Published: Dec 28, 2011 02:08 PM
Modified: Dec 26, 2011 05:43 PM
When the Vancouver Whitecaps of Major League Soccer visit the Carolina RailHawks on March 4 for the last preseason match for both teams, head coach Martin Rennie and assistant Paul Ritchie won't be the only ones making their return to Cary.
All-NASL defensive midfielder Matt Watson has signed with Vancouver, becoming the first of Rennie's former players to follow him to MLS.
Watson, 26, was the second-longest tenured RailHawks member, behind only original RailHawks Kupono Low.
He made 107 appearances, scored eight goals and added 11 assists.
Watson becomes the sixth player over the past two seasons to move to a first division club, joining former RailHawks midfielder Josh Gardner of the Montreal Impact (MLS), forward Tom Heinneman of the Columbus Crew (MLS), midfielder Daniel Paladini of the Chicago Fire (MLS), defender Brad Rusin of HB Koge (Danish SuperLiga), and defender Daniel Woolard of DC United (MLS).
"Matt has consistently been one of the best players at the North American seconddivision level over the past four years - three of which I had the pleasure of coaching him," Rennie said in a statement.
"He has had several offers to join Major League Soccer teams, so I am really pleased that he has chosen to take the next step in his career with Vancouver Whitecaps FC."