USL First Division All-Star game returns

TAMPA, Fla. – United Soccer Leagues and Triangle Professional Soccer announced today the addition of a USL First Division All Star match against English Coca-Cola Championship League side Sheffield Wednesday in Cary, North Carolina on Wednesday, July 19 at SAS Soccer Park.

“We are excited about the return of the USL First Division All Star game,” said USL Director of Pro League Operations Steven Thompson. “The level of talent and stars in the USL First Division has grown tremendously since 1999 and the return of a showcase event like this is overdue.”

The match marks the return of the All Star game. The game was previously held three times with Rochester hosting the East versus West game in 1997, Hershey hosting the All Stars versus Hershey Wildcats match in 1998 and Virginia Beach hosting the All Stars versus the Virginia Beach Mariners in 1999.

Unbeaten in their last four league matches and with one loss in their last nine, Sheffield Wednesday closed out the 2005-06 campaign in the Coca-Cola Championship, England’s second division, over the weekend with a 2-0 victory over Derby to finish the season 13-20-13 (W-L-D). It was the club’s first season back after spending two campaigns in League One, the third division. The team leaders in scoring were Chris Brunt and Marcus Tudgay and features American defender Frankie Simek, who saw action in 42 games and scored one goal.

Founded in 1867, Sheffield Wednesday is the fifth oldest professional soccer club in England and goes by the nickname the Owls.

The club is famous from a United States perspective as John Harkes became the first American to play in the English FA Cup Final in 1990 while he was a member of the club. Harkes is currently Director of Youth Development at DC United, which fields teams in the USL Super Y-League.

Triangle Professional Soccer will also be announcing the name, logo and colors of its expansion USL First Division franchise at the All Star game. The club will begin play at SAS Soccer Park in 2007.