TOBACCO ROAD FC NAMES 2017 COACHING STAFF

TOBACCO ROAD FC’S CEDRIC BURKE TO RETURN TO THE SIDELINES FOR 2017 INAGUARAL PDL CAMPAIGN

TOBACCO ROAD FC ANNOUNCES THE 2017 TECHNICAL STAFF, LED BY RETURN OF FOUNDING PARTNER CEDRIC BURKE AS 2017 HEAD COACH AND SPORTING DIRECTOR.

Tobacco Road FC is thrilled to announce the return of Founding Partner Cedric Burke as Head Coach and Sporting Director for the Durham, NC based soccer club.  Burke returns to lead a club with intentions of building upon the success of its inaugural semi–professional campaign.  In 2016, TRFC competed in the National Premier Soccer League, concluding the season with a 3-4-3 record. The season culminated with a dramatic late season run, falling mere seconds short of capturing the South Atlantic Conference tournament championship in an overtime loss to the Atlanta Silverbacks FC.

“I am extremely proud of the foundation we established during our inaugural campaign. I am humbled to again be entrusted with the opportunity to lead our club’s on field efforts. We’ve assembled a highly qualified technical staff that will collectively provide a well-balanced platform for player development. I can’t wait to get back to work.” said Burke.

Supporting Burke for the 2017 season, the Club is excited to announce the following key technical positions:

  • Caleb Norkus, Technical Director
  • Brian Wellman, Senior Technical Advisor
  • Jason Small, Assistant Coach
  • Sal Bundu, Technical Advisor

“We could not be more excited about the future of Tobacco Road FC” Founding Partner and Club President Seth Kaplan said “Under Cedric’s guidance, the club was playing its best soccer towards the end of the 2016 season. We fully expect that to transition into this year.  The future is bright and we are confident that with the team we’ve assembled, our best days are in front of us.”

The PDL serves as the major development platform for players in North America. A total of 67 teams across four conferences took part in the 2016 PDL regular season.  U.S. Men’s National Team members Brad Guzan, DeAndre Yedlin, Sacha Kljestan and Geoff Cameron, as well as 2016 Major League Soccer Rookie of the Year Jordan Morris and 2016 MLS Defender of the Year Matt Hedges, are among the many PDL alums currently competing professionally. More than 200 PDL alumni participated in the 2016 MLS regular season, while more than 350 former players competed in the 2016 United Soccer League campaign.

CEDRIC BURKE; HEAD COACH AND SPORTING DIRECTOR:       

Raised in Durham, North Carolina, Burke starred at Jordan High School prior to enjoying a successful playing career at Duke University. Burke has enjoyed professional success in the banking industry and currently serves as a Vice President for Maryland based lender Homeside Financial. His allegiance to the Durham/Chapel Hill market has been steady and consistent – both as an active community leader and soccer player. He served as Tobacco Road FC’s captain for several years. As his competitive playing days conclude, Burke is passionate about leading a team and organization committed to delivering the professional soccer experience to his hometown.

CALEB NORKUS; TECHINCAL DIRECTOR:

Norkus boasts over a decade of professional playing experience – a career that spans three continents. Following a five-year run with the Carolina Railhawks, where he spent the last two as player- assistant coach and worked on staff as community outreach director, he moved back to Puerto Rico and played the same role for the PR Islanders of NASL. When Bayamon FC formed in 2014 they named him assistant coach through CONCACAF qualifications, then Norkus returned to play one last time before moving back to North Carolina where he’s currently Classic Director for Wake Futbol Club.

A former All American for the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and N.C. Gatorade Player of the Year in 1996, Norkus has played in 40 international matches with United States U-20, U-18 and U-17 National teams. He boasts a National A Coaching license as well as a fundamental understanding of the commitment and dedication required to successfully compete at the highest levels. Norkus most looks forward to leading the club’s player development efforts.

BRIAN WELLMAN; SENIOR TECHNICAL ADVISOR:

After two seasons as Assistant to the General Manager of the Carolina RailHawks (North Carolina FC), Wellman was named President and General Manager. Under Wellman the RailHawks won two NASL regular season titles and reached the Finals in 2010. From there Wellman moved to the MLS Vancouver Whitecaps for two seasons. Wellman was part of a technical staff that inherited a last place team. In their first season the Whitecaps qualified for the playoffs.

Wellman also played alongside of Head Coach Cedric Burke for 7 seasons with Tobacco Road FC (Clockwork Orange, Telepathic Graphics). In 2013 Wellman took over as head coach of Tobacco Road FC and guided the team to the State Championship by a 19-2 goal differential. After stepping away from soccer for two years to launch a small business Wellman is excited to rejoin the club in 2017.

JASON SMALL; ASSISTANT COACH:

The Club has named Jason Small Assistant Coach for the 2017 season. Small will assist Burke in all day-to-day on field activities. Jason starred on North Carolina’s Olympic Development team for several years and was twice selected to represent the Olympic Development program on a regional level. He then embarked on a 4 year playing career at UNCW. Upon moving to the Triangle area, he became a staple of the Clockwork Orange men’s team, which had immense success on the local, state and regional amateur level. As his playing days wind down, Jason continues his love for the game by coaching within the CASL youth system along with continuing to represent Tobacco Road FC’s reserve amateur team on and off the pitch. Jason has served as an IT professional in the investment banking industry for the past decade. He’s currently an Assistant Vice President at the Swiss investment firm Credit Suisse.

Sal Bundu; TECHNICAL ADVISOR:

Tobacco Road FC has also announced the return of Sallieu Bundu as Technical Advisor for the 2017 season.  Bundu brings over five years of professional playing experience – bursting onto the scene with (8) goals in 19 appearance with the Cleveland City Stars in 2008.  After that successful campaign, he was signed by the Carolina Railhawks and has enjoyed stops at the Charlotte Eagles and Charleston Battery.  Along the way Bundu enjoyed the prestigious honor to represent the Sierre Leone Men’s National Team.

Since concluding his playing career, Bundu – famously known as the“Teacher” has seamlessly transitioned into coaching with the Triangle Futbol Club. His love of teaching the game along with his depth of playing experience brings a unique dynamic to the coaching staff of Tobacco Road FC.  His primary goal is to work directly with the players to provide continued technical instruction as they evolve in their playing careers.