April 21, 2009 - United Soccer League (USL) - Crystal Palace Baltimore
April 21st 2009 - Baltimore, MD - Crystal Palace Baltimore are pleased to announce the signing of 19-year old midfielder Neil Vranis. The Potomac, Maryland native attended Winston Churchill High School where he led the team with 12 goals and four assists in his senior year and was awarded All-County, All-Metro and All-State honors. Vranis also played for the 2008 Baltimore Bays U-18s, scoring 15 goals and helping them to a National Championship title.
"When Neil was with the Maryland Olympic Development Program (ODP), he was heavily recruited by the Baltimore Bays youth club," remarked former Johns Hopkins University mens' soccer coach, Matt Smith, who coached Vranis as an ODP youth player in 2006. "He could be a very good player in this country, but his dream is to go over and play in England. One of his strengths is his durability - he rarely gets injured. He's also a very good student, a very intelligent kid. He's majoring in neuroscience at Hopkins and I think the fact that his off- the-field time has to be disciplined feeds on itself. Playing with Crystal Palace Baltimore, I think he'll go further than most kids of his ability who are just playing in college."
Palace Baltimore President and Co-Manager Pete Medd explained how Vranis came to the club: "Neil expressed interest in us last year through Matt Smith so he came out and practiced with us in the fall. After seeing him we said to ourselves this guy's ready - he's got the size, the ability. We still see him as a longer-term project - he holds a Greek passport, so we're looking to send him over to England when he's ready. For now, he's got the opportunity of playing pro soccer in Baltimore which means he can continue his studies at Hopkins. Obviously if he does fulfill his potential, he'll have to figure out whether he wants to be a professional soccer player first and foremost. We're just happy to see our program taking root now and starting to get some of these younger players who are the best in the area looking to turn pro early.
Palace Baltimore's Sporting Director and Co-Manager Jim Cherneski added: "We've signed him at age 18, but he's got a lot of potential. He's super dedicated and focussed, he has incredible awareness on the field and his work rate is unmatched. We're obviously very excited to have him."
Vranis was an unused substitute in Palace's season opener against Pittsburgh on Friday April 17 which ended goalless. Palace's next game is at home against the Bermuda Hogges on Friday April 24th at 7:30pm. Tickets are still available through the club's website - http://www.crystalpalaceusa.com - or by calling 410.933.TEAM(8326)
About Crystal Palace Baltimore
One of only 30 professional outdoor soccer teams in the United States,
Crystal Palace Baltimore competes in the United Soccer Leagues Second
Division and the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. The club also runs a
Professional Development Academy for young players at age levels U9
through U17. Crystal Palace Baltimore is the sister organization of
104-year old Crystal Palace Football Club in the United Kingdom. The
London-based club was a founding member of the English Premier League
and currently competes in the Coca Cola Football League Championship.
More information can be found at http://www.crystalpalaceusa.com