC until the following season

Raleigh lands EPL Matchup

By: Trey Walker

It’s a date! West Ham United F.C. will cross the pond for a friendly with the Carolina Railhawks on July 12th, at Wakemed Soccer Park. This will be the first English Premier League team to play against the Railhawks in the Triangle.

Railhawks Nasl

The “Hammers” will be a different level of competition than the Railhawks are used to PC:NASL

West Ham officials traveled to Raleigh recently to inspect the venue, and were quite pleased with what they saw. Felicity Barnard (Commercial Director for West Ham) expressed her enthusiasm about this match in an interview with WNCN, “We know that soccer in this country (United States) is booming. It’s a fantastic growth sport on a huge trajectory and we want to capitalize on that as a Premier League team. So by bringing the live experience of a Premier League team over to a country like this allows the fans to touch and feel the game”.

Wakemed Soccer Park is no stranger to big time events like these. They have hosted international men and women’s friendlies for Team USA and the College Cup many times. OT Sports will be at this event, and you should join in on the action. Tickets are on presale now, but they will be available for general admission on May 23rd. Check out the Railhawks site for more info at: http://www.carolinarailhawks.com .

Chapman signs with CBA team

 

By: Trey Walker

Raleigh native and former Enloe standout point guard Emanuel “Poobie” Chapman has recently inked a new deal with the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association. Chapman left Raleigh on Monday, March 28th to go to a one week team camp and to prepare for the upcoming season

This is a relief for Chapman, for he had been trying to find a home overseas to continue playing basketball. In the fall of 2014, the 6’1” baller reportedly signed with SKP Banska Bystrica of the Slovenian Basketball League, but never actually suited up for the club.

Last season, the Shanghai Sharks finished with an 18-20 record in the CBA and captured the 11th place in the overall standings. The Sharks were recently purchased by former Rockets Center and Hall of Fame member Yao Ming after the team came upon dire financial needs.

Chapman is a beloved figure in the community and in NCCU basketball history. During his stint with the Eagles, he dished out the most assists in school history(617), and netted the 2nd most career steals in Central’s history(173).