With this season mostly lost in terms of USL playoff hopes, Pittsburgh Riverhounds are making an effort to build for the future.
On Friday, the Hounds announced that they’ve signed USL Premier Development League (PDL) MVP and Golden Boot winner, Chevaughn Walsh, to their roster for the remainder of the 2016 season. The contract, still to be finalized pending visa approval, runs through the 2018 season.
This is an interesting signing — and to my knowledge — Walsh is the only player the Riverhounds have signed through the 2018 season.
“We think Chevaughn can be a really good forward. He’s still young, but he can be good right away and he’s only going to get better,” said head coach Dave Brandt.
“If it’s possible to call the PDL MVP an uncovered diamond, or a diamond in the rough, I just think until recently nobody knew about him and he really exploded onto the PDL scene with a big year. And we’re thrilled to have him here – it’s just a really good, and big, signing for the club.”
This is an aggressive move by the Hounds. Without a general manager, it appears that Brandt the coaching staff was eager to take a chance on a raw talent that has turned some heads in the past few months with a scoring surge with a club record 16 goals for the Ocean City N’oreasters in 16 games played.
It was also a calculated move to get a jump ahead of MLS teams to sign Walsh to a contract — before MLS teams could sign him.
A native of Spanish Town, Jamaica, Walsh’s league-leading offensive numbers were buoyed by 60 shots attempted on the season, including two hat tricks in only 14 games played. Along with the club record totals, Walsh was only the second player in Nor’easters history – a club that has been operating since 1996 – to win MVP and was also recognized on the All-PDL and All-Eastern Conference squads.
Including his totals from four games played in this season’s playoffs, Walsh finished the year with 16 goals and 37 points for the Nor’easters.
Prior to joining Ocean City, Walsh competed collegiately at Jefferson College in Hillsboro, Missouri. Most notably, the forward dominated in his last year with Vikings, tallying 25 goals and 14 assists in 20 games to earn first team All-American honors.
In hopes of having Walsh available by the start of September, the club has expedited the visa approval process.
On a side note — the Hounds lost to the Nor’easters in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2013.