Crew News & Notes - February 25

Crew caps preseason in Charleston with Carolina Challenge Cup

Dilly Duka

Photo Credit: 
Ned Dishman - Getty Images

The Crew is in Charleston, S.C., for the final leg of the 2012 preseason, there to participate in the Carolina Challenge Cup, a four-team, round-robin tournament that will pit it against the Chicago Fire, D.C. United and Charleston Battery. The team that earns the most points is declared the winner.
 
D.C. United is the two-time defending champion, having won the tournament in 2010 and 2011. This is the third time that the Crew has participated in the event which dates back to 2004, when the Black & Gold won the inaugural tournament.
 
All matches will take place at Blackbaud Stadium and the Crew will open the tournament this Saturday, Feb. 25, against the hometown Battery (USLPro) at 7 p.m. The Black & Gold will then face the Fire on Feb. 29 at 5 p.m. before closing out the tournament on March 3 against D.C. United at 5 p.m. All matches will be streamed live on www.thecrew.com.
 
While in Charleston the Crew will also face the College of Charleston in a friendly match on Monday, Feb. 27 at 11 a.m.
 
The Crew Soccer Academy and pre-academy teams have also traveled to Charleston to participate in their own tournament, a youth showcase that will see them play against local teams and some MLS academy teams. While in Charleston, the CSA teams will have the unique opportunity to attend Crew training and interact with the senior team.
 
The Crew Soccer Academy U16s and U18s will join SC United Battery, Indiana United Fire, Chicago Fire, D.C. United and New York Red Bulls for a four-day event starting on Friday (Feb. 24) in conjunction with the Carolina Challenge Cup, while the pre-academy teams will face SC United and Capital Area Soccer League teams on Saturday and Sunday (Feb. 25-26).
 
The CSA teams return to Columbus on Monday, Feb. 27, while the senior team makes its return on Sunday, March 4, for one final week of preparation before traveling to Colorado to face the Rapids for FirstKick 2012 presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods on Saturday, March 10 at 6 p.m.
 
DILLY DUKA AT U.S. U-23 CAMP, WILL FACE MEXICO U-23 ON FEB. 29
Crew midfielder Dilly Duka joined the U.S. U-23 camp in North Texas last week to prepare for the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament which kicks off on March 22 against Cuba in Nashville, Tenn. Duka played 45 minutes in the squad’s 2-1 win over FC Dallas last Wednesday, Feb 22 . The U-23s will face the San Antonio Scorpions of the NASL on Feb. 24 and their Mexican counterparts on Feb. 29 at FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco, Texas. Duka is expected to join the Crew in Charleston following the Mexico match for the final match of the Carolina Challenge Cup.
 
CREW SOCCER FOUNDATION REFEREE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM CYCLE CONCLUDES SATURDAY
The 2012 cycle of the Crew Soccer Foundation Referee Scholarship Program concludes this Saturday, Feb. 25, at the Sawyer Recreation Center (1056 Atcheson St., 43203), with 15 referee scholars pursuing their certification in classes underwritten by CSF and conducted by the Columbus Area Soccer Officials Association (CASOA). Upon successful completion of the course, CSF will also provide a referee kit that consists of a yellow shirt, black shorts, black socks, whistles, book, yellow/red cards, two flags and a sports watch. After finishing the training and receiving certification, each scholarship recipient will be assigned to recreational and/or competitive youth matches by CASOA, which will also serve as a resource for questions. All scholarship winners will also be invited to attend a selected Crew game during the regular season to observe an officiating crew in action.
 
INDIVIDUAL TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW
Single-game tickets for all 17 Crew regular-season home matches are on sale now at the Crew Stadium Box Office, all central Ohio Ticketmaster retail locations, via Ticketmaster phone at 1-800-745-3000 and on-line at TheCrew.com. Fans can acquire tickets to such marquee matches as First Kick 2012 vs. the expansion Montreal Impact on March 24, the “Blackout the Galaxy” game on Aug. 15, and the two Trillium Cup fixtures against Toronto FC on Aug. 11 and Oct. 28.