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Hills & Heights

Richmond Kickers Home Opener on Saturday

A new season of professional soccer kicks off on Saturday.




The Richmond Kickers start a new season in a new league, USL League 1, with an almost entirely new team, new owners, and for the most part new opponents. The coach Dave Bulow who had a long history with the Kickers only had half a season as head coach so you can throw him on the “new” pile as well.

The past two seasons have been a miserable slog for the Kicker faithful. The team finished in the bottom of the league both years and missed the playoffs for the first time in 13 years.

The new ownership group 22 Holdings, LLC consists of Kickers mainstay Rob Ukrop, Matt Spear, Alex Deegan, Andy Schwab, Bryce Smith Ben Hayes. They all have a Davidson College connection. All of them attended the college and were part of the ’92 soccer team. Matt Spear the captain of that ’92 team also served as Davidson’s men’s soccer coach for 18 years. Matt has stepped in as the Kickers’ new president.

Coach Bulow was given full control of selecting his roster for this season. He focused on trying to get as many USL Championship players on board as possible and was successful in that mission. Only four players from last year’s team are returning, Conor Shanosky, Scott Thomsen, Matt Bolduc, and Braedon Troyer. A few of the new players to keep an eye on include; Joe Gallardo a forward from Orlando City B, Eli Lockaby a defender who has been playing for VCU, and Daniel Jackson another forward who played for Bollklubben-46 in Finland. You can see the full roster here but for real insight into how this team was formed and the guiding philosophy check the interview with Coach Bulow by the Total Soccer Show.

Now that we’ve got all that housekeeping out of the way we’ll go back to our traditional match preview format.

Preview: Richmond Kickers vs Lansing Ignite

Opponent: Lansing Ignite FC (0-0-0)
Saturday, March 30 – 5 PM
Weather Forecast from


  1. Everything is new. We know very little about the team beyond what we’ve seen at pre-season and even less about the opponent.
  2. The Kickers will definitely be trying to play it out of the back more and Coach Bulow even mentioned goalkeeper Akira being an 11th field player. This will make for exciting soccer but could also bite the team in the ass if not everyone is on the same page.
  3. Another gem from Bulow’s interview above was to keep an eye on the “shorties”. The Kicker has picked up a few players that are closer to 5′ than 6′ and he stated that they’ve got the speed and skills to surprise both opponents and fans.


This is a total guess since there are way too many variables. We’ve liked what we’ve seen during the pre-season, we make no pretense at being unbiased, and that combined with a home-field advantage we’ve got to give it to the Kickers.

Kickers 2 – 1 Lansing Ignite


The Richmond Kickers will open their 27th professional season this Saturday night at 5:00 p.m. as they host Lansing Ignite FC in their first-ever match, presented by Woodfin. This match will mark the start of the 2019 USL League One season. The party starts when the gates open at 3:30 p.m. with live music from the VCU Peppas and craft beer on tap with specials right when the gates open! The Kickers take the field at 5:00 p.m. to face Lansing. The first 1,000 fans through gates will receive a 2019 schedule magnet, courtesy of WTVR CBS 6. Catch this match streaming online through ESPN+ and on the Kickers Official Television partners WTVR CBS 6. Tickets are available now at
Saturday’s match will be the first-ever meeting between the two clubs, with Lansing fielding a team for the first time. The Kickers were announced as a founding member of USL League One in September 2018, joining nine other clubs for the league’s inaugural season: Chattanooga Red Wolves SC, FC Tucson, Forward Madison, Greenville Triumph SC, North Texas SC, Orlando City B, South Georgia Tormenta FC, Toronto FC II and Saturday’s opponent, Lansing Ignite FC.
Richmond will have a new look for the 2019 season, following an ownership change that saw 22 Holdings, LLC purchase the pro team. With David Bulow returning at the helm for his first full season in charge of the Kickers, the Kickers only return five players from the 2018 squad, which includes Greg Boehme, Matt Bolduc, Conor Shanosky, Scott Thomsen and Braeden Troyer. Bulow made it a point to bring in USL Championship calibre talent, adding veteran players such as Dennis Chin, Akira Fitzgerald and Daniel Jackson.
Heading into their first-ever match, Lansing finished their preseason with a record of 3-1-0 behind head coach Nate Miller. Haitian youth international Steeve Saint-Duc lead the way for LIFC in scoring during preseason with four goals. LIFC announced this week that former Charlotte Independence and Des Moines Menace defender Brandon Fricke will be the first captain for the new club.
The Kickers will be back in action next Saturday night, April 6 to host South Georgia Tormenta FC for a 5:00 p.m. kickoff. It’s College Night at City Stadium, with students getting tickets for just $10 at the gate with a valid student ID. Tickets for this match are on sale right now at


Richmond: Forward Daniel Jackson (#9) is set to lead the Kickers attack Saturday night after joining the Kickers over the off season. The Pittsburgh native returns to the U.S. after a stint in Finland with Bollklubben-46. Goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald (#1) brings veteran leadership to the Kickers defense. The Wake Forest product brings in a wealth of USL Championship experience split between North Carolina FC and the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Returning to the Kickers backline for 2019, defender Conor Shanosky (#5) will play in his fifth season in Richmond. Over the last two seasons, Shanosky has made 42 appearances, starting in 38 matches and scoring one goal and notching an assist.
Lansing: Coming off an international match with the Trinidad and Tobago national team taking on Wales, midfielder Nathan Lewis (#27) joins Lansing for the start of the USL League One season. Lewis comes to Lansing following 11 appearances for USL Championship side Indy Eleven in 2018. Defender Nick Moon (#14) impressed at a closed-door tryout in January, earning himself a professional contract with Lansing. A product of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Moon scored 13 goals and notched 12 assists over 71 appearances during his four-year collegiate career. Forward Steeve Saint-Duc (#11) brings his Haitian youth national team experience to the Ignite for the USL League One Season. He most  recently featured for the Haiti U20 national team during the 2018 CONCACAF U20 Championship in November.

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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.