released by the Riverhounds Director of Public Relations
Pittsburgh, PA – October 22, 2010- The Pittsburgh Riverhounds are proud to announce their participation in USL PRO for the 2011 Season. United Soccer Leagues will combine teams from the its First and Second Divisions to form USL PRO, the strongest professional soccer league in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean outside of Major League Soccer.
USL PRO will introduce regional divisions through the merger of many storied franchises in the United States and the evolution of new franchises throughout North America. USL is anticipating as many as four regions, comprised of as many as 20 teams, creating highly competitive matches and natural regional rivalries to bolster the league’s allure. Additional franchises participating in USL PRO for the 2011 season will be announced in the upcoming weeks.
“The Riverhounds built an impressive amount of momentum both on and off the field in 2010, and we’re looking forward to them adding to their recent success in USL PRO,” USL President Tim Holt said. “Justin Evans has built a formidable squad that should be a force to contend with in 2011 and beyond.”
USL PRO will feature a Board of Governors responsible for making all major decisions for the league including expansion, competition format and commercial strategy. The U.S. Soccer Federation-affiliated league will benefit from the leadership of the dedicated and experienced professional staff at USL's Tampa headquarters as well as the developmental support of USL's proven and integrated system of leagues.
The Riverhounds are coming off their best season since 2006 by landing a third-place finish in the USL Second Division and a berth into the coveted post season. The Riverhounds were led by first-year Head Coach Justin Evans during the 2010 campaign and matured into the ever present Pittsburgh cliché of a hard-working, blue-collar squad. The Riverhounds owned the stingiest defense in the Second Division and walked away with three post-season awards including Defensive Player of the Year (Shintaro Harada), Goalkeeper of the Year (Hunter Gilstrap), and Rookie of the Year (Jeremy Deighton).
The Riverhounds broke onto the Professional scene in 1999 while participating in USL’s A-League. The inaugural season landed the Riverhounds a conference semi-final berth followed by a quarter-final appearance in 2001. The Riverhounds joined the USL Second Division in 2004, appearing in the semi-finals three out of the next six seasons. In 2006, the Riverhounds were purchased by the Greentree SportsPlex Ownership Group and took a one-year hiatus the following season. Since the change of ownership, the Riverhounds have ascended the USL professional ranks to once again become a contender.