Barons honored at USL AGM

Neil Holloway named executive of the year; club also recognized for excellence in communications

Lee Cohen, Director of PDL Operations (left), hands Barons GM Neil Holloway the league’s Communications award.
Photo by Lisa Perry - Abundant Life Photography
For the third year in a row, the Ocean City Barons have been honored by the United Soccer Leagues at the league’s annual general meeting.  At the year-end awards banquet, the Barons brought home two awards. General Manager Neil Holloway, who also contributed to the team as a player, was recognized for his work off the field by being named the 2007 Premier Development League (PDL) Executive of the Year. In addition, the club also won the PDL Communications award.

"It was a nice surprise and a great honor to be recognized out of all 63 franchises at the PDL level," said Holloway. "When you receive awards as a player, you tend to thank your teammates, in this case I have to recognize the team of people I have off the field for allowing me to steer the Ocean City Barons in my direction and lead them toward my vision of success."

 

For the third year in a row, the Ocean City Barons have been honored by the United Soccer Leagues at the league’s annual general meeting. At the year-end awards banquet, the Barons brought home two awards. General Manager Neil Holloway, who also contributed to the team as a player, was recognized for his work off the field by being named the 2007 Premier Development League (PDL) Executive of the Year. In addition, the club also won the PDL Communications award.

Neil Holloway shows off his 2007 PDL Executive of the Year award.
Photo by Lisa Perry -
Abundant Life Photography

"It was a nice surprise and a great honor to be recognized out of all 63 franchises at the PDL level," said Holloway. "When you receive awards as a player, you tend to thank your teammates, in this case I have to recognize the team of people I have off the field for allowing me to steer the Ocean City Barons in my direction and lead them toward my vision of success."

"I have to thank John Granese and Russ McPaul for their support and the City of Ocean City for such a great relationship, and of course, my wife Joanne for allowing this great game of soccer and the Barons organization to consume our lives."

The club was also singled out among all of the PDL franchises for excellence in communications. Josh Hakala, while also handling the Barons’ play-by-play duties for the team’s online radio broadcasts, wrote match reports, feature articles, assisted with gameday operations, coordinated with the Barons many media outlets, and helped maintain the club’s website along with Barons’ assistant coach John Thompson. Paul O’Donnell also contributed feature articles, assisted in gameday operations, and has provided the team’s website with regular commentary about the world of soccer.

Barons Executive/Organizational
Award History

2005
USL Progress Award

2006
USL Hall of Fame induction
Ocean City Barons, "10+ club"

2007
PDL Executive of the Year
Neil Holloway

PDL Communications Award

"I was very pleased to accept the Communications Award on behalf of all the behind-the-scenes guys that have done a tremendous job for our franchise," said Holloway. "We are known throughout the USL as having one of the most modern and up-to-date websites and we do a fantastic job of keeping not only the local and regional communities informed about the Barons, but we also get national exposure via the internet."

"We have taken advantage of the USL’s relationship with Demosphere and Constant Contact and John Thompson deserves a lot of credit for implementing our website and the Barons newsletter. Paul O’Donnell is a very knowledgeable and informative writer with his weekly column, and Josh Hakala, the ’voice of the Barons’, has taken our communications efforts to another level with all of his press releases and live internet commentary during all of our home games."

This is the third season that Hakala has provided commentary for the Barons’ online radio broadcasts. However, this was the first year that he worked in the club’s communications department.

"A lot of hard work went into our communications efforts this past season," said Hakala. "However, when you work in a beautiful place like Ocean City, and you’re surrounded by people who truly love the game of soccer, it’s hard to really call it ’work.’ I’d like to not only thank everyone who contributed this year, but I also have to thank all of the media outlets whose enthusiasm for the team has made it all worthwhile."

The Barons began their string of honors in 2005 when they were chosen among every franchise in the USL to receive the "Progress Award" after enjoying a tremendous amount of success on and off the field after the club’s move to Ocean City, NJ. Last year, the Barons were inducted into the USL Hall of Fame as a "10+" team, as the club celebrated their 10th season as a USL franchise.

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