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Kickers Add VCU Defender Eli Lockaby to Roster

The young defender is coming to a team that allowed a staggering number of goals last year.

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We knew that the Kickers offseason would be a busy one. The team has new owners, a new league, new coach, and is coming off two of the worst seasons in the team’s long history. Just one of these factors would hint at change, all four screams change is coming with a massive bullhorn.

The Kickers will be competing in USL League 1 and the budget for players will be considerably less compared to the Championship League, the Kickers’ former league and one step above. We’d love to tell you more details on that budget gap but the USL keeps that information under wraps for reasons we can’t fathom.

With a new smaller player budget it’s no surprise that the Kickers are looking at college players. It was a nice surprise for locals when they announced last week that they had signed Eli Lockaby a VCU Senior to a professional contract. Lockaby will be finishing up his degree at VCU but will be wearing red instead of gold this year.

The Kickers and Lockaby had this to say:

“Eli is a player that I’ve been very interested in for quite some time and got to watch a lot of him in his senior season at VCU,” commented David Bulow, Kickers Head Coach. “He has the potential to be one of the best young players in all of USL League One and I can’t wait to start working with him.”

Lockaby is coming off a four-year career at VCU, starting in 62 games and appearing in 73 matches for the Rams, including leading the team the regular season title his senior season. During his time at VCU, Lockaby scored on two occasions and assisted in 12 goals. He was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Academic team in both his junior and senior seasons. Throughout his collegiate career, Lockaby spent time with the Orlando City U23s and the Des Moines Menace in USL League Two.

“I am truly thrilled to begin my professional career with the Kickers,” said Lockaby. “I would like to thank my family, friends and teammates for their continuous support and encouragement over the years. I would also like to thank Coach Giffard and VCU soccer for allowing me the opportunity to continue playing the beautiful game while earning my degree. Richmond has been my home the past four years and I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the Richmond Kickers organization. I hope the Red Army is ready because it’s going to be an incredible year in RVA and I can’t wait to get right to work!”

Growing up in Orlando, Florida, Lockaby played in the Orlando City SC youth system and played through the OCSC Academy U18 Team. Prior to joining VCU, he was a Regional Finalist and named to the 2013 All-Central Florida First Team.

“It’s awesome to get a quality player like Eli from VCU, an excellent NCAA Division I program and a University that is an important partner on several levels,” commented Matt Spear, Kickers President. “I am familiar with Eli as a very successful and talented full back on the Rams’ A-10 regular season champion squad.”

The Kickers announced the signing of midfielder Mutaya Mwape today (Monday, 1/21) which brings the total of players up to eight.

Mutaya Mwape – Midfielder – Previous team: Charlotte Independence – Team Press Announcement

“Mutaya showed great desire from our first conversation to be a part of the new Richmond Kickers Pro organization,” said David Bulow, Kickers Head Coach. “He is very explosive and dynamic with USL Championship experience and will be an important player for the Richmond Kickers in 2019.”


Amass Amankona – Midfielder – Previous Team: Indy Eleven – Team Press Announcement

“Amass is a player that I tried to sign last season, but it didn’t quite work out,” said Kickers Head Coach David Bulow. “He is a highly recommended and talented midfielder who has shown great desire to be a part of the new Richmond Kickers Pro team and I can’t wait to start working with him.”


Matt Bolduc – Midfielder – Previous Team: Richmond Kickers – Team Press Announcement

“When it was announced last season that we would be moving to USL League One, Matt was the first to express a desire to stay with the Kickers despite the change in leagues,” said Kickers head coach David Bulow. “He has expressed a love for the city, the club and its fan base on multiple occasions and will be a very valuable veteran as we take the new Richmond Kickers Pro into the future.”


Dennis Chin – Forward – Previous Team: Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC – Team Press Announcement

“When I learned that there may be an opportunity to sign Dennis, I jumped at the opportunity,” said Kickers Head Coach David Bulow. “Having played against him when he was at Orlando City, I am sure his speed, goals and passion are going to make him a fan favorite of anyone coming to watch the new look Richmond Kickers Pro team.”


Josh Hughes – Midfielder – Previous Team: Nashville SC – Team Press Announcement

Josh is a very hard working, intelligent midfielder who is very excited for the future of the Richmond Kickers,” remarked Kickers head coach David Bulow. “His enthusiasm for the city and club made it a no brainer to get him signed as soon as possible. I am excited for the Red Army and the rest of the fans to see what a quality player we have signed.”


Eli Lockaby – Defender – Previous Team: VCU – Team Press Announcement

“Eli is a player that I’ve been very interested in for quite some time and got to watch a lot of him in his senior season at VCU,” commented David Bulow, Kickers Head Coach. “He has the potential to be one of the best young players in all of USL League One and I can’t wait to start working with him.”


Scott Thomsen – Defender – Previous Team: – Team Press Announcement

“Scott is a player that brings a lot of experience and USL Championship level quality,” commented Kickers Head Coach David Bulow. “He has shown a great desire to be part of our evolving organization, and his leadership will be invaluable to bringing glory back to the Richmond Kickers.”


Braeden Troyer – Defender – Previous Team: Richmond Kickers – Team Press Announcement

“Braeden is one of the most versatile and effective defenders in all of the USL,” said Kickers Head Coach David Bulow. “The loss of Braeden through injury last season was a major blow to the team, and we are delighted that he has decided to come back to Richmond for the 2019 Season. Braeden’s experience and professionalism will be a huge asset to our up and coming young players in the club.”

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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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