Riverhounds kick off training camp on Monday, Feb. 5 at Highmark Stadium. Marking the official beginning of the 2018 season, the Hounds enter camp with 13 players under contract and an additional 17 invited on trial.
Unlike years past, the Hounds have released a full list of invitees that will be joining the signed players as the preseason kicks off on Monday.
Included on this list are a few recent former Hounds (Stephen Okai, Ritchie Duffie) and former Robert Morris University standout Neco Brett, a forward, who most recently played with Portland Timbers 2, after being selected in MLS SuperDraft by the Timbers. Another interesting player is English central midfielder Joe Holland, who made five appearances with MLS Houston Dynamo and 12 more with its USL affiliate Rio Grande after being selected in the 2017 SuperDraft.
One player that has international experience among the group of players vying for spots on the Hounds includes center back Christian Ramos, a 29-year old who’s made 63 appearances with Peruvian national team, and has never played professionally in the United States in a 10-year career where he’s played exclusively in South America.
Ramos scored the second goal in Peru’s 2-0 win over New Zealand in the OFC–CONMEBOL qualification play-off in November that helped Peru clinch its first World Cup berth since 1982.
And lastly, from the list of 17 players, is a local player of interest, Phil Fives, a defender who played collegiately at Indiana University after transferring from Akron, and prior to that excelled at “The U” — North Allegheny.
Back in 2015, RMU athletic department created this video on Brett, who is from Kingston, Jamaica.
In his first season leading the club, head coach Bob Lilley has brought on six players from his 2017 Rochester Rhinos squad. To date, the club’s roster consists of seven new faces and six returners, including Kevin Kerr, Romeo Parkes and Joe Greenspan. Among the groups to watch is the brand new trio in goal, featuring University of Pittsburgh graduate Dan Lynd and recent USL signees Mike Kirk and Kyle Morton.
The Week Ahead
Preseason action quickly kicks off with the first week of training concluding with back-to-back matches against Spring Arbor University and Cleveland State University on Feb. 10 and Feb. 11, respectively, at Highmark Stadium.
Kickoff for Spring Arbor is set for 3 p.m. and Cleveland State for 2 p.m. Both matches are free to attend for the public.
Competing in the NAIA, Spring Arbor had a successful 2017 campaign, including reaching the Crossroads League Tournament championship. The Cougars went 16-4-1 under the guidance of head coach Nathan Miller.
Based in the Horizon League of Division I, Cleveland State placed fifth in its conference and finished 7-10-2 overall. Head coach Kirk Harwat is entering his second season leading the club.
I will be checking in with coach Lilley at some point this weekend, and likely with some of the returning players in the next few days. Look for more coverage about the start of preseason, along with more details on some of the players on trial later in the weekend.