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Schulte named Defender of the Year
Finalists announced for remaining USL-2 honors

USL News Release

Monday, August 20, 2007

TAMPA, FL – United Soccer Leagues announced the USL Second Division Defender of the Year honor Monday, honoring Mark Schulte of the Cleveland City Stars for his play during the 2007 season. USL also announced the finalists for the Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards.

Schulte also a finalist for Most Valuable Player (Steve Olson)The 2007 USL Second Division Defender of the Year Mark Schulte tallied two goals and four assists while leading the expansion Cleveland City Stars to the fourth one-loss season in the history of the league. He finished the year as one of four players in the league to play every minute of the season, joining Charlotte’s Nelson Akwari, Harrisburg’s Anthony Calvano and New Hampshire’s James Greenslit.

The USL veteran returned after a stint abroad in Iceland, where he played for IBV. He last played in the US for the Columbus Crew in 2005, seeing action in 19 games. Previously, he spent four years with the Minnesota Thunder (2000-03), logging 93 regular season games, after playing one season in the PDL in 1999 with the Twin Cities Tornado.

Schulte’s efforts in guiding the first-year franchise to second place in the regular season standings also put him in contention for the USL Second Division Most Valuable Player honor for 2007.

Joining the defender as finalists for the MVP honor are Richmond Kickers midfielder Mike Burke and Charlotte Eagles forward Jacob Coggins.

The USL-2 Assist Leader with nine on the year, Burke assumed the role of captain upon the mid-season retirement of veteran defender Kevin Knight, finishing the regular season tied for scoring on the team with three goals and nine assists for 15 points. In his eighth season with the Kickers, Burke eclipsed the all-time career assists leaders to hold the sole position in the franchise with 38 assists overall. He continues to reside in third place on the Kickers all-time career points list with 90 (26g, 38a). Burke was a USL-2 First Team honoree and USL-2 Most Valuable Player Finalist en route to the 2006 USL-2 Championship.

After leading the league in points and goals in 2004 and 2005, Coggins saw his numbers drop off last year due to a season-limiting injury, scoring just four goals in 14 games. He made an impressive return in 2007, however, to earn the Scoring and Goal Scoring Championship honors for the third time in four years, finishing the season with 12 goals and 31 points. Coggins became the first player in the 14-year history of the league to earn the scoring honors three times. Luis Orrellana (1998, 1999) and Julio-Cesar Dos Santos (2000, 2002) were the only other players to win the awards twice.

Rookie of the Year Finalists
F – Stephen Astwood (Bermuda Hogges)
F – Damon Ming (Bermuda Hogges)
M – Brian Ombiji (Harrisburg City Islanders)

Coach of the Year Finalists
Bill Becher (Harrisburg City Islanders)
Leigh Cowlishaw (Richmond Kickers)
Martin Rennie (Cleveland City Stars)

The winners of the Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year and Most Valuable Player honors will be announced Friday at the USL-2 Championship Banquet.

2007 USL-2 Championship

The USL Second Division Championship featuring the Richmond Kickers at home defending their title against the Harrisburg City Islanders is Saturday, August 25 at 8:00 pm ET. The game will be broadcast on Fox Soccer Channel on delay at 10:00 pm ET following the MLS match broadcast.

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