The past year was marked with many highs and lows for local teams and for the world’s most popular sport in Western Pennsylvania. And once again, Pittsburgh Soccer Report was there to keep up with things every step of the way.
Just as the beautiful game has seen considerable growth and sometimes things changing at a rapid pace over the past three years in the United States along with its share of considerable growing pains, it’s been an incredible experience to provide this forum that centers around soccer in our region.
In 2017, this site continued to evolve and expand its coverage ‘beyond the blog’ – growing a network and audience to be more involved in other platforms including a partnership with the Beautiful Game Network to create the Scholastic Soccer Show and as an occasional guest on the Mon Goals podcast; teaming up with videographer Nick Milliron to produce Pittsburgh Soccer Film series and the development of Pittsburgh Soccer Report YouTube page.
One of the most exciting developments has been assimilating my coverage of the Riverhounds to subscribers of DK Pittsburgh Sports. In addition, coverage of high school soccer playoffs fueled by a pair of articles about the state of officiating at the high school level, and wall-to-wall coverage (for the third straight year), including new contributions from Long Hong‘s photography of the WPIAL finals at Highmark Stadium helped push site views and readership into six-digit territory!
Considering the humble beginnings of this site a few years ago — I’ll take it.
Initially when creating this site in 2015, the purpose was to provide on-going and in-depth coverage of soccer in our region that few other media outlets could really devote. It started with the Riverhounds, who I had covered previously both for other outlets, but also worked for the team for a year producing game stories. I decided two years ago to go all in – and not just provide Riverhounds coverage, but use this forum to share soccer happenings relating to youth, scholastic, colleges to International.
This is an exciting, yet complicated and often difficult time to provide a digital media platform – especially when operating mostly as a one-person endeavor. Throw in family and other work commitments (got to pay the bills!), I’ve continued to push forward with tackling important and relevant soccer topics from a local point of view.
While it was a year of ups and downs for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, who failed to make the playoffs for the second consecutive season — despite some signs of improvement from a disastrous 2016. This year still provided plenty of fascinating stories — from the excitement and promise of what was the earliest preseason in the history of pro soccer in Pittsburgh to a year that culminated with promising coaching hires for the Hounds (again – but this time bringing in USL Hall of Famer Bob Lilley) and Pitt women’s team (bringing in former Notre Dame coach Randy Waldrum).
I had a chance to go along for the ride with Pittsburgh’s U.S. Open Cup amateur entry Tartan Devils Oak Avalon all the way to Louisville and Southern Indiana for its memorable and thrilling first round win over the Derby City Rovers. It was also a benchmark year for youth soccer, as Hounds Development Academy’s U19 girls won a National Cup Tournament. This was also a year in which Pitt’s men’s team finally turned the corner, won its first ACC games, beat nationally ranked opponents and took a step ahead in the second season under the helm of Jay Vidovich. There were more developments — as youth scene continues to blossom — including building new facilities (Montour Run & Connellsville among others) and news about the increased presence of the Columbus Crew Academy in partnership with Riverhounds Development Academy will now provide identification centers and a pipeline for Pittsburgh area youth players to the highest level of training and competition available.
In the coming year, I’ll looking forward to producing new features — be on the lookout for Pittsburgh Soccer Profiles series coming soon and I am working on some other spin-off projects. I will also be adding additional contributions from others this year — including more photography, hopefully more video work — and there will be additions of contributing writers!
Again, thanks for reading and following Pittsburgh Soccer Report. My primary purpose for doing all of this is for you — for those who enjoy soccer in our area to have a source for news, information and occasionally reading my best attempts at breaking things down and providing in-depth analysis and long-form pieces.
With proven winners leading the three highest profile clubs that I follow– the Riverhounds along with Pitt’s men’s and women’s teams — suddenly there’s a newfound optimism about what direction Pittsburgh soccer teams are heading. Dare I even say it — with each having set their sights on bringing soccer championships to the ‘Burgh.
It could be the dawn of a new, exciting time in Pittsburgh soccer.
Thanks so much for reading, listening, watching, and following along.
Looking forward to more soccer fun in 2018.