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New champion to be crowned
by Paul Kennedy, April 17th, 2009 7AM
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[USL-2 PREVIEW] A new USL Second Division champion will be crowned following the promotion of last year's winners, the Cleveland City Stars, to the USL-1. The contenders include Charlotte, Richmond, Crystal Palace Baltimore and Harrisburg. Here's a look at the nine teams in order of last year's finish ...

Charlotte Eagles. The 2007 MVP and scoring champion Jacob Coggins is back after spending 2008 in the USL-1. All-League selections Brady Bryant, Jorge Herrera, Steve Shak and 2008 league MVP Dustin Swinehart also return.

Richmond Kickers. All-leaguer picks Mike Burke, Sascha Gorres, and Ronnie Pascale are back. The Kickers have been aggressive on the player market, adding Kenny Cutler from MLS's Real Salt Lake and Matthew Delicate (Rochester), Joey Worthen (Carolina), Ross MacKenzie (Carolina), Luke Vercollone (Charleston) and Yomby William (Puerto Rico) from the USL-1.

Crystal Palace Baltimore. Baltimore has signed Bermuda international John Barry Nusum from the Hogges. Other acquisitions: American Zach Flores played for Bolivia's The Strongest and Bolivar in the Libertadores Cup, while South Florida speedster Jordan Seabrook was taken by Colorado Rapids in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft. Olawale Adelusimi helped guide the Thunder Bay Chill to the 2008 PDL championship.

Harrisburg City Islanders. Returning players include Dustin Bixler and Mo Oduor, all-leaguer picks from the past two years. The newcomers include Michigan Bucks star Ty Shipalane from the PDL.

Western Mass Pioneers. Veterans in camp included all-league selections Jeff Deren, Federico Molinari and Jay Willis. Rookies include former Central Connecticut State stars Yan Klukowski and David Tyrie.

Wilmington Hammerheads. Striker Christopher Bagley returned after a stint with the USL-1 Portland Timbers. Other USL-1 signings are Steven Curfman (Carolina) and Daryl Sattler (Atlanta). Coming by way of MLS are Rusty Pierce (Columbus) and Jamie Watson (FC Dallas).

Pittsburgh Riverhounds. The Riverhounds loaned Greg Janicki and Thabiso Khumalo to MLS's D.C. United late last season. New signing Sean Cameron spent the past two years with Atlanta and Miami in the USL First Division.

Bermuda Hogges. Damon Ming, who led the team in scoring with four goals and four assists, will take on a more important role with the departure of Nusum to Crystal Palace Baltimore.

Real Maryland Monarchs. Real Maryland signed Jeff Carroll, Patrick Carroll and Ryan Cordeiro from D.C. United and Justin Hughes of the Colorado Rapids.


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