Team will host Carolina Railhawks in home opener Friday night
Spartanburg – May 15, 2014 – The Upward Stars, the first advanced-level competitive soccer team to call the Upstate home, kick off their inaugural season Friday, May 16 at 7 p.m. at Bob Jones University. Their first opponent will be the Carolina Railhawks Under-23 squad, the 2013 USSSA National Champions
"Expectations are high," Upward Stars head coach and general manager Paul Henson said. "We’ve been blessed with some great players who are gelling nicely – we’re expecting to have a really strong, competitive season beginning Friday."
The Stars’ roster is comprised of players from six different continents and 11 different countries: United States; Mexico; Japan; Colombia; England; Spain; El Salvador; France; Trinidad and Tobago; Liberia; and Australia.
In addition to a number of former professional players also feature many local college standouts, drawing from Clemson, Southern Wesleyan, and Spartanburg Methodist, among others.
Last weekend the Upward Stars played a pair of preseason friendlies, losing 4-1 to RVA FC, the 2013 NPSL champions; and 1-0 to D.C. United’s U-23 squad.
"We’re excited with how well the guys are developing, both technically and as a cohesive team," Henson said. "Our assistant coach Camilo Rodriguez has done a fantastic job in preparing our players to be ready for our first game."
The Stars’ ten-game schedule will also include home games at USC Upstate and Clemson University; eventually the team will play at the brand-new Upward Star Center, a multisport facility set to open in September 2014 in Spartanburg.
Friday night’s pregame festivities begin with a Family Fun Zone that will run from 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. and will feature Upward Stars players signing autographs.
The evening is also "Upward Family Night" – anyone wearing an Upward Sports jersey gets free admission. Part of the vision for the creation of the Upward Stars was providing a high-level opportunity for the 70,000+ soccer players in Upward Sports recreational leagues.
"We are VERY excited about providing a whole new level of competition for every age group in soccer," said Caz McCaslin, founder and president of Upward Sports. "The Upward Stars will really help in this effort. We look forward to seeing them play for the first time on Friday night."
About Upward Stars
Upward Stars is the brand of Upward Sports’ Performance Division, created in 2012 and aimed at young athletes wanting to further develop their skills and participate in a higher level of competition.
Upward Sports is the only youth multi-sports organization that offers the 360 Progression™, a uniquely designed total sports experience that adapts and expands as players develop and grow in their personal athletic journey, creating individuals with strong character, confidence, and spirit. It is our desire to provide a place to play for athletes of every skill level.
The NPSL is a national league that operates in the 4th Division of the U.S. soccer pyramid. NPSL teams are eligible to participate in the U.S. Open Cup through their affiliation with the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) and the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA). The NPSL is the fastest-growing national soccer league in the U.S., operating in 60+ markets across the country. Two Major League Soccer (MLS) clubs, D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls, operate U-23 squads in the NPSL.