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Richmond Kickers Home Opener on Saturday

A new season of professional soccer kicks off on Saturday.

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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)
Date/Time:
Saturday, March 30 – 5 PM
Weather Forecast from Weatherbug.com:

THREE THINGS TO KICK ABOUT

  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.

PREDICTION

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

OFFICIAL KICKERS PREVIEW

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 RichmondKickers.com.
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 RichmondKickers.com.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

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.

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James River Park System Update from Bryce Wilk, Superintendent

Through June 30, 2020: 1,076,873 James River Park has had visitors. The same date in 2019: 975,433 visitors. The current staff devoted to James River Park is 5.

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The James River Park is getting heavy use but that’s not all that’s going on in the park. Here’s what Bryce Wilk, Superintendent has to say.

  • The JRPS is seeing visitors at a higher rate than any other year ever! Through June 30, 2020: 1,076,873 visitors. Same date in 2019: 975,433 visitors. This despite all the restrictions in place during the stay at home orders due to Covid 19 this past spring and early summer. Close to a quarter million visitors in the month of June alone.
  • JRPS staff and local paddling groups installed new Dam Hazard Signs and Buoys between Huguenot Flatwater and Z-Dam to better warn people of the dangers of Z-Dam and the river.
  • JRPS hired parking attendants to ticket all illegally parked vehicles at Pony Pasture Rapids Park on weekends and holidays.
  • During the closure of public facilities, JRPS took the opportunity to upgrade the bathroom at Pony Pasture with new flooring and paint.
  • JRPS added parking lines in the parking lot to help guide and organize vehicle parking.
  • Currently we only have 5 full time staff members dedicated solely to the James River Park System, James River Park System relies on volunteers to keep this park beautiful.
  • JRPS is providing volunteer opportunities for river clean ups at Pony Pasture specifically through https://www.handsonrva.org/.
  • If people are interested in volunteering on their own or have any questions, Volunteer Coordinator, Matthew Mason can provide resources and equipment. His email is [email protected]
  • Please visit https://jamesriverpark.org/ and http://www.richmondgov.com/parks/ for the latest updates and safety information about the James River Park System and Richmond’s Parks, Recreation, and Community Facilities.

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Suspects Sought in Commercial Burglary on Jahnke Road

At approximately 6:30 a.m. on Friday, June 19, an unknown male broke into the Shell Gas Station in the 6200 block of Jahnke Road.

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From RPD:

Richmond Police detectives are asking for the public’s help to identify the individuals in the attached photos who are suspects in a commercial burglary that last month.

At approximately 6:30 a.m. on Friday, June 19, an unknown male broke into the Shell Gas Station in the 6200 block of Jahnke Road. Security footage shows two suspects driving a van and parking near the side of the building.

One male broke a window to gain access into the business and stole several cartons of cigarettes and lottery tickets. The suspects then fled. Damage to the van is pictured and circled in red.

Anyone with information is asked to call Third Precinct Detective H. Truong at (804) 646-1067 or contact Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000 or at www.7801000.com. The P3 Tips Crime Stoppers app for smartphones may also be used. All Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.

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Little Nickel and Crossroads “Should” Reopen Next Week

Not back to normal but a step in that direction.

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Two neighborhood favorites are set to come out of Covid-19 hibernation.

Little Nickel made this announcement on Facebook along with the slick looking deck addition you see above.

we’re almost back and this time with a bit of outdoor seating! ~ we’ll be making an announcement on monday about our opening date ~ we’ve missed everyone and can’t wait to reopen our tropical paradise safely, thank you so much for your support throughout this process ~

A little birdie told me that the announcement on Monday will be a Wednesday opening. Little birdies are known to be wrong but I trust this one.

Crossroads is not as precise. They’re planning for mid-July. Work is going on to complete a couple projects. Once those wrap up they’ll be pivoting to take out only for a bit.

Next week is mid-July so I’m hopeful that our favorite little coffee shop will be back in action.

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