Ratcheting up expectations for 2009 just a little bit more, RailHawks coach Martin Rennie was named USL-2 coach of the year for his work with his former employer, the Cleveland City Stars.

Actually, Rennie didn’t get the official league award (although he won it in 2007 and could credibly have won again this year). Instead, today’s honor is given by an artificial turf manufacturer, FieldTurf Tarkett, which also bestowed similar honors for Major League Soccer on down to high school.

The awards are being presented today in St. Louis, at the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s annual convention, where several thousand coaches at all levels are camping out in the spirit of continuing education, networking and boisterious fellowship.

Our correspondent Chris Gaffney is there, too, so maybe we’ll hear from him. In November, when Rennie was named to replace Scott Schweitzer, Chris filed this insightful report to Triangle Offense.

(Chris, by the way, will appear at Bull’s Head Bookshop on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus at 3:30 pm, Wednesday, Jan. 28, to discuss his recently published book, Temple of the Earthbound Gods: Stadiums in the Cultural Landscapes of Rio de Janiero and Buenos Aires.)