Saturday, February 8, 2014

Wilmington Hammerheads

The Hammerheads were one of the teams that survived the period in the USL that almost caused the league to fold. They were battling fierce rivals like Charleston and Harrisburg for the championship in the transitional period of the league. With the number of teams low, the talent was shifted to the remaining teams. 

One of the older teams in US soccer weren’t able to capitalize on the time before the USL got its footing back in larger markets. By the time the league expanded back, the time had passed for Wilmington. The Hammers couldn’t attract free agents to the North Carolina city to play in the 6,000 seat Legion field with teams like Baltimore and San Francisco starting to appear. What they decided to do is create a very strong academy program. Taking East Carolina as their region, the Hammerheads were able to groom some talent. A keeper from Wilmington came into the league and won second team all USL in his rookie year. Up front, they added an academy player. He scored 2/3rd of every goal the Hammerheads scored that year. Going into year two, he was sold for a big contract to Charlotte FC. They flipped the money and went out and picked up two NASL players looking for jobs. They became cornerstones of the team, helping out in defense. The Hammerheads then sold their goalkeeper to Atlanta to be a backup. They took that money and helped out their offense through free agents. The Hammerheads became the favorite trading spot for clubs to pick up talent. The system has worked for them, each player they sell, they pick up two players that will help them before a new crop of talent comes in and replaces them, only to be sold away. This is how the Hammerheads have done it. The have shown improvement, but need a manager who can harness the talent and get the players to perform in the USL. They’re geared for a mid-table finish, but they have some talent coming up in a few years that might help the Hammerheads earn promotion into League One.

The Hammerheads got a new logo for this season, and it’s pretty bad. I played around with a shape and put a modified shark logo that I had from a different project as the icon in this (modified to the right kind of fish). The sky and white stripes are the main focus for the team, because it’s something that is unique enough that they can hold as their own. The clash is obviously taken from the Dutch World Cup kit.

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