Carolina RailHawks striker Brian Shriver fired 15 goals in 2013 to win the prestigious North American Soccer League Golden Boot award as the top scorer during the combined NASL Spring and Fall Seasons.
The American marksman led the race for the Golden Boot heading into the final weekend of regular season action and scored twice to seal a come from behind 2-1 RailHawks victory over the San Antonio Scorpions.
His penalty kick finish and late winner ensured Carolina remained unbeaten throughout 2013 at WakeMed Soccer Park in competitive games – an impressive 15-game streak – and also won him the NASL Player of Week 14 award.
Shriver is the third different winner of the NASL Golden Boot since 2011 when Etienne Barbara won the scoring title with the RailHawks with 20 goals, and in 2012 Pablo Campos scored 20 regular season goals with the San Antonio Scorpions.
“It’s a privilege to win the NASL Golden Boot, but it’s as much of a team honor as an individual award,” said Shriver. “There were some memorable goals along the way during a great season.”
The Clearwater, Florida, native was drafted by FC Dallas of MLS in 2009 but turned down the contract to finish his studies at University of North Carolina. He later signed with Miami FC, which later became the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Shriver scored four goals in his first year and then 11 more in 2011. In 2012 he scored 6 NASL goals and 5 in the U.S. Open Cup for the RailHawks. He is second on the RailHawks all-time scoring list with 25 goals. Second behind 2011 Golden Boot winner Etienne Barbara with 29 goals
Shriver opened his 2013 NASL account at home in the second week of the Spring Season with a stunning 20-yard free kick over the wall that dipped beneath the cross bar in a 2-1 win over FC Edmonton. The goal is among the contenders for the NASL Goals of the Season which fans can vote for at www.NASL.com.
He scored a brace against both Fort Lauderdale and San Antonio to fire the RailHawks to the top of the table and Shriver to the top of the scoring charts with five goals in four games. With two weeks remaining in the Spring Season, a pair of goals from Shriver in the final four minutes sealed a come from behind 3-2 home win over Minnesota United FC.
At the midway point in 2013, he was tied with Hans Denissen of the San Antonio Scorpions on eight goals, closely followed by Georgi Hristov of the Tampa Bay Rowdies, Minnesota United FC striker Simone Bracalello and Atlanta Silverbacks striker Ruben Luna all with five goals to their name.
Shriver’s ninth strike of the year proved the difference against FC Edmonton as the 2013 NASL Fall Season kicked off, then he missed a penalty a week later in a draw at Atlanta as Denissen moved ahead in the Golden Boot race. But a week later, a double strike handed the New York Cosmos their only loss of the campaign and put Shriver back in the scoring lead in a 3-0 victory.
Shriver’s twelfth strike of the year and fourth goal of the fall earned a 1-0 home win over Minnesota United FC and kept Carolina on top of the standings, extending their lead to three points over the second-placed Cosmos.
Injuries limited Shriver’s playing time during the second half of the season, and the RailHawks fell off the pace during a spell that saw them win only once in six-games. Shriver returned and took over in the tight race for the NASL Golden Ball award with his 13th goal of the season in a 4-0 destruction of Atlanta, moving him one ahead of Hans Denissen of the San Antonio Scorpions and Georgi Hristov of the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
On the final weekend of the regular season he calmly slotted home a penalty and then scored the winning goal – his 15th of 2013 – to defeat the San Antonio Scorpions 2-1 at WakeMed Soccer Park.
“Brian is more than deserving of this recognition,” said RailHawks coach, Colin Clarke. “He was a consistent threat to opposing defenses all season and would have had even more goals if not for a brief injury during the Fall Season. It’s a great honor for Brian and for the club.”