RailHawks keeper Fitzgerald named NASL Player of the Week

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NEW YORK, N.Y. – Carolina RailHawks goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald was recognized as North American Soccer League (NASL) Player of the Week on Monday.

Despite playing a large stretch of the game one man down, Fitzgerald made five saves and led his team to a 1-0 shutout win over the New York Cosmos on Saturday.

“The recognition and shutout really goes to the entire team,” Fitzgerald said.

“It was a total team effort and the guys in front of me were fantastic all night long. I think it says a lot about the character of this team to defend the final 20 minutes plus stoppage time with eight players and preserve the shutout.”

The Baltimore, Md. native came up with many saves that kept the Cosmos shooters struggling to find any room to beat him throughout the match.

“He has come up big for us in big moments before and Saturday night was no exception,” RailHawks head coach Colin Clarke said.

“His leadership of the defense and the entire team for those last 20 minutes allowed us to keep the shutout and to extend our home unbeaten match (number) to 18.”

Fitzgerald has played with the RailHawks since signing on as a professional with them in July 2011.

He played his college ball at Wake Forest and is among the Demon Deacons’ all-time goalkeeper leaders in minutes played, goals against average, save percentage and saves.

He was named Second-Team All-ACC in 2010, was a two-time All-ACC Academic selection, and was a member of Wake Forest’s NCAA Championship team in 2007 along with RailHawks teammate Zack Schilawski.