For Immediate Release
Contact: David Vaught, Director of Operations
Office: 919-459-0722 Cell:
336-971-6153 Email:

International Eyes on Triangle as U.S. Faces Japan

CARY, N.C. – The attention of the national and international soccer media will be focused on the Triangle Wednesday evening when the U.S. Women’s National Team squares off against Japan in a pre-World Cup friendly at WakeMed Soccer Park. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

Wednesday’s exhibition will be the latest in a line of world-class soccer showcases that the Carolina RailHawks have brought to the Triangle. The RailHawks have previously welcomed Mexican powerhouses Cruz Azul and Monterrey, Honduras’ Olimpia, Panama’s National Team and England’s Burnley.  In addition, the U.S. Men’s National Team trained at WakeMed Soccer Park for nearly a week prior to their marquee international friendly against Argentina. The U.S. Men return next week to the Triangle to prepare for their upcoming match against World Cup Champion Spain and this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.

“It is a priority for the RailHawks organization to expose as many people as possible worldwide to our great community and host world-class soccer events,” said RailHawks President Curt Johnson. “The U.S.-Japan game will have a live international television audience, and the TV coverage will garner significant media attention in the days leading up to and following the game.  Pro soccer is an important catalyst as we all look for ways to continue to shine a positive light on the Triangle and generate new and diverse business opportunities.”

The U.S. Women return to WakeMed Soccer Park for the first time since the spring of 2008, when they defeated Australia 3-2. If Wednesday’s match is anything like that one, fans are in for
a treat. The Americans and Aussies played a free-flowing, back-and-forth match that saw three goals in the final six minutes, including Carli Lloyd’s winner in stoppage time for the U.S.

The U.S. in the midst of a two-game tune-up against Japan as it enters the homestretch of its preparations for this summer’s Women’s World Cup. Wednesday’s match will be the second to last the U.S. will play before their World Cup kicks off on June 28 in Dresden, Germany. The U.S. defeated Japan 2-0 on Saturday in Columbus, Ohio, and will face Mexico at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., on June 5.

Wednesday’s match will be carried live on ESPN2, and it will be broadcast live back to Japan, whose women’s team is ranked No. 4 in FIFA’s world rankings. To purchase tickets in advance, visit or call 1-800-745-3000. Tickets will be on sale at WakeMed Soccer Park on
Wednesday, beginning at 9 a.m.

The U.S. roster features two players with Triangle ties: Heather O’Reilly and Tobin Heath, who played their collegiate soccer at North Carolina and both won national championships at WakeMed Soccer Park. Lindsay Tarpley, another former Tar Heel, was selected to the World Cup roster, but she will be unavailable for the rest of the year after tearing the ACL in her right knee on Saturday. O’Reilly and Heath teamed to win a national championship in 2006, a 2-1 win over Notre Dame at WakeMed Soccer Park. O’Reilly also won the national title as a freshman in 2003 in a 6-0 win over Connecticut. Heath won additional championships in 2008 and 2009, the former a 2-1 win over Notre Dame at WakeMed Soccer Park.

After the U.S. teams come to and leave the Triangle, top-class soccer remains. The Carolina RailHawks are unbeaten in their last six matches (5-0-1) and are in first place in the NASL. They lead the league in scoring, with 15 goals through seven matches, and have not been shut out in 2011. They also have arguably the hottest player in all of U.S. soccer. Forward Etienne Barbara has scored nine goals in seven matches to lead the RailHawks to their best start in club history. The RailHawks will look to avenge their only defeat of the season on Saturday, when they face the Puerto Rico Islanders at WakeMed Soccer Park at 7 p.m. Tickets are available by calling 919-859-5425 or at