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Photos and Game Summary: Kickers Fall on the Road Against Chattanooga

It’s rare that our intrepid photographer Suzanne Velasco gets to make it to an away Kickers game. The stars aligned this week so we’ve got some exclusive photos from a game the Kickers would rather forget.



The Kickers are playing for pride at this point. A first-half red card stacked the deck against the boys in Red and going into the half they were down by 2. The second half improved both defensively and offensively for Richmond but their efforts fell short, losing 2-1.

Official Kickers Summary:

The Richmond Kickers (8-13-5) were defeated on the road by Chattanooga Red Wolves SC (10-8-9) Saturday night at David Stanton Field. The home side took a 2-0 lead into halftime after a penalty from Ualefi and a goal from Sito Seoane. Charles Boateng pulled a goal back for the Kickers in the second half.

Charles Boateng had a shot blocked four minutes into the match. Maxi Rodriguez sprung Dennis Chin on a run up the left wing. He went for the through ball ahead for Boateng as he was getting into the Chattanooga box. The Ghanian tried for a low, near post shot that the Red Wolves keeper was able to block away.

Three minutes later the Kickers went on the attack again. Josh Hughes knocked down an errant Red Wolves pass and quickly got the ball to Maxi Rodriguez. The midfielder drove into the box looking for the space for a shot. With his angle cut, Rodriguez looked for a cross in front of goal that was deflected away for a corner kick.

The Kickers were reduced to ten men in the 23rd minute, leading to a penalty for Chattanooga. Sito Seoane picked up control of the ball and played a pass through for Amirgy Pineda. Braeden Troyer tried to get back in time to get a block in, instead he fouled Pineda from behind. The referee deemed the play a denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity, sending Troyer off and pointing to the spot. Ualefi stepped up to take the penalty, going to Akira Fitzgerald’s left, despite the keeper guessing correctly.

Akira Fitzgerald needed to come up with a save only two minutes later. Greg Hurst found space for a run, cutting across the top of the Richmond box, going for a shot. Fitzgerald reacted quickly to deflect the shot that Scott Thomsen eventually cleared from danger.

Chattanooga went up 2-0 in the 32nd minute. Richard Dixon got the play going pushing the ball ahead for Vangjel Zguro. He quickly turned to find Seoane making a run in behind the Kickers backline. He fired a shot inside the near post for the second goal of the night.

Richmond had a chance to get back into the match in the 37th minute. Tony Walls was called for a foul on Josh Hughes on the edge of the Red Wolves box. MaxI Rodriguez took the ensuing free kick, putting it just over the bar.

Eli Lockaby had a sneaking chance in the 57th minute. Receiving the ball out wide, it looked like he was going for a cross in towards the back post. When he hit the ball, it arched in towards the upper right corner. Alex Mangels needed to read the play to come up with the save.

Charles Boateng scored his first goal in league play to get the Kickers on the board in the 65th minute. Maxi Rodriguez won the ball in the Kickers end of the field with enough of a touch to get the ball to Mutaya Mwape. The Zambian picked out Boateng with a picture perfect ball. He settled the ball to put it on his left foot and let a shot rip into the back of the net.

Trying to get his second of the night in the 72nd minute, Charles Boateng was only denied by a save from the Red Wolves keeper. Maxi Rodriguez spotted Boateng on the left wing with acres of space. He cut back to create space around his defender and launched a shot. Alex Mangels needed to come up with the big save to prevent the second goal.

With two minutes to go, the Kickers kept pressuring for the equalizer. Josh Hughes controlled the ball on the left flank and quickly put it into the path of Boateng. He charged towards goal. With no defender pressuring, he put a shot on frame that Mangels needed to stop.

The Kickers will close out the 2019 USL League One season with a two match homestand, first hosting Toronto FC II and Breast Cancer Awareness Night Wednesday, October 2. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, the first 400 fans, ages 14 and up, will be given a Breast Cancer Awareness t-shirt presented by the VCU Massey Cancer Center. The midweek match will also be College Night for all the students in the Richmond area. Students with valid college ids can purchase $6 tickets at the booths outside the stadium. Finally, fans over the age of 21 can take advantage of Happy Hour specials from 5:30-7 p.m. that include $1 PBR can beers and $3 off craft beers and wine. Tickets are available now at


Chattanooga 2 0 2
Richmond 0 1 1


Chattanooga GK Alex Mangels, Jonathan Caparelli, Richard Dixon, Andrew Kendall-Moullin, Tony Walls, Ualefi, Josue Soto (82’ – Alexi Jaimes), Amirgy Pineda, Vangjel Zguro (62 ‘ – Juan Mare), Greg Hurst, Sito Seoane

Unused Substitutes: Will Dieterich, Nicholas Amponsah, James Dell, Yaya Cisse, Eamon Zayed

Richmond GK Akira Fitzgerald, Scott Thomsen, Ivan Magalhaes, Braeden Troyer, Eli Lockaby, Jannik Eckenrode (45’ – Matt Bolduc), Maxi Rodriguez, Josh Hughes, Dennis Chin (45’ – Ryley Kraft), Mutaya Mwape (89 ‘ – Daniel Jackson), Charles Boateng

Unused Substitutes: Joe Rice,  Nick Retzlaff, Greg Boehme


Chattanooga 11 3 17 2
Richmond 13 3 16 7


24′ CHT Ualefi (penalty)
32′ CHT Sito Seoane (Vangjel Zguro)
65′ RIC Charles Boateng (Mutaya Mwape)


28′ RIC Jannik Eckenrode
37′ CHT Andrew Kendall-Moulin
44′ CHT Vangjel Zguro
74′ CHT Tony Walls
89′ CHT Alexi Jaimes
90′ RIC Maxi Rodriguez


23′ RIC Braeden Troyer


Referee: Joshua Encarnacion
Assistant Referees: Chris Schurfranz, Zach McWhorter
Fourth Official: Dominic Kennedy
Attendance: 235
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 89 ºF




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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Kickers Preparations for Season in Full Swing

Two months until the start of a new USL League 1 season. We have a brief look at where the Kickers stand, pictures from this past weekend’s open tryouts, and news of match that can’t be missed.



The first kickoff of the 2020 season for our Richmond Kickers is March 28th. (Full season schedule here.) As expected after the third season of missing the playoff changes have been fast and furious. The most obvious change took place right at the end of the season when it was announced that David Bulow wouldn’t be at the helm for 2020.

In November the team announced Darren Sawatzky as their new Sporting Director and Head Coach. Darren’s background is fairly typical for a coach, moving from a player into coaching and youth development. Most recently Sawatzky was coaching USL League One side FC Tucson, which is the affiliate of USL Championship side Phoenix Rising FC. Prior to joining Tucson, Sawatzky made a name for himself in the coaching ranks within the Seattle Sounders FC system and led the Seattle Sounders U-23 USL League Two squad along with directing the Development Academy. His playing career included stints with four MLS teams.

Due to League 1 being towards the bottom of the American soccer pyramid the offseason will often be one of significant roster change. Players will look to either move on up and play at a higher level or hang up the cleats. The Kickers are no exception.

The most recent and arguably the most exciting signing is Argentinian forward Emiliano Terzaghi. Emiliano previously played for San Martin De Burzaco in Argentina. Before joining San Martin, he has played a majority of his career with Club Atlético Banfield in the Argentine ‎Primera División, including scoring the game-tying goal against Boca Juniors in the final minute of the match.

The team roster currently:

Goalkeepers (2): Akira Fitzgerald, Lee Johnston
Defenders (7): Wahab Ackwei, Ian Antley, Devante Dubose, Ivan Magalhães, Conor Shanosky, Scott Thomsen, Kyle Venter
Midfielders (10): Amass Amankona, Greg Boehme, Jonathan Bolanos, Matt Bolduc, Gianluca Cuomo, David Diosa, Victor Falck, Ryley Kraft, Mutaya Mwape, Luke Pavone
Forwards (3): Stanley Alves, Charles Boateng, Emiliano Terzaghi

Those familiar with the Kickers will recognize a good number of returning players with the most dramatic turnover in the Forwards with only Charle Boateng returning.

The most recent signing Jonathan Bolanos follows an early trend with the Kickers of picking up young hungry players straight out of college. Other players members of the youth brigade include Victor Falck and Stanley Alves. The join the other young gun Ryley Kraft who was signed mid-season last year.

That doesn’t mean all the new signings are wet behind the ears. Far from it, there have been plenty of seasoned pros ready to sign on the dotted line. – Lee Johnston, Gianluca Cuomo, Ian Antley, Kyle Venter, David Diosa, and Devante Dubose.

The roster now sits at 22 signed players. USL League 1 allows for up to 30 players. It isn’t expected for the Kickers to reach that maximum. At most expect to see another 2-3 players signed between now and the start of the season.

Pre-season matches are expected to be announced later this week. There is however one match that is already much discussed among the Red Army (the Kickers’ supporter group) faithful. The Third Annual Red Army vs Front Office game will be taking place after an inter-squad scrimmage on March 14th. For those coming wanting to watch the Red Army destroy the front office, there is a 5 dollar suggested donation. All proceeds go to RVAccess and the Red Army will be hosting a raffle with a lineup of impressive items up for grabs.

This past weekend the Kickers hosted their second round of Open Tryouts. A chance for players that might have flown under the radar to get another chance to impress.

Below are our pictures from this weekend.



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Hills & Heights

Kickers Hire FC Tucson Coach

A new Head Coach/Sporting Director has been brought on to move the Richmond Kickers forward.



Remember a couple of days ago when I said, the Kickers won’t be making a coaching announcement until after the Championship season wrapped up? Yeah, once again I’m proven wrong. Yesterday the Kickers announced that they will be bringing on Darren Sawatzky as the new Sporting Director and Head Coach. Sawatzky brings a wealth of coaching experience. Last year he coached USL League 1 FC Tucson and prior to that he led the Seattle Sounders U-23 USL League Two squad and was Director of the Development Academy.

Sawatzky’s record for FC Tucson was not dramatically better than recently released Head Coach David Bulow’s. FC Tucson finished just above the Kickers and had one less win. Tucson’s record was 8 wins, 11 losses, and 9 draws. Their goal differential ended up at -6 and they finished the 2019 campaign with 33 points. Bulow and the Kickers had 9 wins, 14 losses, and  5 draws with a -9 goal differential and 32 points.

The Kickers will formally introduce Darren Sawatzky on Friday and below is the press release:

The Richmond Kickers are pleased to announce Darren Sawatzky as the new Sporting Director and Head Coach of the pro team ahead of the 2020 USL League One season. Sawatzky takes the reins as the eighth head coach in the club’s 27 year history.

“A clear perk is that Darren was a head coach in USL League One this season,” commented Matt Spear, Richmond Kickers President. “His deep experiences with the Seattle Sounders is huge – especially the many years he ran their top quality U-23 USL League Two and Development Academy squads. He drives players to have a competitive bite and he enhances their best qualities. It helps that he played in Major League Soccer, has been a GM and that he has a deep scouting network and relationships with MLS, USL, international and agents.”

Sawatzky joins the Kickers after a campaign with USL League One side FC Tucson, which is the affiliate of USL Championship side Phoenix Rising FC, bringing in experience with coaching in the league. Prior to joining Tucson, Sawatzky made a name for himself in the coaching ranks within the Seattle Sounders FC system. He led the Seattle Sounders U-23 USL League Two squad along with directing the Development Academy, producing talent such as current United States National Team players Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders) and DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United). The Seattle native also had a stint steering the Guam National Team, coaching former Kickers defender Alex Lee. He holds a USSF A License and a French Federation Formation license.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity to lead the Richmond Kickers and work with the technical staff, the operations staff, and the ownership group here in Richmond,” said Sawatzky. “Watching the Red Army this past year showed me first hand what this team means to this community and I can’t wait to meet the fans here and be a part of this growing phenomenon. Being engaged with the fans and the community and building a winner that launches into each postseason is the goal. We are going to hunt trophies while playing entertaining soccer in 2020!”

Starting his professional playing career in Major League Soccer, Sawatzky was drafted by the New England Revolution in 1996, playing two seasons before moving on to the Dallas Burn in 1998. He went on to sign with the Charleston Battery later that year. Sawatzky was back in MLS the next year with the Colorado Rapids. A year later, Sawatzky found himself back in his hometown, signing with the Seattle Sounders, then a USL Championship side.

“Darren Sawatzky was a tremendous asset to Seattle Sounders Soccer Club, both as an Assistant Coach with me in the USL era, and also an integral part of launching our Academy program during our early years,” added Brian Schmetzer, Seattle Sounders FC Head Coach. “He is a very knowledgeable coach and has a good sense of what it takes to be a professional. His work ethic is very high, which translates to maximizing the strengths of each one of his players.”

The club plans to formally unveil Sawatzky at a press conference next Friday, November 15. Details of the press conference will be announced at a later date.

“We are thrilled that Darren is joining the Richmond Kickers family along with his wife Ginny and kids,” noted Rob Ukrop, Richmond Kickers Chairman. “He has a long history of developing young, talented players and preparing them for success at the top level. More importantly, he brings an incredible work rate and an unbridled enthusiasm that we believe will lead our team back to the playoffs.



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Hills & Heights

Kickers Announce Initial Roster for 2020

The off-season roster changes have begun.



The Kickers’ season hasn’t been over for very long and already the off-season is full of news. The biggest news, of course, was that the team didn’t pick-up Head Coach David Bulow’s contract. Word from the team is that the new coach search is going well. I wouldn’t expect any announcement until the Championship League (one above the Kickers) is fully wrapped up as there might be some quality coaches looking for a job.

The second biggest news was released today. The Kickers announced 12 players that will form the core of next year’s team. There were no surprises with the possible exception of local connected Eli Lockaby and Joe Rice being left off. This doesn’t mean they won’t be in red next year it just means that as of today they’re not signed up. Arguably the biggest hole that needs to be filled for the Kickers is that of striker. The Kickers had trouble throughout the year in finding the back of the net and that definitely needs to be addressed.

Full Announcement from the Kickers:

The Richmond Kickers announced the initial updates to the roster ahead of the 2020 USL League One Season. The club has exercised the contracts of nine players from the 2019 roster. With three players currently under contract, the 2020 roster currently stands at 12 players.

“I am excited about the quality of players returning for the 2020 season,” said Interim Head Coach Mika Elovaara. “Bringing back the defensive core that helped us keep 10 clean sheets, combined with our leading scorer and assists leader makes for a strong foundation to build on. Overall, we feel that the 2020 roster is starting to shape up very nicely.”

Already on contract for the 2020 season, the Kickers will see forward Joe Gallardo, midfielder Ryley Kraft and defender Scott Thomsen return to City Stadium.

The club has exercised the options for goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald, defenders Wahab Ackwei, Ivan Magalhães, Conor Shanosky, midfielders Amass Amankona, Greg Boehme, Matt Bolduc, Mutaya Mwape and forward Charles Boateng.

More announcements will be coming soon regarding the head coach and more roster additions ahead of the 2020 season.

The current Richmond Kickers roster ahead of the 2020 USL League One season, listed by position alphabetically, is below:

  • Goalkeepers (1): Akira Fitzgerald

  • Defenders (4): Wahab Ackwei, Ivan Magalhães, Conor Shanosky, Scott Thomsen

  • Midfielders (5): Amass Amankona, Greg Boehme, Matt Bolduc, Ryley Kraft, Mutaya Mwape

  • Forwards (2): Charles Boateng, Joe Gallardo



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