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Newcomers Lead The Way -- Silverbacks additions include Edmundo Rodriguez

ATLANTA (February 2, 2001) – The Atlanta Silverbacks continue their feast of signings by adding former Raleigh Capital Express defender Edmundo Rodriguez to the 2001 roster. Other recent additions to the team include Ivailo Ilarionov, Ryan Walker, Seth Marks, and Ian Checcio.

A solid defender with Major League Soccer experience, Rodriguez will be one of the anchors of the Silverbacks defensive line. He is a graduate of the University of New Mexico where he was the first All-American in school history. A native of Guadalajara, Mexico, Rodriguez has played in the Mexican First and Second Divisions. His MLS experience includes stints with the New York/New Jersey Metro Stars, the San Jose Clash, and the Kansas City Wizards.

Head Coach John Dugan is excited to have Eddie on board. “Eddie had a breakthrough season last year, and established himself as one of the top defenders in the league. I know he will be a great leader for this team.”

Two other players have joined the Silverbacks from the Capital Express, forward Ryan Walker and defender Seth Marks. Last season with Raleigh was Walker’s first in the A-League, and he proved he is professional material scoring 11 goals in the last 12 games.

Prior to his season in Raleigh, Walker had an impressive showing in USL’s Division 3, recording a combined 44 goals and 28 assists in three seasons. A graduate of Coastal Carolina University, Walker is a versatile player who can play both forward and midfield for the Silverbacks.

Seth Marks was also initiated into the A-League during the 2000 season. Marks is a graduate of Furman University where he earned All-South honors. Marks spent the 2000 preseason with the Dallas Burn of MLS and will be another important addition to the Silverbacks’ defense.

Ivailo Ilarionov brings international experience to the Silverbacks attack. A native of Bulgaria, Ilarionov has played in both the Bulgarian and Austrian First Divisions. In 1998, Ilarionov brought his talents to the states and signed with the A-League Nashville Metros where he helped them to win the Central Division regular season title.

Ilarionov spent the both the 1999 and 2000 seasons with division rival the Charleston Battery. In 1999 he scored two goals to lead the Battery to a US Open Cup third round overtime victory by defeating three time MLS Cup Champion, D.C. United.

Former Hampton Roads Mariners defender Ian Checcio is the last newcomer to the Silverbacks team. A native of Philadelphia, Pa., Checcio attended Rutgers University in New Jersey. Checcio is a versatile defender who prior to his 2000 season with the Mariners, played for both the Leigh High Valley Steam and the Staten Island Vipers. In 2000 Checcio was selected to the USL All-Star Umbro Select Team.

The Silverbacks’ signings will continue next week following the MLS Combine and A-League draft this weekend in Tampa, Fla.

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Many Thanks to News Digger John Zukas who scours up all of the local news links during the year.