From the Richmond Kickers: RICHMOND, VA – (Wednesday, April 16, 2008) – The Richmond Kickers open the 2008 regular season this Saturday, April 19th when they host the Western Mass Pioneers at 7:00 pm at the University of Richmond Stadium. Pro Pass holders will be entitled to special prizes, including a drawing for a new […]
From the Richmond Kickers:
RICHMOND, VA – (Wednesday, April 16, 2008) – The Richmond Kickers open the 2008 regular season this Saturday, April 19th when they host the Western Mass Pioneers at 7:00 pm at the University of Richmond Stadium. Pro Pass holders will be entitled to special prizes, including a drawing for a new Nintendo Wii. Pro Passes must be activated via RichmondKickers.com to be eligible and the cardholder must be present to win. Additionally, the first 500 fans through the gate will receive a free t-shirt courtesy of Dr. Babik, the official dentist of the Richmond Kickers.
The Richmond Kickers lead the series 3-0-1 and last faced the Western Mass Pioneers on August 4, 2007 when the Kickers came away with a 2-0 win at home. Previously, the Kickers battled the Pioneers to a 2-2 stalemate on the road in June of last year.
Recently inducted into the USL Hall of Fame as a 10+ Club, the Western Mass Pioneers enter their 11th season in the USL-2. Falling just short of postseason play in 2007, the Pioneers concluded the season with a record of 7-7-6 and 27 points. Established in 1998, the Pioneers were a success from the start, making the playoffs in their first year and capturing the USL-2 title a year later with an 18-4 record through the season and playoffs. The club returned to the championship game in 2005, their fifth trip to the postseason, and fell short of a second title in penalty kicks.
Meanwhile, the Kickers enter their third season in the USL2. Finishing at the top of the table in 2007, Richmond took the regular season title for the second consecutive season with a 12-3-5 record and 41 points. The 2006 defending Champions found their way back to the USL-2 final match, but surrendered the title to the Harrisburg City Islanders after 120 minutes and nine rounds of penalty kicks.
Players to Watch
Kickers: The Richmond Kickers welcome back USL-2 Most Valuable Player Mike Burke (#19) to captain the squad and anchor the midfield. The three-time Supporter’s Choice MVP tallied a pair of goals in the Kickers 3-0 win over DC United on March 22nd. Newcomer Ben Hunter (#11) joins Burke in the midfield after spending the 2007 season with the Columbus Crew (MLS). A UNC-Chapel Hill standout, Hunter has made an immediate impact with the Kickers, assisting on two of the three goals over DC United. Defender Kelvin Jones (#5) returns to shore up the Kickers defense, doubling as an offensive threat after notching a goal over United last month. Protecting the nets again in 2008, two-time USL2 Goalkeeper of the Year Ronnie Pascale (#22) is consistently one of the top netminders in the league, finishing the 2007 season with a career-low goals against average of 0.684 en route to the Kickers third consecutive USL Championship appearance.
Pioneers: Forward Jeff Deren (#13) returns to the squad for his sixth season after leading the Pioneers in 2007 with seven goals and two assists for 16 points, good for fifth in the league in points and fourth in goals scored. Midfielder Omar McFarlane (#9) finished four points behind Deren on five goals and two assists, ranking in the top-20 points leaders in the USL-2 with 12. Brazilian native Everson Maciel (#10) earned USL-2 All-League Second Team honors while defender Jay Willis (#3) was named to the USL-2 All-League First Team.
Tickets – $15 Anniversary Special
Purchase a $15 Anniversary coupon and exchange it at the gate for an unlimited number of tickets. Fans are encouraged to bring as many friends, family members and coworkers as possible into the game on Saturday, April 19th for just $15. This offer is only available in advance. $15 Anniversary Vouchers can be purchased via RichmondKickers.com. Regular admission is $12/adults, $7/youth, general admission.
Richmond Kickers: Celebrating 15 Years of Soccer Excellence
The 2008 season marks the 15th anniversary for the Richmond Kickers who have been a member of the United Soccer Leagues family since 1993. Over the past 15 seasons, Richmond has qualified for post-season play 12 times, including six league (seven overall) Championship appearances. The Kickers reached the league title match in 2007 for the fourth time in the past six seasons, narrowly missing their second consecutive league title after nine rounds of penalty kicks. Richmond’s previous Championship appearances (1995, 1996, 2002, 2005, 2006) include winning the “Double” with the Premier League title and US Open Cup title in 1995, a shoot-out loss to Seattle in the USL First Division final in 2005 and taking the USL Second Division crown in 2006.