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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.

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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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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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Richmond Kickers Delay Start of USL1 Season by Two Weeks

Any scheduled pro club events taking place prior to the start of the season will be postponed to later dates.

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The Richmond Kickers were set to take the field on March 28th. That has now been pushed back by at least two weeks. They released a statement that will look all to familiar in the coming weeks.

Full Statement Here

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Kickers Announce Stadium Improvements

Mayor Stoney and City Stadium’s councilwoman, Stephanie Lynch were on hand along with other city leaders to announce stadium upgrades.

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Work on burying power and fiber optic lines is finishing up on the concourse.

Text from Richmond Kickers Press Release:
The Richmond Kickers are pleased to announce a number of enhancements to the nearly century old City Stadium. Built in 1929, City Stadium is seeing the first major renovations since 1994. Since 2018, the Kickers have put in close to $2 million of upgrades to the facility.

Rob Ukrop

“Mayor Stoney and City Stadium’s councilwoman, Stephanie Lynch, have been incredible advocates for the Richmond Kickers as we look to rehabilitate Richmond’s oldest and most iconic sports facility,” said Richmond Kickers Chairman, Rob Ukrop.
“Built in the 1920’s, the last time major upgrades were made to the City Stadium was in 1994 in preparation for hosting the 1995 College Cup, the NCAA Men’s Soccer Final Four.”

Councilman Addison

Ahead of the 2020 USL League One season, the major upgrades will include new field lighting from Musco Lighting, fiber installed inside the stadium from Segra in order to bring Wi-Fi into the stadium to enhance the fan experience, and a new field irrigation system. The project manager for the upgrades has been Justin Cornwell of Draper Aden Associates. E.J. Wade Construction are the general contractors.

Mayor Levar Stoney

“The Kickers are valuable partners who not only contribute to the development of our professional sports economy but also promote wellness and engagement in the beautiful game throughout our community,” said Mayor Stoney.
“We appreciate the Kickers’ contributions to City Stadium and the City of Richmond, and we’re pleased to be able to provide upgrades to this venerable venue, which will enhance the fan experience and support the team’s commitment to excellence on and off the field.”

Councilwoman Stephanie Lynch


President/GM Matt Spear and Head Coach/Sporting Director Darren Sawatzky

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Photos: Pre-season Match Kickers vs Virginia United

Kickers take the win over amateur side Virginia United on a chilly Saturday night.

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The Kickers continue to prepare for the home opener on March 28th. On Saturday they faced Virginia United a team that they previously played in last year’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

The visitors never really threatened but managed to go into the half with a 0-0 scoreline. The second half was all Richmond Kickers and they netted 3 goals.  Emiliano Terzaghi, Ryley Kraft, and Stan Alves all got on the scoresheet. The prettiest of the goals was Ryley as he slammed one in a free-kick.

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