RICHMOND, VA – (Thursday, March 23, 2017) – The Richmond Kickers, the oldest continuously operating professional soccer club in the country, open their 25th Anniversary season this Saturday, March 25 when they host the Harrisburg City Islanders at 5:00 p.m.
The pre-game party, presented by Woodfin, starts at 3:30 p.m. with live 90’s music by Supervixen, RVA food trucks, over 20 craft beers on tap and free commemorative replica jersey t-shirts for the first 500 fans. As part of a landmark TV deal with WTVR CBS 6, the match will be broadcast live on the station’s main 6.1 channel, Comcast 9 and 212 and Verizon FiOS 6 and 506 as well as DirecTV. Tickets are on sale now at RichmondKickers.com.
With a rivalry spanning more than a decade, the Kickers hold an all-time series record of 18-5-8 over the City Islanders. Sweeping the two-game series last year, the Kickers edged Harrisburg 3-1 to open the 2016 campaign before earning a 3-0 victory on the road in July.
Established in 1993, the Kickers embark on their 25th season this weekend. The club finished with an overall record of 13-10-10 and qualified for postseason play for the 13th consecutive time in 2016 before a short-handed side suffered a heartbreaking 2-0 overtime loss to Louisville City FC in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
Saturday’s match kicks off a three-game series between the two clubs, with the City Islanders returning to City Stadium on Saturday, May 13 before the rivals swap home field advantage on July 15. Following this weekend’s home opener, the Kickers travel to defending USL Champions New York Red Bulls II on Saturday, April 1 before returning to City Stadium to host Louisville City FC and the second annual Carytown Craft Beer Festival on Saturday, April 8.
Players to Watch
Kickers: Defender Braeden Troyer (#31) was the only player to appear in all 33 matches with the Kickers in 2016, amassing 2,860 minutes during his sophomore season. The versatile player split time between the midfield and the back line, anchoring the third best defensive unit in the league that allowed just 26 goals in 30 regular season games. Nineteen-year old midfielder Luiz Fernando (#71) earned 10 starts in 25 matches last season, contributing two goals and an assist before departing midseason to tend to family business in his native Sao Paulo, Brazil. Joining the renowned Brazilian club S.C. Corinthians as a homegrown youth player, he was a starter with the Corinthians U20s and also featured regularly with AA Flamengo before signing with the Kickers. Forward Oliver Minatel (#9) signed with the Kickers in December following an extensive career in Brazil, Holland and Portugal. The Brazilian newcomer most recently spent one season with NASL side Puerto Rico FC following a stint with Ottawa Fury FC where he led the team with seven goals in 22 appearances en route to the NASL Fall Season title in 2015.
City Islanders: Veteran goalkeeper Nick Nobel (#1) returns for his sixth season with the City Islanders as the club record holder for wins, career saves, matches played by a goalkeeper, minutes played by a goalkeeper and career shutouts. Making 121 appearances in Harrisburg over five seasons, he helped lead the City Islanders to the 2014 USL Championship match. A native of Virginia Beach, Virginia, newcomer Travis Brent (#4) is set to make his USL debut this season after beginning his career in the Netherlands. A Marshall University product, the defender earned Conference USA Third Team honors after appearing in all 67 matches over four years. Veteran Nigerian National Team midfielder Rasheed Olabiyi (#12) signed with the City Islanders earlier this month, following a prolific career in the Nigerian Premier League. He most recently spent the 2015 season with the Houston Dynamo of Major League Soccer where he made seven appearances and tallied one assist.
DRIVE SMART Designated Driver Program
In a continued effort to foster an authentic atmosphere and safe fan experience at City Stadium, the Richmond Kickers are proud to partner with DRIVE SMART Virginia to kick off the DRIVE SMART Designated Driver Program at the club’s 25th Anniversary Home Opener on Saturday, March 25.
Kickers fans who make the DRIVE SMART Designated Driver pledge at City Stadium will receive one soft drink or water and a special gift from DRIVE SMART Virginia. Designated Drivers will also be entered to win a VIP Experience at a Kickers home game in September.
Founded in 1995, DRIVE SMART Virginia is a non-profit organization charged with raising awareness and changing behavior in order to improve the safety of the roadways of the Commonwealth.
Richmond Kickers Season Tickets
Experience the passion, excitement and authentic atmosphere at City Stadium when the Richmond Kickers 25th Anniversary season kicks off this spring. Richmond Kickers Season Ticket Benefits include 45-60% off match day prices, exclusive invitations, merchandise discounts and VIP benefits. Guaranteed to see all regular season, US Open Cup and playoff games for the best possible pricing, Kickers Season Tickets are a fantastic way to get together with friends, family and colleagues for an unforgettable experience – order now.
Tickets for this Saturday’s home opener $12-$20 and can be purchased here. Doors at 3:30 pm, game at 5 pm.