Wilmington Hammerheads FC

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Wilmington Hammerheads
Wilmington Hammerheads 2014.svg
Full name Wilmington Hammerheads Football Club
Nickname(s) Hammers
Founded 1996
Stadium Legion Stadium
Wilmington, North Carolina
Ground Capacity 6,000
Owner Sam Fink
Head Coach Mark Briggs
League USL
2015 12th, Eastern Conference
Playoffs: DNQ
Website Club home page
Current season

Wilmington Hammerheads FC is a professional American soccer team based in Wilmington, North Carolina. Founded in 1996, the team competes in the Eastern Conference of the United Soccer League, the third tier of the American Soccer Pyramid.

Having spent the 2010 season on hiatus from competitive play, the Wilmington Hammerheads organization returned to the field in 2011.[1] The Wilmington Hammerheads play their home matches at Legion Stadium, where they have played since 2003. The team's colors are sky blue and white. The Hammerheads are currently under the instruction of head coach Mark Briggs.


The Hammerheads had one championship in 2003, and were a finalist in 2002 & 2012, losing to the Long Island Rough Riders 2–1 in 2002 and losing 0–1 to the Charleston Battery in 2012. Wilmington found great success in the US Open Cup in their later years, regularly drawing MLS teams in the late rounds. Their most famous result occurred in 2003 when they drew the Dallas Burn, an MLS team, in the middle of a particularly bad year. They shocked the soccer world by defeating the Burn 4–1 at Legion Sports Complex before bowing out to D.C. United 1–0 in the quarterfinal round. The Hammerheads regularly drew well over 2,000 fans per game, and had drawn nearly 5,000 for playoff games. On June 30, 2009, the Hammerheads upset the Chicago Fire in the third round of the 2009 US Open Cup 1–0 at home.

The team returned to the pitch at Legion Stadium for the 2011 USL PRO regular season after their 2010 hiatus due to local businessman Bill Rudisill and a minority ownership group combining their efforts and financial support to the Port City. Following the 2011 USL PRO regular season, the Hammerheads competed in the division semifinals. In 2012, the Hammerheads finished their regular season with an overall record of 10–7–7 After qualifying for playoffs, they defeated both the Richmond Kickers and Orlando City Lions to obtain their spot in the finals versus the Charleston Battery whom took the 2012 USL PRO Championship title at Blackbaud Stadium after defeating the Hammerheads 1–0. The Hammerheads fell short of qualifying for a playoff position following their 2013 regular season.

In September 2013, the Wilmington Hammerheads announced that after three years of dedicated ownership, Bill Rudisill would no longer be majority owner of the team and that George Altirs, CEO of Capelli New York, has taken the role of Wilmington Hammerheads Owner.

In January 2014, the Wilmington Hammerheads entered a developmental partnership deal with Major League Soccer side Toronto FC that would see a minimum of four Toronto players come to Wilmington with the goal of gaining first team experience.[2] In August of 2014, the Hammerheads' longtime head coach, Englishman David Irving, stepped down from his position following fifteen season with the club.

In January 2015, New York City FC announced to have signed a one-year affiliation with the Hammerheads, by which NYCFC can send players to train and play in Wilmington for further development.[3]


Players and Staff[edit]

Current roster[edit]

As of January 8, 2015 [4]

No. Position Player Nation
2 Defender Parratt, TomTom Parratt      Scotland
10 Midfielder Moose, JustinJustin Moose      United States
16 Midfielder Defregger, StefanStefan Defregger      United States
20 Midfielder Taublieb, ZevZev Taublieb      United States
21 Midfielder Heaney, WilliamWilliam Heaney      England
44 Forward Lawal, QudusQudus Lawal      Nigeria
Goalkeeper Ati, EricEric Ati      Cameroon
Defender Doue, PeaboPeabo Doue      United States
Defender Mechem, MichaelMichael Mechem      United States
Forward Miller, LoganLogan Miller      United States


  • United States George Altirs – Owner
  • United States Jason Arnold – General Manager
  • United States Matthew Vilar – Director of Marketing & Public Relations
  • United States Angela Bowen – Director of Development & Partnerships
  • United States Kelly Wenger – Director of Ticket Sales
  • United States Courtney McKeon – Manager, Ticket Sales & Game Day Operations
  • United States Valerie Kay – Marketing & Event Coordinator
  • England Mark Briggs – Technical Director & Head Coach
  • United States Matt Glaeser – First Team Coach
  • United States Troy Cole – Director of Sports Science
  • United States Mary Biehner – Head Athletic Trainer
  • United States Charlie Aldridge – Equipment Manager

Notable Former Players[edit]

Head Coaches[edit]


  • USL PRO Championship Finalist 2012
  • USL Second Division Regular Season Champions 2009
  • USL Pro Select League Champions 2003
  • USL D-3 Pro League Southern Division Champions 2002
  • USL D-3 Pro League Southern Division Champions 2001



Year Division League Reg. Season Playoffs Open Cup
1996 3 USISL Pro League 3rd, South Atlantic Semifinals Did not qualify
1997 3 USISL D-3 Pro League 5th, South Atlantic Did not qualify 1st Round
1998 3 USISL D-3 Pro League 6th, Atlantic Division Semifinals Did not qualify
1999 3 USL D-3 Pro League 2nd, Atlantic Conference Finals 2nd Round
2000 3 USL D-3 Pro League 2nd, Southern Conference Quarterfinals 2nd Round
2001 3 USL D-3 Pro League 1st, Southern Conference Finals Did not qualify
2002 3 USL D-3 Pro League 1st, Southern Final Did not qualify
2003 3 USL Pro Select League 2nd, Southern Champion Quarterfinals
2004 3 USL Pro Soccer League 2nd, Southern Quarterfinals 3rd Round
2005 3 USL Second Division 4th Semifinals 3rd Round
2006 3 USL Second Division 8th Did not qualify 4th Round
2007 3 USL Second Division 7th Did not qualify Did not qualify
2008 3 USL Second Division 7th Did not qualify Did not qualify
2009 3 USL Second Division 1st Semifinals Quarterfinals
2010 on hiatus
2011 3 USL Pro 2nd, American Division Semifinals 3rd Round
2012 3 USL Pro 5th Championship 3rd Round
2013 3 USL Pro 9th Did not qualify 3rd Round
2014 3 USL Pro 7th Quarterfinals 2nd Round
2015 3 USL 12th, Eastern Did not qualify 2nd Round


The primary supporters group is the Port City Firm. The group was founded in 1997 and stuck together during the team's hiatus year in 2010.[5][6] A second group, the East Side Ultras, was founded in 2015 and are identified by their sky blue helmets/hats and black shirts.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Hammerheads Return for 2011
  2. ^ "Toronto FC announce partnership with USL Pro club – Waking The Red". wakingthered.com. Retrieved 2 May 2014. 
  3. ^ "NYCFC Announce Affiliation with Wilmington Hammerheads". nycfc.com. Retrieved 22 January 2015. 
  4. ^ "2015 Roster". Wilmington Hammerheads FC. Retrieved January 8, 2015. 
  5. ^ Meet the Port City Firm (Press Release), Wilimington Hammerheads, June 4, 2012, retrieved July 21, 2015 
  6. ^ USL Pro Supporter Group Q&A: The Port city Firm, Reckless Challenge, March 6, 2013, retrieved July 21, 2015 

External links[edit]