By: Colin Williams
Pittsburgh has always been a football town. More recently, it’s become a “football” town in a way more internationals would recognize due to Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, our local USL Championship soccer team (for context, you can think of USL-C as the equivalent of AAA baseball or the NBA’s G League). Are you a long-term fan or looking to pay closer attention this season? Here’s a preview of what awaits you in the stadium and on the field this year.
👟 The team has brought several fresh players to the roster, some by way of Pitt. A pipeline has developed between Pitt’s men’s soccer program and the Hounds in recent years. Recent signings with a Panther pedigree include Arturo Ordonez, Robby Dambrot and Shane Wiedt (the latter of whom won honors as one of the best 11 USL-C players last week). Returning veterans include captain and USL-C all-time goals leader Dane Kelly, midfielder Kenardo “Kenny” Forbes and defender Dani Rovira.
🏆 Coach Bob Lilley said during Tuesday’s season kickoff press conference that “the talent’s never been better” and he expects the team to make a fifth consecutive postseason appearance. Riverhounds SC is currently one of only three teams in the USL-C to have made the last four playoffs in a row. The team already netted three points during a 0–3 shutout of Memphis 901 last weekend. Their home opener is this Saturday versus Hartford Athletic, and the full season schedule includes home duels with rivals Charleston and Tampa Bay.
🐝 Like the Steelers’ retro bumblebee look? You’ll love the Hounds’ new kits. Their new home look is a classic design with yellow hoops on a black background. A further change from last year is the addition of 84 Lumber as a uniform sponsor. They’ll appear on the front of the Hounds’ third jerseys and goalkeeper shirts as well as on the back of the primary and secondary jerseys. The Riverhounds’ team shop is flush with all four looks as well as lots of other new merch to start this season.
🥟 Highmark Stadium has changed food and beverage vendors—they’ll now be working with French food service giant Sodexo, which currently provides concessions for teams like the Miami Dolphins as well as colleges and hospitals. Sodexo is adding some local flair, including pierogies and kielbasa. The stadium is also switching to a cashless checkout system and adding more points of sale to help cut down on lines.
🏟 The stadium is also getting some upgrades and has more in the works. The new additions include “party containers” (pictured above right) placed at different sideline locations. Each container will be rentable for larger parties of 30–60 who want to sit right next to the action or watch from the containers’ roof decks. On Tuesday, team owner Tuffy Shallenberger also teased upgrades to the suites at the north end of the stadium within the year. He said the team is looking into expanding the general admission and supporters’ sections at a later date.
🏗 The Riverhounds’ soccer complex in Coraopolis is also nearing completion. When finished, the complex will include offices for the Hounds’ team and youth academy, 10 fields for soccer, rugby, and lacrosse and a 22,000 square foot sports medicine hospital run by Allegheny Health Network.
📲 Lastly, the Hounds have a new mobile app and a refreshed website. The app centralizes team updates, ticketing, rosters and more.
Whether you’re in the Steel Army or just want something new to check out this year, the Riverhounds are another exciting way to cheer on the black and gold. With postseason success and a stadium view that rivals PNC Park’s, it’s a great time to check out Pittsburgh’s other football team!