After training and playing in preseason games with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds as a trialist for a few weeks, today the team announced the signing of Rich Balchan, to a one-year deal pending USL and USSF approval.
Balchan officially joins the club after last competing for Ottawa Fury FC in 2016, where he made three appearances in another injury plagued season.
Balchan was inserted into the line-up in the first half of the Akron scrimmage at right back — and within the first 20 minutes he unleashed a shot on goal. The well-traveled defender also played in the Hounds 1-1 draw against Charleston on Sunday — providing an experienced option on the right side of the back line.
“Rich is an experienced right back that can also play center back. We were a little thin in the back with only eight guys on the roster covering those spots, but heavy up front, so I think Rich is a really good addition for us as an experienced, solid, versatile defender,” said head coach Dave Brandt.
The Hounds are hoping that the 28 year-old defender can stay healthy making only 22 appearances for a number of clubs since 2013, including MLS’s Real Salt Lake (2013-15), Tampa Bay Rowdies (2015) and Ottawa (2016).
A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Balchan was originally drafted by current MLS affiliate Columbus Crew SC in the first round (14th overall) of the 2011 MLS SuperDraft. With Crew SC, Balchan registered 19 appearances between 2011-12, including one goal, before signing with Real Salt Lake in 2013.
Internationally, Balchan competed for the United States U-20 National Team in 2008, notably making appearances against reserve squads from Manchester United and the Bolton Wanderers.
At the collegiate level, Balchan played at Indiana University from 2007-10, making 80 appearances and receiving multiple All-Big Ten honors. He also had stints with the Fort Wayne Fever and Chicago Fire Premier of the USL and FC Indiana of the NPSL during this time.
With the addition of Balchan, the Hounds are up to 27 players officially on the roster for the 2017 campaign.
Check out Rich Balchan’s shot on goal — and other highlights from the Hounds scrimmage vs Akron (3-0 win) on Feb. 25.