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Kickers

Richmond Kickers Terzaghi and Fitzgerald Honored by USL1

Although the Kickers were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round there was still plenty to celebrate.

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Reigning 2020 USL League One Most Valuable Player and reigning back-to-back Golden Boot winner Emiliano Terzaghi was named USL League One Most Valuable Player for the second consecutive season, the league announced Thursday.

“Ganar este premio tan importante por segunda vez consecutiva significa un gran orgullo para mi de gran importancia porque volver a conseguirlo siempre es más difícil que hacerlo por primera vez.”

“Winning this important award for the second time in a row means a lot to me,” Terzaghi said. “It was of great importance because getting it again is always more difficult than doing it for the first time.”

“Agradezco a mis compañeros de equipo a todo el staff y la gente que trabaja con nosotros día a día que sin ellos no ubiese sido posible todo este proceso de mi crecimiento.”

I thank my teammates and all the staff and people who work with us every day because without them this whole process of my growth as a member of the Kickers would not have been possible.”

After earning league MVP, Golden Boot, and All-League First Team honors during the truncated 2020 season, Terzaghi continued his ascendancy as the face of USL League One as he scored 18 goals in 27 appearances — averaging a goal every 128.4 minutes — setting the league’s new single-season goal scoring record. Furthermore, Terzaghi now sits as the league’s all-time leading goal scorer with 28 goals over the last two seasons.

“To follow up the 2020 Golden Boot with an 18 goal 2021 Golden Boot season is an incredible accomplishment,” Chief Sporting Officer and Head Coach Darren Sawatzky said. “He was a known commodity going into this season so it makes it even more difficult.

“Emi’s presence in our club is much greater than the statistics he has accumulated over the past two seasons. He is a humble professional who comes to work each day ready to help the team in any way needed. There are some very good players in USL League One, having Emi in our culture here day to day showcases for all of us how valuable he is for our club.”

Terzaghi shared the responsibility of acting as club co-captain alongside Ivan Magalhães during the 2021 season, and Terzaghi led by example who specialized in changing the outcomes of matches as he scored the game-winning goal in six matches as well as assisting Jonathan Bolanos’ game winner against North Texas on July 3.

The Argentine talisman’s ability to come up clutch was on full display in the waning weeks of the season as the Kickers went on a five-match winning streak to guarantee its first appearance in the postseason since 2016 with Terzaghi scoring the game winner in four of the matches and a brace in the regular-season home finale against Forward Madison.

The consistency displayed by Terzaghi throughout the season cannot be overstated as the forward picked up Player of the Month honors during the months of July and October. Terzaghi was a fixture in the league’s weekly honors earning Cleer Audio Player of the Week in week 13 as well as recognition in the Cleer Audio Team of the Week during weeks 5, 17, 19, 25, 26, 28, and 30.

El rey’s heroics on the pitch saw him earn his second-straight Red Army Supporters’ MVP that was awarded to him following the conclusion of the regular-season home finale.

“¡Soy muy agradecido y trabajo muy duro para representar a nuestra comunidad al club para llevarlo a lo más alto! ¡También devolverle a los fans todo el cariño que nos dan siempre ! ellos son un parte muy especial para mi.”

“I am very grateful and I work very hard to represent our community and this club to take it to the top! To give back to the fans after all the love they always give us, they are a very special part of me!” – Richmond Kickers Announcment

Richmond Kickers’ starting goalkeeper and goalkeeping coach, Akira Fitzgerald was named the USL League One Goalkeeper of the Year for his record-breaking efforts during the 2021 season, the league announced Tuesday.

“It’s a great honor to win this award because there are many top goalkeepers in this league who had fantastic seasons and will go on and have great careers,” Fitzgerald said. “I’ve been extremely fortunate to have played this long and to win this award at this stage of my career is a great accomplishment.

“I feel more motivated than ever to continue to push on and achieve more for the club and myself.”

The 34-year-old veteran enjoyed a career year as he set the new single-season league record of 89 saves. Furthermore, Fitzgerald recorded 10 clean sheets that led all goalkeepers as the Kickers finished tied for second in total clean sheets behind first-place Greenville Triumph SC.

Fitzgerald would also record a 72.1 percent save percentage ranking ahead of 2021 Golden Glove winner Rashid Nuhu of Union Omaha.

“Being able to lead the league in clean sheets was an incredible collective effort that we as a group can take great pride in,” Fitzgerald said. “Every player played a role in making sure we were defensively solid each week, and I have to give an incredible amount of love to my backline who always put everything they had into each match.

He continued, “I think it also showed how strong our goalkeeping department was to set a single-season record in saves while also helping the team into the playoffs. I want to thank Austin Aviza and Austin Causey for their incredible professionalism and hard work throughout the year because without them it wouldn’t have been possible to achieve these kinds of numbers and success for the club.”

Fitzgerald previously was named to the USL League One All-League First Team earlier in November 2021 before being named as a finalist for Goalkeeper of the Year. He was nominated alongside Omaha’s Nuhu and New England Revolution II’s Joe Rice — a former Richmond Kicker and understudy to Fitzgerald in 2019.

“It’s a great accomplishment for Akira after a very good season,” Chief Sporting Officer and Head Coach Darren Sawatzky said. “You need your goalkeeper to keep you in games and Akira has done that consistently over the past two seasons.

“He is in charge of our goalkeeping department here in Richmond and we look forward to him between the pipes and running training in 2022 and beyond. I cannot think of a human being with more class, and I am happy he is being recognized.” – Richmond Kickers Announcement

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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.

Kickers

PHOTOS: Richmond Kickers Tryouts

This weekend soccer hopefuls tried out for the Richmond Kickers.

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The Richmond Kickers held an open tryout and we captured a few pictures. Perhaps we’ll see some of these guys on the field at City Stadium this spring. The Kickers’ first home game is Saturday, April 1st. You can check out Season Tickets here and individual tickets here.


















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Community

Kickers Announce Initial Roster Decisions

The Richmond Kickers announced initial contract decisions for the 2023 season, Wednesday, with three exercised options and four option declines as the club prepares to defend its 2022 USL League One regular-season title.

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The Richmond Kickers announced initial contract decisions for the 2023 season, Wednesday, with three exercised options and four option declines as the club prepares to defend its 2022 USL League One regular-season title.

“We worked very hard over the past few years to develop our culture here in Richmond, and this past season we put together a great run to win the regular season Championship,” Kickers’ Chief Sporting Officer and Head Coach, Darren Sawatzky said. “With that success, we didn’t win the games we needed to in the playoffs.

“We have some great young players chasing higher-level opportunities, and we have some players heading to new opportunities. We are adding some good players and at the same time, we are bringing back the backbone of the culture the guys have created.”

Forwards Matthew Bentley and Owayne Gordon and midfielder Chandler O’Dwyer return to the Roos after their contract options for 2023 were picked up by the club.

Bentley finished his first professional season tied for second on the team with six goals and tied for fifth with three assists while starting 18 of 26 league matches. Gordon, a midseason signing, tied for fourth on the team with five goals while also making three assists in 22 league appearances. O’Dwyer made his professional debut in the Kickers’ second US Open Cup match and finished with three appearances across all competitions.

Reigning back-to-back-to-back USL League One MVP and Golden Boot winner Emiliano Terzaghi and 2022 USL League One Goalkeeper of the Year Nominee and Kickers’ goalkeeping coach Akira Fitzgerald have existing contracts for 2023.

The contract options for midfielders Matthew Bolduc, Leonardo Baima, and Christian Molina and goalkeeper Austin Causey were declined by the club.

The 2023 season will be here before you know it! Kickers fans can get ready now by placing a $100 deposit for a 2023 season ticket. With one additional regular season match and two new opponents joining USL League One, City Stadium will be the place to be. Additional information can be found at richmondkickers.com/seasontickets.

Stay up to date with all of the Kickers news at RichmondKickers.com and on social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube!

Rostered Players for 2023 as of December 7, 2022 

GOALKEEPERS: Akira Fitzgerald

DEFENDERS: 

MIDFIELDERS: Chandler O’Dwyer

FORWARDS: Emiliano Terzaghi, Matthew Bentley, Owayne Gordon

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Community

PHOTOS & GAME SUMMARY: Heartbreak at City Stadium as Kickers Lose Semi-final Match

The Kickers has all the advantages going into the Semi-final but couldn’t score and fell short and lost by one goal.

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Official Game Summary

RICHMOND KICKERS: 0
CHATTANOOGA RED WOLVES SC: 1 86′ Mentzingen (Villalobos)

The #1 seeded Richmond Kickers’ season ended in the USL League One Playoff Semifinals, presented by Hisense, after falling to the #4 seeded Chattanooga Red Wolves 1-0, Saturday night.

The night began as a celebration as the Kickers were set to host their first home playoff match since the 2014 season. For a second-straight outing at City Stadium, the Kickers hosted over 5,500 fans after enjoying a capacity sellout during the regular-season finale.

Typical for a matchup between the Kickers and the Red Wolves, the match was physical throughout.

In the 8th minute, Jonathan Bolanos fired off a low-rolling shot that the Red Wolves’ keeper spilled. Emiliano Terzaghi pounced on the opportunity to get the rebound, began to dribble around the keeper and was tripped to the ground as the goalkeeper clumsily attempted to stop Terzaghi. However, the foul was not called and the Red Wolves resumed play with a goal kick.

Later in the 23rd minute, Nil Vinyals took a free kick from outside the box. The cross found its way into the box and Jalen Crisler got his head to the ball and redirected it toward the goal. The keeper was only able to deflect the attempt, and Simon Fitch was able to get the ball into the goal. However, Crisler was deemed offside by the sideline official and the goal was disallowed.

Then, in the 39th minute, a red card was shown to the Red Wolves’ David Texeira after committing a serious foul against Ethan Bryant, bringing Chattanooga’s numbers down to 10 on the pitch.

Both teams returned to the locker room at halftime tied 0-0 and both were looking for the go-ahead goal in order to move on to the final.

More opportunities came in the 74th minute when Dakota Barnathan crossed the ball over to Owayne Gordon on the right side of the pitch. Gordon then crossed the ball into the box to find a crashing Vinyals, but the Red Wolves’ keeper was able to make the save.

In the 84th minute, Zaca Moran took an enterprising shot from outside the 18-yard box but the ball went just over the crossbar.

With the Kickers pushed forward, the Red Wolves were able to capitalize on their one real chance of the night on a counterattack in the 86th minute. Chattanooga’s Rafael Metzingen raced up the field before hitting a curling effort that bent around and into the net.

Richmond pressed for an equalizer as time-wasting from the visitors allowed for nearly 10 minutes of added time, but the ball did not find the back of the net for the hosts.

The Kickers’ will now tie a bow on the season in the next week as end-of-season awards are announced. Currently, Bolanos and Terzaghi are nominated for Most Valuable Player, Akira Fitzgerald is nominated for Goalkeeper of the Year, Crisler is nominated for Defender of the Year, Bryant is nominated for Young Player of the Year, and Head Coach Darren Sawatzky is nominated for Coach of the Year.

As the Kickers prepare to defend their regular-season title in the 2023 season, fans can now place deposits for 2023 season tickets. Fans can do so at richmondkickers.com/seasontickets.

Stay up to date with the latest news from the Kickers at RichmondKickers.com and on the official team app.

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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