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Richmond Kickers Have a New Schedule and President

The first game for the Kickers in their new USL1 League is March 30th.

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The off-season is the worst season for any sports fans. Fans patiently wait for any news. Kickers supporter’s patience was finally rewarded recently with two big announcements.

The first is that yesterday the full 2019 schedule dropped. The 28-game regular season schedule, kicks off Saturday, March 30 at City Stadium against Lansing Ignite FC.

The Kickers will compete in the inaugural season of the 10-team USL League One, which includes Chattanooga Red Wolves SC, FC Tucson, Forward Madison FC, Greenville Triumph SC, Lansing Ignite FC, North Texas SC, Orlando City B, South Georgia Tormenta FC and Toronto FC II. The Kickers will face each team three times, with an additional meeting against one team.

Soccer Saturdays comprise the majority of the Kickers regular season home schedule, with 13 of 14 matches taking place on Saturdays. The one mid-week exception falls on Wednesday, October 2. Two matches, including the home opener on March 30, will kick off at 5:00 p.m. with the remainder of matches beginning at 7:00 p.m.

The regular season concludes at City Stadium Saturday, October 5 against Orlando City B. The top four teams will qualify for post season play with the final match of the postseason set to take place from October 17-21.

NEW PRESIDENT

The other news from last week is Kickers announced, Matt Spear had been hired as the new president of the pro team. One item in his resume that caught our attention was that led the development for the $2 million Alumni Stadium. Anybody that has been to City Stadium knows that it’s in desperate need of renovation if the team is to continue to thrive.

The Richmond Kickers are excited to announce Matt Spear as the President of the Richmond Kickers Pro Soccer Team. Beginning in January, Spear will take over the reigns as the Richmond Kickers Pro Team transitions into the newly formed USL League One.

“I am incredibly excited to work for the Kickers and Richmond as a whole,” said Spear. “My style is servant leadership, not top down. I am focused on culture and conviction. We will be championship oriented with the players, coaches, and staff thriving on a growth mindset and focus on excellence and impact.”

Spear brings a wealth of soccer expertise, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a team-first attitude that will energize the Richmond community as we push the “Kickers Experience” to greater heights, both on and off the field. “I have admired Matt’s leadership skills since our first day on a soccer field together at Davidson in 1989. He was an incredible teammate who was able to bring out the best qualities in others, a skill that will be welcomed by the Kickers Family,” stated former Richmond Kickers Board President, Rob Ukrop.

“Helping Head Coach David Bulow sign and field a talented team is a key first step as is building a staff that is innovative and collaborative,” Spear added. “Our mission and goals will spread beyond pro soccer games. Soccer is the globe’s most popular and incredible phenomenon and its connection to the RVA base and beyond is essential. The Kickers’ fans, ignited by the Red Army, are an integral ingredient of our club and spirit. We will develop City Stadium and heighten the fan experience. We will expand our supporter base, we will accelerate corporate partnerships, and we will elevate the community. Sports are an incredibly powerful foundation of well-being, city pride, civic engagement.”

Spear has led the men’s soccer program at his alma mater, Davidson College, for the last 18 years. His NCAA Division I head coaching tenure included ten wins over ACC teams such as Virginia, Virginia Tech, Duke, and North Carolina. He also led the development for the $2 million Alumni Stadium. Before coaching, Spear had a successful sports marketing career including co-founding initiatives such as a college soccer broadcast series, several soccer websites and projects with adidas America, US Youth Soccer, and United Soccer Coaches. Spear was a Captain of Davidson’s 1992 Final Four Team. More bio information can be found here.

“Building upon his own success as a student-athlete on Davidson’s legendary 1992 Final Four team, Matt poured his heart and soul into this men’s soccer program and made it better – and for that, we are forever grateful. Although bittersweet to see him leave, we are excited for the next chapter in his journey and wish he and his family nothing but best wishes and even greater success,” commented Davidson Athletic Director, Chris Clunie.

The Kickers will hold an introductory press conference next week with more details of Spear’s hire and the new direction for the Richmond Kickers Professional Team.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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Tips for Using the River Safely

As the temperature climbs so does river usage and not everyone is well-versed in river safety.

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The following advice was submitted by avid whitewater boater Teresa Ann.

Here in Richmond, we have the great pleasure of easy access to the James River. Oftentimes, we feel confident that nothing can go wrong in the flatwater sections or in the relatively “easy” upper James section from Pony to Reedy.

As summer approaches and many folks are headed to the James to relax, kayak, paddle board, canoe, or tube, we need to be sure that some very important guidelines are followed by ALL, not just the whitewater boating community.

Too often, rescues are necessary, and they almost always involve recreational users who are not familiar with the river. The James is NOT a fun lazy river ride like at the parks. We can’t turn it off when things go south that users aren’t prepared for. I’ve found most recreational users only understand the large changes in river level but not the differences between 6ft and 8ft which are not easy to notice for an untrained idea but actually huge and dangerous.

  1. As you all may know, a man died on Monday at Z Dam and on Sunday, a young woman died on the Balcony Falls section further upstream. There were several factors at play here in both deaths. But most noticeable, neither was wearing a PFD. I’m sharing this information to educate not intimidate, and I hope you all will help spread the word.
    All kayakers, paddle boarders, and river users (swimmers, tubers, etc) should use a PFD (personal flotation device. AKA: life jacket) whenever they are participating in water sports. While it is only legally required when the river is over 5ft, it’s a best practice to always wear one. Almost every death on this river involved a person who was NOT wearing a PFD. Accidents are just that – not intentional and unexpected. Your life jacket does no good on the back of your boat if you accidentally end up in the water. Even swimmers should be using PFDs. Several times a year there are swimmers drowning at levels under 5ft.
  2. When doing the Upper or Lower section (anywhere between Pony and 14th Street), all kayakers should be wearing a whitewater approved helmet. Not a bike helmet.
  3. Our river is a rocky bottom river, and while largely friendly geographically (no undercuts, major sieves, etc) there are still deadly features at all water levels – including strainers (woodpiles) and dams.
  4. This brings me to the next point. Low head dams are deadly. Never, ever go over a low head dam. We have several – Z dam, Williams Dam (other side of Williams island from Z), Vepco Levee, Boshers.  All are deadly. Avoid dams at all costs. Always portage (walk and carry your boat) around a dam.Watch this video for more information about low head dams:
  5. Know the river level. It can be found at this website:  https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?gage=rmdv2&wfo=akqUnder five feet is the best level for beginners on flat water and the upper. Hazards still exist. For instance, more rocks are out which actually leads to more kayak and boat flips, resulting in more people in the water unexpectedly (did I mention you should always wear a life jacket regardless of level?)Over five and under nine varies greatly. I can’t go into the complexities here. Here are some general rules.Inexperienced boaters should generally not be on the James River over 6ft. Flows increase quickly making self-rescue more difficult and swims much longer. Just this weekend, I watched two inexperienced recreational kayakers (sit on tops) on the upper at 7.9ft with no PFD and bike helmets. One flipped and pinned his boat. He had to swim off the river. His boat came loose after an hour. It was too heavy to flip over. He was nearing hypothermia as we got out after a mile swim. Another rec boat is still pinned under the Powhite bridge.Between 6-9 is all very different. It gets faster. Rocks disappear, but hydraulics form where rocks once were. Most will let you out eventually, but not all of them. There is at least one “terminal hole” on the lower section once the river gets to 7.5+Over nine feet is minor flooding and no one but advanced whitewater paddlers should be on the river at any point.
  6. Know the river temperature. https://waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/uv?02035000You need a combined water and air temp of 120 to not become hypothermic. Most experienced white water boaters are still wearing dry gear when water and air temps are at 120. Cold water contributes to drowning. While 60 may feel warm in the air, water is another beast. Remember your body maintains a 98 degree norm. 60 and even 70 degree water shocks the system. Always dress for a swim. Cotton kills. It cools the body when wet and is heavy. Never boat in cotton.
  7. Always carry safety gear, including a throw rope to help if someone needs a rescue. But you have to learn how to properly use a throw rope because ropes on the river can be an entrapment issue.
  8. NEVER STAND UP IN MOVING WATER. If you are floating down stream because you’ve been flipped off your board, boat or tube, putting your feet down could lead to a deadly foot entrapment. Always float “Nose and Toes” nose points downstream and toes above the water. Float in your back or actively swim on your stomach. Never stand up.

https://www.nrs.com/safety_tips/footentrapment.asp

I’m probably missing some stuff but these are basics. I would encourage anyone thinking of kayaking to take a swift water rescue class to learn how to rescue in the river. Someday, you may be glad you did.

Editor’s Note: To address some of the concerns Teresa has put up some homemade signs seen above and in the header image. The Parks Department is hoping to have permanent signage up at Huguenot Flatwater over the weekend. They are also planning to reinstall buoys but have to wait for the right water levels. They continually get washed away after high water events. Additional signage should be coming on the river as well and new portage signage on the island.

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Black Bear’s Visit to Richmond Comes to a Safe End

No picnic baskets, bears, dogs, cats, or humans were harmed in today’s adventure.

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A black bear decided to explore Richmond today. First spotted on the Northbank Trail he later headed into town. Previous reports earlier in the week had the bear up near Pony Pasture. The picture above is from RACC Instagram which reported on the sedation and transportation of the bear.

We just received a call about a bear-and it really was a bear. Sometimes we laugh and arrive on scene with a giant Rottweiler, but nope-this was a real bear. We named him Fuzzy Wuzzy. Shout out to @richmondpolice for helping keep us safe and to @virginiawildlife for tranquilizing and relocating the bear out of the City!

Bear on Northbank this morning! from r/rva

Here he is in town.

Bear at Byrd and 5th from r/rva

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Critters of the Week

A wild critter we spotted in the RVA area and a critter up for adoption by SPCA or RACC.

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Where Spotted: Bryan Park
Common Name: Blue Jay
Scientific Name: Cyanocitta cristata
Length: 8.7 – 12 in.
Weight: 2.3 – 3.8 oz
Wingspan: 13–17 in

Quick Facts (Courtesy of the Cornell Lab)

  • Thousands of Blue Jays migrate in flocks along the Great Lakes and Atlantic coasts, but much about their migration remains a mystery. Some are present throughout winter in all parts of their range. Young jays may be more likely to migrate than adults, but many adults also migrate. Some individual jays migrate south one year, stay north the next winter, and then migrate south again the next year. No one has worked out why they migrate when they do.
  • The Blue Jay frequently mimics the calls of hawks, especially the Red-shouldered Hawk. These calls may provide information to other jays that a hawk is around, or may be used to deceive other species into believing a hawk is present.
  • Tool use has never been reported for wild Blue Jays, but captive Blue Jays used strips of newspaper to rake in food pellets from outside their cages.
  • The pigment in Blue Jay feathers is melanin, which is brown. The blue color is caused by scattering light through modified cells on the surface of the feather barbs.

Kurt Cobain at Richmond SPCA

 

With the food out it’s less dangerous
Here we are meow, entertain us
I feel frisky and outrageous
Here we are meow, entertain us

Age: 8 years, 1 month
Gender: Neutered Male
Color: Orange
Declawed: No
ID: 44163819

Adopt Curt Kobain at Richmond SPCA

Learn more about their adoption process.

To reduce visitor traffic, during the COVID-19 outbreak they are scheduling adoption appointments beginning Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Please leave your phone number in a voicemail or email and an adoption counselor will call to set an appointment for you to meet with a pet. Email the adoption center or call 804-521-1307.

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