The Charleston Battery got some bad news over the weekend when co-leading scorer and 2006 USL 1st Division 1st Team All-League midfielder Ben Hollingsworth broke his foot in the first half of Friday's playoff opener versus Puerto Rico and will be out for the remainder of the postseason.
Hollingsworth underwent surgery to repair the fracture yesterday and is expected to make a full recovery in time for the opening of the 2007 season.
Hollingsworth had 9 goals and 4 assists in 25 games for the Battery this season and tied forward Gavin Glinton for the team lead with 22 points. The 22 points placed Hollingsworth in a tie for fifth in the league in 2006 and his 9 goals were good for sixth in the USL 1st Division in 2006.
Hollingsworth was a 2005 USL 1st Division All-League Second Team defender.
Luke Vercollone replaced Hollingsworth in the Battery's starting midfield in the second leg of Charleston's match up with Puerto Rico. Vercollone is no stranger to a couple of Rhinos as he's been teammates with Connally Edozien with the New England Revolution and Scott Palguta with the Cape Cod Crusaders of the PDL.
2006 USL 1st Division Awards Finalists have been announced
Amazingly, Romario is not one of the finalists for league MVP. But, one of his teammates is.
Zinho, Miami FC's midfield maestro is up for league MVP along with Seattle rookie scoring sensation Cam Weaver and Vancouver's Joey Gjersten.
The three finalists for Defender of the Year are simply the three defenders that were selected to the All-League First Team in Montreal's Gabe Gervais, Vancouver's Geordie Lyall, and Puerto Rico's Mauricio Segovia.
Cam Weaver has to be the frontrunner for the Rookie of the Year. But, he will get a strong challenge from Kenney Bertz, the Rhinos Rookie of the Year, and Portland's Michael Randolph.
And Rhinos head coach Laurie Calloway is a finalist for Coach of the Year going up against Charleston's Mike Anhauser and Montreal's Nick DeSantis.
My guess is that Zinho will get the MVP, Gervais will be named Defender of the Year, Weaver will get Rookie of the Year, and Anhauser will get Coach of the Year.
Red Bull Park groundbreaking took place on Tuesday
In the summer of 2008, the New York Red Bulls will open up their amazing new stadium in Harrison, NJ. And while the stadium looks to set the high-water mark for soccer stadiums in the United States, I sure hope that they get everything right.
As we've seen in places like Chicago and here in Rochester, you can not merely throw the doors open at a new soccer stadium and expect throngs of fans to flow through the gates.
Red Bull and AEG are putting up huge amounts of money to make this happen. There are reports that the stadium will cost as much as $220 million to construct. And while there is a public piece to the financing, AEG and Red Bull are kicking in a large portion of the funding.
So while Red Bull Park has the potential to be the greatest thing to happen to US Soccer since the Home Depot Center opened. It also has the potential to be the worst thing that has happened to US Soccer if the Red Bulls can't figure out a way to draw fans to their games on a more consistent basis.
This season the Red Bulls have averaged fewer than 9,000 fans per game after taking away the home opener that featured musical performances by Shakira and Wyclef Jean and the crowd of over 50,000 that came largely to see the second half of a doubleheader that featured Ecuador and Colombia in a World Cup tune up match.
If the Red Bulls can't figure out a way to consistently get crowds of 15,000 plus at Red Bull Park starting in the summer of 2008, it could turn a huge positive into a huge negative.
Toronto FC has sold the naming rights to their new stadium
Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment has announced that BMO Financial Group has entered into a 10 year naming rights agreement for the new soccer specific stadium that will open in 2007 and be the home of the newest MLS team in Toronto FC.
BMO Field is set to open next spring and not only serve as the home for Toronto FC, but also host 13 games in next year's FIFA U-20 World Cup in July, including the final.
BMO Field will also feature a winter bubble that will allow the 20,000 seat stadium to be used year round.
Shalrie Joseph injured in bar fight
Is there an MLS jinx?
First, Eddie Johnson starts getting hurt after MLS turned down a transfer offer from Benfica for the US International forward and now New England Revolution midfielder Shalrie Joseph has tendon and nerve damage in his right hand that needed surgery after falling down during a bar fight and cutting up his hand on glass that was on the bar room floor.
It will be interesting to see if Joseph can recover in time for the MLS stretch run and if this injury affects his transfer value when European clubs can come calling again in the new year.
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