TAMPA – United Soccer Leagues announced the USL Second Division’s All-League teams today, awarding Goalkeeper and Rookie of the Year. Finalists for Most Valuable Player, Defender of the Year and Coach of the Year were also named.
All-League First Team
Goalkeeper of the Year – Ronnie Pascale (Richmond Kickers; photo right)
Pascale backstopped the Kickers to a second place regular season finish and ended the campaign atop two of the three key goalkeeping categories. With a 0.900 goals against average, Pascale was just edged out of the GAA Championship by Harrisburg’s Chase Harrison (0.812), but led the league in wins (11) and tied with Harrison for most shutouts with eight.
The longtime Kickers veteran collects the award for the second time, last winning in 2006 while leading the side to that season’s USL Second Division Championship.
Defender - Dustin Bixler (Harrisburg City Islanders)
A five-year veteran of the City Islanders, Bixler makes his first appearance on the All-League First Team after being named to the Second Team in 2008. Having hauled 1161 minutes on the Harrisburg backline, the 26 year-old defender helped the City Islanders post one of the top defensive marks in USL-2 this season.
Defender – Shintaro Harada (Crystal Palace Baltimore)
Playing in his third year with Palace, Harada makes his second appearance on the All-League First Team. A native of Sayama City, Japan, Harada played in all 20 matches for Baltimore this season, helping the backline to the second-best defensive record in the league.
Defender – Yomby William (Richmond Kickers)
The Cameroon native appeared in 18 games for the Kickers in 2009, leading the Richmond backline in surrendering only 18 goals over the course of the season. William also chipped in offensively providing two assists.
Midfielder and Rookie of the Year – Tiyi Shipalane (Harrisburg City Islanders; photo left)
Arriving in Harrisburg after spending three seasons with the PDL’s Michigan Bucks, Shipalane lit the Second Division on fire in his rookie campaign, recording six goals and six assists for the City Islanders. The native of South Africa rode a five-match point streak from April 25 to May 31 and will spend the rest of 2009 on loan with Major League Soccer's DC United.
Midfielder – Kenny Bundy (Wilmington Hammerheads)
In his fourth season with the Hammerheads, Bundy was part of the league’s most potent offense in 2009, recording four goals and nine assists in 20 matches, while helping the club to its first-ever regular season championship. The 2009 season marks the first appearance for Bundy on the All-League First Team, after making the league’s Second Team in 2004.
Midfielder – Mike Burke (Richmond Kickers)
Kickers midfielder Mike Burke makes the All-League First Team for the third straight year, tallying three goals and seven assists while helping the club to a second place finish in 2009.
Midfielder – Jorge Herrera (Charlotte Eagles)
Herrera makes the First Team for his second consecutive season. The midfielder helped the Eagles to the second-highest goal total in USL-2 this season with 40 goals, putting up six goals and six assists of his own.
Forward – Matthew Delicate (Richmond Kickers)
Another in the list of honors for the Englishman, Delicate has already won the Goal Scoring Championship this season, hitting the back of the net 13 times. Appearing in all 20 regular season matches, Delicate provided two assists and finished second in total points with 28.
Forward – Jamie Watson (Wilmington Hammerheads)
Like Delicate, Watson adds the All-League honor to the Scoring Championship he garnered last week. The former U.S. youth international paced the league with 12 goals and six assists, leading the Hammerheads to the regular season championship this season.
All-League Second Team
G – Chase Harrison (Harrisburg City Islanders)
D – Colin Falvey (Wilmington Hammerheads)
D – Sascha Gorres (Richmond Kickers)
D – Andrew Marshall (Crystal Palace Baltimore)
M –Justin Evans (Pittsburgh Riverhounds)
M – Jamie Franks (Wilmington Hammerheads)
M – Amaury Nunes (Charlotte Eagles)
M – Val Teixeira (Crystal Palace Baltimore)
F – Almir Barbosa (Western Mass Pioneers)
F -- Damico Coddington (Bermuda Hogges)
F – Chad Severs (Harrisburg City Islanders)
The finalists for the Defender of the Year, Coach of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards were unveiled as the following:
Defender of the Year: Dustin Bixler (Harrisburg), , Shintaro Harada (Baltimore) and Yomby William (Richmond).
Coach of the Year: David Irving (Wilmington), Leigh Cowlishaw (Richmond), and Bill Becher (Harrisburg).
Most Valuable Player: Jamie Watson (Wilmington) and Matthew Delicate (Richmond).
Award winners will be announced during the Championship Banquet on Friday, August 28. The USL Second Division Championship match will be broadcast Saturday, August 29 at 11:00 pm ET on Fox Soccer Channel.