THREE YANKS DEPART FINLAND
JAMIE HILL - Monday, January 31, 2011
Three Americans who spent the 2010 season in the Finnish Veikkausliiga will not return in 2011.

The VPS pair of Greg Eckhardt and Brian Pope have not re-signed with the Vaasa-based club according to their team officials.

"Eckhardt and Pope won't be playing with VPS this year," VPS spokesman Mari Jokinen told YA.

Eckhardt was a regular starter in defense for VPS in his first pro season following four years at Clemson University.

Pope had a more frustrating stint in Finland after the goalkeeper injured his shoulder in his first game with the club.

Pope, a veteran of East Carolina, Central Florida, and Vasa IFK, would not make another appearance in 2010.

IFK Mariehamn also confirmed that Lamar Neagle was not in their plans for 2011.

Neagle signed with the Aland Islands club late in 2010 after earning USL-2 MVP honors with the Charleston Battery.

The Veikkausliiga, which is the top division in Finland, runs from April to October.