Raleigh area program links up with RailHawks, ending Chelsea deal

[CASL] The Capital Area Soccer League is ending its affiliation with English club Chelsea and partnering with the NASL's Carolina RailHawks next season. The RailHawks have agreed to a substantial three-year annual funding commitment to help make the Academy free to all of its players. CASL's teams that compete in the Development Academy and ECNL will play as the Capital Area RailHawks and wear the official adidas uniforms of the RailHawks.

CASL CEO Charlie Slagle says the goal of the program will be to "attract the highest caliber players possible regardless of their previous club affiliation.”

CASL described the move away from its affiliation with Chelsea as driven by the growth of American professional soccer and more specifically the growth and success of the RailHawks.

“I am very excited about this new program since a number of former CASL players have signed professional contracts with the RailHawks, other teams in the NASL, as well as teams in MLS," RailHawks head coach Colin Clarke said in a statement. “Our collaboration with CASL in this new program creates a realistic development model for players who someday wish to compete at the professional level.”

Newly appointed Capital Area RailHawks Academy Director John Bradford also serves as an assistant coach with the Carolina RailHawks.

CASL was ranked eighth (boys) and ninth (girls) in Soccer America's 2012 Best Youth Clubs rankings.

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