Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC Tryouts & Club Guide: History, Stadium, Players, and More!

Explore the ultimate Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC guide! Dive into detailed tryout processes, rich club history, iconic stadium tours, and profiles of players. Your comprehensive source for all things Pittsburgh Riverhounds, for aspiring talents to seasoned fans.

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Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC is an American professional soccer team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1999 and beginning play in 1999, the club plays in the Eastern Conference of the USL Championship, the second tier of the American soccer pyramid.

Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC Youth Development System

Academy

The Riverhounds Academy was launched in 2007 to provide young soccer players with a thorough understanding of the game and the skills necessary to perform on the field.

We deliver a skill-driven system of development, focusing on individual player improvement rather than winning team competitions. Our curriculum was initially designed in association with Everton F.C. of the English Premier League.

The Riverhounds Academy currently develops about 1,300 players between the ages of 3 and 18 years old and provides identification opportunities to participate in the Riverhounds Development Academy (RDA), the highest tier within our youth system.

Academy Tryouts

The tryout process has ended, but if you have a child interested in the Pittsburgh Riverhounds Development Academy, please send the following information across to Scott Gibson. We will still be evaluating players on a rolling basis throughout the year.

[email protected]

  • Player Name
  • DOB

We will then work to get your child into an upcoming session for an evaluation.

Do you want to be part of something special?
Do you want want be part of the leading youth development league platform for both boys and girls… The ECNL?
Do you want to be part of the ECNL Regional League (RDAII) platform for both boys and girls?
Do you want to compete in the Pre-ECNL league (U10-U12) for both boys and girls next season?

Now is the time to join! 

Quick facts:

  • The RDA is the only ECNL club in the area
  • A player only needs to register for one tryout date
  • Current RDA players do not need to register this way. We will be in touch directly.
  • Feedback from the evaluation will be quick and efficient
  • We accept highlight videos โ€“ these can be emailed directly to the contact below
  • The RDA has launched a fall program for high school-aged players who are not participating in high school soccer

Quick Links:



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History

In 1998, Paul Heasley, CEO of Pittsburgh-based Alliance International Ltd., a merchant banking and investment corporation, formed the Riverhounds as a member of the USL A-League. On March 11, 1998, then-USISL commissioner Francisco Marcos announced that Pittsburgh had been awarded the as-yet-unnamed team. Heasley and his Alliance Soccer Resources, Inc. ownership group were awarded the franchise, making them the city’s first professional sports team in more than three decades. Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania, native Heasley wants to provide local talent with role models and a way to advance their careers in the business world.

Following the formation of a naming committee comprised of five local businessmen with a passion for soccer in 1998, the Pittsburgh Riverdogs were first introduced as the club’s official moniker. An idea for the name “Riverdogs” came from committee member, Mike Geigel. It was also proposed calling the team the Pittsburgh Pulse or the Pittsburgh Power, to name a few. After the Charleston RiverDogs, a South Carolina minor league baseball team, took legal action against the “Riverdogs” in December 1998, the name was changed to the “Riverhounds.”

Initially, the team’s home games were held at the football stadium at Bethel Park High School in Bethel Park. The Riverhounds’ first head coach was John Kowalski, and the team’s first player was Peters Township native Justin Evans. After Heasley chose Dave Kasper as the club’s first vice president and general manager in 1998, he held that role for the club’s first two seasons before pursuing administrative jobs with the New England Revolution and D.C. United.

In the beginning, Heasley and Kasper operated out of a cramped South Side Pittsburgh office. The Riverhounds made it to the conference semi-finals of the A-league playoffs in their first season following a 16โ€“12 record in the regular season. The Riverhounds were named the A-League Organization of the Year at the conclusion of the season. Despite defeating the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer and their then-A-league opponent El Paso Patriots in their first two games, the Hounds were knocked out in the quarterfinals by the Chicago Fire in double overtime, 3โ€“2. The club’s greatest cup success came two years later in 2001, when they reached the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals.

A drop to the USL Second Division was made in 2004. For one season, the club played at the football stadium of Moon Area High School in Moon Township. The 2004 season saw the club win the USL Atlantic Division with a record of 17-2-1, its most prominent league achievement. As of December 2004, Heasley’s Washington Wild Things baseball team was owned by Sports Facility LLC. The Riverhounds played in Consol Energy Park, a minor league baseball stadium on the suburbs of Washington, Pennsylvania, roughly 30 miles south of Pittsburgh, for both the 2005 and 2006 seasons. Because of structural changes, the team ceased operations during the 2007 season, but continues to offer youth soccer instruction and academies in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

During that time, the Riverhounds were sold to a new ownership group for the third time in as many years. It was Greentree Sports-Plex this time, who bought the club. Jason Kutney, a former Riverhounds defender who would go on to become the team’s CEO and co-owner, was the facility’s CEO at the time. A new venue change was announced by the organization on October 29, 2007. The Riverhounds would relocate to Chartiers Valley High School’s stadium in Pittsburgh’s South Hills beginning with the 2008 season, just off the Kirwin Heights exit of Interstate 79.

After finishing construction on its own permanent soccer stadium in 2012, the team continued to play its home matches there until that year. Riverhounds and Everton of the Premier League formed a cooperation ahead to the 2008 season, which was another big breakthrough. The Riverhounds would use Everton’s youth development program in their own academies as part of the cooperation. The Riverhounds also modified their color scheme from their original red, black, and white palette to predominately blue with white and black accents, which reflects the colors of Everton, as a result of this agreement. The club was sold at least three times and lived in four venues from its foundation in 1998 to 2012, when it finally found greater stability and began the process of securing its own stadium.

2018

After a two-year run with Riverhounds SC, Saint Louis FC announced on December 11th, 2017, that they had signed top scorer Corey Hertzog. The United States Soccer Federation ratified the United Soccer League’s status as the second tier of the United States soccer league system in January of this year. It was decided that Bob Lilley, who had previously served as the team’s head coach, would replace Dave Brandt because he did not have a “A” license.

Additionally, Lilley brought along former Rochester Rhinos assistant coach Mark Pulisic to his new post. The team conducted a special event on February 16th, 2018 to introduce the new branding for the team. “Soccer Club” was added to the official team name while the Riverhounds name was retained. The hound head, which had been a part of the team’s logo since its inception, was replaced by a new circular crest, which was unveiled by the club. The new crest features the city’s bridges and rivers, as well as the traditional black and gold colors of Pittsburgh’s sports teams. The extension of Highmark Stadium to 5,000 seats was also announced during the occasion, which was also required by Division II requirements.

Colors and Badge

The Riverhounds’ original colors were primarily red, with a minor amount of black and white thrown in for good measure. Pittsburgh-based BD&E designed the initial logo. The company made a strategic decision not to use black and gold for the club’s colors. For soccer supporters in Pittsburgh, the decision meant that the Hounds would not fit in with the region’s established professional sports identity, but their shirts would stand out. The club’s academy and training connection with Everton led to the adoption of new colors, primarily blue with white and black added, before the 2008 season began. Also, the color blue was used to allude to the city of Pittsburgh’s working class. The Riverhounds started using black and gold uniforms more frequently in 2014, matching the other major sports teams in Pittsburgh that wear those colors. As a third option, the team wore blue and black uniforms. The Riverhounds released a new crest as part of their rebranding on February 16th, 2018. New crest mixes Pittsburgh’s historic bridges and rivers with conventional sports colors. Brian Gundell, a Portland-based graphic designer, created the crest for the team.

Stadium

At Highmark Stadium in Station Square, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC has been playing since 2013. The Riverhounds organization owns and operates the stadium.

Supporters

The Steel Army, the first group of Pittsburgh Riverhounds fans, was created in November 2007. At Piper’s Pub in Pittsburgh’s South Side, the Steel Army held their first meeting. When the Riverhounds Soccer Club was first reorganized, the organization consisted of about five to ten local residents who wanted to support the club’s efforts and those of the Western Pennsylvania soccer community as a whole. Members come from as far away as Oregon and Florida, as well as from as close as Ohio.

For the first time ever, the Steel Army’s membership has expanded to include members from the United Kingdom (Sunderland and Surrey), Ireland (Bray), and Brazil (Rio de Janeiro). The Steel Army’s sector of Highmark Stadium, where they cheer on the Riverhounds, sits near the stadium’s South Gate. There is seating for 1,000 people on the terrace. Renaming the supporters’ section to the Paul Child Stand took place August 1, 2015, as a tribute to the city of Pittsburgh soccer great Paul Child. Steel Army and Sons of Susquehanna (Sons of Susquehanna) teams in the United Soccer League were fierce rivals before the Rochester Rhinos (Oak Street Brigade) relocated to USL League One.