Pittsburgh Riverhounds goalkeeper Hunter Gilstrap has announced his retirement from professional soccer following tonight’s season finale against FC Cincinnati.
Gilstrap, 33, is one of only 10 players in franchise history to have made 100 or more appearances for the club, as his 102 caps rank eighth all-time.
The Lexington, South Carolina native will remain with the club in his position of Director of Goalkeeping for the Riverhounds Academy. Gilstrap built the Goalkeeper Academy program in 2012.
“Having Hunter be a part of this franchise for the better part of the past six years has been invaluable,” said club owner Tuffy Shallenberger. “His contributions to the pro team and the Academy are ones that not only I, but the entire Riverhounds organization, are thankful for. I am very happy to have him remain a big part of our Academy as we continue to grow and build towards a brighter future.”
Wrapping up an 11-year career at the professional level, Gilstrap has made 171 appearances total across six different franchises. His playing career extends back collegiately to first at Clemson University and then the College of Charleston in South Carolina, while he also had a nine-game stint in the PDL with the Greenville Lions in 2003.
His professional career began in 2006, as he was drafted 13th overall in the USL-1 Draft by Miami FC. The keeper would go onto transfer to the Cleveland City Stars of the USL Second Division the following season.
Gilstrap experienced notable success with the Ohio side, helping them to a league championship in 2008. In total, he spent three seasons with the Stars marking 42 appearances, and also made 11 caps for Maritzburg United F.C. of the South African Premier Soccer League during the 2008-09 offseason.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity I’ve had to spend the majority of my playing career in Pittsburgh with the Riverhounds,” Gilstrap said. “I feel like the time is right to close this chapter of my life and move on to the next one. I look forward to continuing to work with the organization through my role as Director of Goalkeeping in the Academy.”
His first stint with the Hounds began officially in 2010 in a season that saw him win USL-2 Goalkeeper of the Year and be voted First Team All-League. Gilstrap remained with the Hounds until following the 2014 season, where he competed for the Carolina RailHawks of the NASL for a year. In total, he made nine appearances for the RailHawks, while also going on loan to the Charlotte Independence for two matches.
Gilstrap returned to Pittsburgh for the 2016 season this past January, making nine starts on the year.