Richmond Kickers

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Richmond Kickers
Full nameRichmond Kickers Soccer Club
Nickname(s)Red Army, Roos
Founded1993 (31 years ago) (1993)
StadiumCity Stadium
Richmond, Virginia
Capacity6,000[1]
Owner22 Holdings, LLC (majority)[2]
RKYSC (minority)
ChairmanRobert Ukrop
Head coachDarren Sawatzky
LeagueUSL League One
2022USL League One, 1st of 12
Playoffs: Semi-finals
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Richmond Kickers is an American professional soccer club based in Richmond, Virginia. The Kickers compete as a member of USL League One (USL1). The club was established in 1993, and began play that same year as a United States Interregional Soccer League (now USL League Two) expansion team, which at the time, was the fourth tier of soccer in the United States.

The club's majority owner is 22 Holdings, LLC, and its minority owners are Richmond Kickers Youth Soccer Club and the Ukrop family, a prominent family from the Greater Richmond Region who founded the Ukrop's grocery chain. The company serves as the club's primary uniform sponsor. Darren Sawatzky has been the club's manager since 2019, taking over for David Bulow. The club's Director of Soccer, Leigh Cowlishaw, coached the team from 2000 until 2018, making him one of the longest tenured professional soccer coaches in American soccer history.

The Kickers play their home league matches at City Stadium, with a reduced capacity of 6,000 seats for most matches.[3] City Stadium has been the club's primary home since 1995. The club has two primary supporters groups: the Red Army and the Scuffletown Social Club, both of whom sit in Section O of the stadium. Richmond has rivalries with fellow Mid-Atlantic and Deep South soccer clubs including the Charleston Battery and Greenville Triumph. The Kickers had an intrastate rivalry with the Virginia Beach Mariners, where the two sides competed for the James River Cup until the Mariners folded in 2009.

The Kickers played their inaugural match on May 8, 1993, winning 1–0 over the now defunct-Columbia Spirit. Richmond has won eight trophies over the course of their history including four regular season titles across the second, third, and fourth divisions, and three playoffs championships across the third and fourth divisions. The club has won the U.S. Open Cup once, winning the domestic cup in 1995. The club earned a berth into the 1996 CONCACAF Cup Winners Cup, but ultimately did not play in the tournament.

Today the club is one of the most well-attended USL League One teams, with an average of 3,000 to 4,000 fans per match.[4]

The team has been known to develop several players who has notable soccer careers. Some notable players who played for the Richmond Kickers include, Derrick Etienne, Dwayne De Rosario, and Matt Turner. Some players who played a majority of their career with Richmond include Matthew Delicâte, Yomby William, Robert Ukrop, and Kevin Jeffrey.

History[edit]

1993–2019[edit]

The Richmond Kickers were founded in 1993 and played their inaugural season in the United States Interregional Soccer League (USISL), which, at the time, represented the third division of the American soccer pyramid. The team originally played their home matches on the campus of the University of Richmond and targeted players specifically from Virginia.[5] After a poor season in 1994, the club self-relegated to the newly formed fourth-tier USISL Premier League, now known as the USL League Two. During the 1995 season, the Kickers battled to a 15–3 winning season and went on to win the first ever USISL Premier League championship, defeating the now-defunct Cocoa Expos in the championship. That same season, Richmond won their only, Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championship. The following year, Richmond chose to rejoin the third division, where they reached the USISL Select League championship, only to lose to the California Jaguars in the finals.

For the next nine seasons, Richmond played in the second tier of the American soccer pyramid, earning the Commissioner's Cup twice, in 1998 and 2001, as well as earning two conference championships. However, the club was never able to secure a division two league championship, their closest coming in 2005, when the Kickers fell to the Seattle Sounders in the 2005 USL First Division Championship. After the 2005 season, the Kickers ownership self-relegated the team back into the third division, citing possible financial problems for the club if they remained in the second tier.[6] Since joining the third division, the Kickers have had tremendous success, making it to at least the playoff semifinals each season they have played in the third division. Additionally, the Kickers have won two third division premierships and two third division championships during their spell.

In September 2005, the club retired Rob Ukrop's #6 jersey. Ukrop played for the inaugural 1993 Kickers and the 1995 U.S. Open Cup team, joined the New England Revolution at the launch of Major League Soccer before returning midway through the 1996 season to play out his career in his hometown.

Richmond Kickers have not only experienced league success, but have been perennial contenders in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament. In the 2007 U.S. Open Cup, the Kickers defeated the Los Angeles Galaxy of the first division, Major League Soccer, 1–0 in the third round of competition.[7] The Kickers won their First Round match of the 2008 U.S. Open Cup, beating the Fredericksburg Gunners of the PDL with a final scoreline of 3–0.[8] The Kickers won their second-round game over the Western Mass Pioneers 2–1 before being eliminated from the Cup in the third round by MLS side, and defending USOC champion, New England Revolution, 3–0. In the 2011 US Open Cup the Kickers made a Cinderella run, defeating MLS clubs Columbus Crew and Sporting Kansas City to reach the semi-finals, before falling to the Chicago Fire.

The Kickers briefly sponsored two developmental teams of their own: Richmond Kickers Future and Richmond Kickers Destiny. Future played in the men's USL Premier Development League from 2002 to 2008, while the Destiny played in the women's USL W-League from 2004 to 2009. The Kickers entered a multi-year deal to become the USL Pro affiliate of D.C. United in 2013, and continued that affiliation through 2018.[9] Loudoun United FC was launched as a fully owned-and-operated affiliate of D.C. United for the 2019 USL Championship season, presumably ending the Kickers' affiliation tenure.[10]

USL League One era and new ownership (2019–present)[edit]

After two losing seasons in the second-division USL Championship, the Kickers announced that they were self-relegating and becoming inaugural members of the new third division league, USL League One.[11][12] In addition to joining a new league, the Kickers announced that 22 Holdings, LLC, an organization consisting of former Davidson College soccer players and led by former Kickers player Rob Ukrop, had acquired a controlling interest in the team.[13] The former majority owners, the Richmond Kickers Youth Soccer Club, would continue holding a minority interest in the team and operating as the team's youth organization.[13]

Colors and badge[edit]

Richmond Kickers spelled out in blue and red lettering respectively, with a soccer ball underneath.
Crest of Richmond Kickers used from 1993 to 2011

The Kickers' primary colors are red and white, having been so since the beginning of the 2001 season.[14] Their kits are manufactured by Adidas, as they have been since at least 2009.[15][16] In March 2012, the Kickers revealed a new logo designed by branding firm yogg llc to celebrate 20 years since their inception. Along with the new crest, the club also announced they would be using a third uniform with the colors from their first season in 1993, green and blue.[17] They also have a black kit they have used during the 2013 season.

For the 2022 season, the club released "legacy kits" for the season which included the club's original green color in the home kits. The club used the original 1993 logo in the kits.[18]

Stadium[edit]

Club culture[edit]

Supporters[edit]

The Kickers' supporters groups sit in section O of City Stadium. The two supporters groups are the River City Red Army, which formed in 2010, and the Scuffletown Social Club, which formed in 2020.

James River Cup[edit]

The James River Cup was an annual competition held between the Richmond Kickers and the Virginia Beach Mariners (formerly Hampton Roads Mariners) which the team with the most points at the conclusion of all scheduled matches between the two teams would win. The Cup was held every year since 1996 with the exception of 1997 and 2001 when Virginia Beach did not field a team. In 2007, the Virginia Beach team was disbanded.

For the 2008 season, the James River Cup was contested between the Kickers' organization and the Hampton Roads Piranhas organization. The cup went to the organization that had the most points in games between their PDL and W-League teams. The series ended up tied 2–2–1, with the Piranhas winning the Cup on goal difference.[19]

Winners[edit]

Players and staff[edit]

Current roster[edit]

As of February 23, 2024[20]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
2 DF United States USA Dakota Barnathan
3 DF United States USA Chris Cole
4 DF United States USA Simon Fitch
6 MF Argentina ARG Zacarías Morán
8 MF Brazil BRA João Gomiero
10 MF Spain ESP Nil Vinyals
17 FW United States USA Ryan Sierakowski
19 MF United States USA Justin Sukow
24 DF United States USA Nathan Aune
27 MF England ENG Chandler O'Dwyer
32 FW Argentina ARG Emiliano Terzaghi
No. Pos. Nation Player
34 DF United States USA Beckett Howell
36 MF United States USA Landon Johnson
MF Germany GER Adrian Billhardt
FW South Africa RSA Arthur Bosua
DF Brazil BRA Guilherme Franca
GK Chile CHI Pablo Jara
FW United States USA Toni Pineda
DF Chile CHI Maxi Schenfeld
GK United States USA Ryan Shellow
MF England ENG James Vaughan
  1. ^
    USL Academy Contract

Reserves and academy roster[edit]

Club management[edit]

Front office
Chairman/president Robert Ukrop
Chief operating officer Camp Peery
Coaching staff
Head coach/sporting director Darren Sawatzky
Assistant coach Conner Cappelletti
Goalkeeping coach Akira Fitzgerald
Director of player personnel Ray Smetanick
Athletic trainer Rodrigo Perez
Richmond Kickers Youth Club
Executive director Leigh Cowlishaw
Technical director Fred Sekyere
Team directors Michael Burke
Ross MacKenzie
Andy McIntosh
Mark Stollsteimer
Goalkeeping director Adrian Clewlow

Last updated: February 1, 2023
Source: [1]

Head coaching history[edit]

Dates Name Notes
1993 United States Bobby Lennon
1994 Canada John Kerr, Sr.
1995–1996 England Dennis Viollet Led team to only U.S. Open Cup title and USISL championship
1997 United States Frank Kohlenstein
1998–1999 Northern Ireland Colin Clarke
2000–2018 England Leigh Cowlishaw Longest tenured coach in club history
2018–2019 United States David Bulow
2019–present United States Darren Sawatzky

Honors[edit]

League[edit]

Cup[edit]

International[edit]

Other[edit]

  • Bon Secours Cup
    • Winners (2): 2019, 2020
  • James River Cup
    • Winners (7): 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005

Record[edit]

Year-by-year[edit]

This is a partial list of the last five seasons completed by the Kickers. For the full season-by-season history, see List of Richmond Kickers seasons.

Season League Position Playoffs USOC Continental Average attendance Top goalscorer(s)
Div League Pld W L D GF GA GD Pts PPG Conf. Overall Name Goals
2016 3 USL 30 12 9 9 33 26 +7 45 1.50 7th 12th R1 R3 DNQ 3,996 Japan Yudai Imura 10
2017 2 USL 32 8 16 8 24 36 –12 32 1.00 14th 25th DNQ R3 4,665 Sierra Leone Alhaji Kamara 4
2018 USL 34 6 24 4 30 80 –50 22 0.65 15th 31st R4 3,976 United States Brian Shriver
Cuba Heviel Cordovés
7
2019 3 USL L1 28 9 14 5 26 35 –9 32 1.14 N/A 9th R2 3,468 United States Joe Gallardo 6
2020 USL L1 16 8 6 2 22 22 0 26 1.63 4th NH N/A Argentina Emiliano Terzaghi 10
2021 USL L1 28 11 10 7 35 36 –1 40 1.43 5th R1 NH 2,078 Argentina Emiliano Terzaghi 18 ♦
2022 USL L1 30 14 7 9 54 35 +19 51 1.70 1st R1 R4 3,551 Argentina Emiliano Terzaghi 17 ♦

^ 1. Avg. attendance include statistics from league matches only.
^ 2. Top goalscorer(s) includes all goals scored in league, league playoffs, U.S. Open Cup, CONCACAF Champions League, and other competitive continental matches.

History vs. Major League Soccer[edit]

International competition[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "City Stadium". www.richmondkickers.com. Retrieved October 17, 2022.
  2. ^ Wood, Patrick (December 18, 2018). "Richmond Kickers Announce New Ownership". Richmondkickers.com. Archived from the original on November 24, 2020. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
  3. ^ "City Stadium". www.richmondkickers.com. Retrieved October 17, 2022.
  4. ^ "2022 USL League One Attendance". Retrieved October 17, 2022.
  5. ^ "Professional soccer comes to campus". The Collegian. March 4, 1993. Retrieved June 1, 2012.
  6. ^ "Kickers realign into USL2". RichmondKickers.com. October 25, 2005. Retrieved June 10, 2008.
  7. ^ "Kickers oust LA Galaxy". RichmondKickers.com. July 11, 2007. Retrieved July 11, 2007.
  8. ^ "Kickers disarm Gunners in 3–0 win". RichmondKickers.com. June 11, 2008. Retrieved June 11, 2008.
  9. ^ "D.C. United, Richmond Kickers announce landmark affiliation". D.C. United. January 24, 2013. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  10. ^ "Loudoun United FC Joins the USL for 2019". United Soccer League. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  11. ^ Wood, Patrick (September 11, 2018). "RICHMOND KICKERS NAMED A USL DIVISION III FOUNDING MEMBER". Richmond Kickers. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
  12. ^ Times-Dispatch, ADAM CULLER Richmond. "Richmond Kickers will join a new league, transitioning to third division of U.S. Soccer". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
  13. ^ a b Wood, Patrick (December 18, 2018). "Richmond Kickers Announce New Ownership". Richmond Kickers. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
  14. ^ "Kickers Logo Narrative". Richmondkickers.com. Retrieved June 1, 2012.
  15. ^ "Front of Jersey Sponsor Unveiled". Richmondkickers.com. Retrieved June 1, 2012.
  16. ^ "Kickers Unveil 2009 Jersey Saturday". Richmondkickers.com. Retrieved June 1, 2012.
  17. ^ "Richmond Kickers unveil new logo". Potomac Soccer Wire. March 6, 2012. Retrieved March 9, 2012.
  18. ^ "Richmond Kickers 30th Anniversary Legacy Kits Launched". Footy Headlines. Retrieved March 25, 2022.
  19. ^ "James River Cup". Richmond Kickers. Archived from the original on October 29, 2006. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  20. ^ "Richmond Kickers roster archive". Richmond Kickers. United Soccer League. Retrieved September 2, 2022.
  21. ^ "Richmond Kickers vs. Columbus Crew SC - 2015 U.S. Open Cup - Fourth Round". Ussoccer.com. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
  22. ^ "RICHMOND 2, SWANSEA CITY 0 - Richmond Kickers". www.richmondkickers.com. Archived from the original on July 20, 2016. Retrieved January 15, 2022.

External links[edit]