Richmond Kickers

Richmond Kickers is an American professional soccer club based in Richmond, Virginia. The Kickers compete as a member of USL League One (USL-1). The club was established in 1993, and began play that same year as an United States Interregional Soccer League (now USL League Two) expansion team, which at the time, was the fourth tier of soccer in the United States.

Richmond Kickers
Richmond Kickers Logo.svg
Full nameRichmond Kickers Soccer Club
Nickname(s)Red Army, Roos
Founded1993 (29 years ago) (1993)
StadiumCity Stadium
Richmond, Virginia
Capacity22,611 (can be limited to 9,000)[1][2]
Owner22 Holdings, LLC (majority)[3]
RKYSC (minority)
ChairmanRobert Ukrop
Head coachDarren Sawatzky
LeagueUSL League One
2022USL League One, 5th of 12
Playoffs: Quarter-finals
WebsiteClub website
Current season

The club's majority owner is 22 Holdings, LLC, and its minority owners are Richmond Kickers Youth Soccer Club and the Ukrop family, a prominant family from the Greater Richmond Region who founded the Ukrop's grocery chain. The company serves as the club's primary uniform sponsor. Darren Sawatzky has been the club's manager since 2019, taking over for the late-David Bulow. The club's Director of Soccer, Leigh Cowlishaw, coached the team from 2000 until 2018, making him one of the longest tenured professional soccer coaches in American soccer history. The Kickers play their home league matches at City Stadium, with a reduced capacity of 9,000 seats for most matches. City Stadium has been the club's primary home since 1995. The club has two primary supporters groups: the Red Army and the Scuffletown Social Club, both of whom sit in Section O of the stadium. Richmond has rivalries with fellow Mid-Atlantic and Deep South soccer clubs including the Charleston Battery and Greenville Triumph. The Kickers had a intrastate rivalry with the Virginia Beach Mariners, where the two sides competed for the James River Cup until the Mariners folded in 2009.

The Kickers played their inaugural match on May 8, 1993, winning 1–0 over the now defunct-Columbia Spirit. Richmond has won eight trophies over the course of their history including four regular season titles across the second, third, and fourth divisions, and three playoffs championships across the third and fourth divisions. The club has won the U.S. Open Cup once, winning the domestic cup in 1995. The club earned a berth into the 1996 CONCACAF Cup Winners Cup, but ultimately did not play in the tournament.

Today the club is one of the most well-attended USL Leauge One teams, average normally 3,000 to 4,000 fans per match.

The team has been known to develop several players who has notable soccer careers. Some notable players who played for the Richmond Kickers include, Derrick Etienne, Dwanye De Rosario, and Matt Turner. Some players who played a majority of their career with Richmond include Matthew Delicâte, Yomby William, Robert Ukrop, and Kevin Jeffrey.



The Richmond Kickers were founded in 1993 and played their inaugural season in the United States Interregional Soccer League (USISL), which, at the time, represented the third division of the American soccer pyramid. The team originally played their home matches on the campus of the University of Richmond and targeted players specifically from Virginia.[4] After a poor season in 1994, the club self-relegated to the newly formed fourth-tier USISL Premier League, now known as the USL League Two. During the 1995 season, the Kickers battled to a 15–3 winning season and went on to win the first ever USISL Premier League championship, defeating the now-defunct Cocoa Expos in the championship. That same season, Richmond won their only, Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championship. The following year, Richmond chose to rejoin the third division, where they reached the USISL Select League championship, only to lose to the California Jaguars in the finals.

For the next nine seasons, Richmond played in the second tier of the American soccer pyramid, earning the Commissioner's Cup twice, in 1998 and 2001, as well as earning two conference championships. However, the club was never able to secure a division two league championship, their closest coming in 2005, when the Kickers fell to the Seattle Sounders in the 2005 USL First Division Championship. After the 2005 season, the Kickers ownership self-relegated the team back into the third division, citing possible financial problems for the club if they remained in the second tier.[5] Since joining the third division, the Kickers have had tremendous success, making it to at least the playoff semifinals each season they have played in the third division. Additionally, the Kickers have won two third division premierships and two third division championships during their spell.

In September 2005, the club retired Rob Ukrop's #6 jersey. Ukrop played for the inaugural 1993 Kickers and the 1995 U.S. Open Cup team, joined the New England Revolution at the launch of Major League Soccer before returning midway through the 1996 season to play out his career in his hometown.

Richmond Kickers have not only experienced league success, but have been perennial contenders in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament. In the 2007 U.S. Open Cup, the Kickers defeated the Los Angeles Galaxy of the first division, Major League Soccer, 1–0 in the third round of competition.[6] The Kickers won their First Round match of the 2008 U.S. Open Cup, beating the Fredericksburg Gunners of the PDL with a final scoreline of 3–0.[7] The Kickers won their second-round game over the Western Mass Pioneers 2–1 before being eliminated from the Cup in the third round by MLS side, and defending USOC champion, New England Revolution, 3–0. In the 2011 US Open Cup the Kickers made a Cinderella run, defeating MLS clubs Columbus Crew and Sporting Kansas City to reach the semi-finals, before falling to the Chicago Fire.

The Kickers briefly sponsored two developmental teams of their own: Richmond Kickers Future and Richmond Kickers Destiny. Future played in the men's USL Premier Development League from 2002 to 2008, while the Destiny played in the women's USL W-League from 2004 to 2009. The Kickers entered a multi-year deal to become the USL Pro affiliate of D.C. United in 2013, and continued that affiliation through 2018.[8] Loudoun United FC was launched as a fully owned-and-operated affiliate of D.C. United for the 2019 USL Championship season, presumably ending the Kickers' affiliation tenure.[9]

USL League One era and new ownership (2019–present)Edit

After two losing seasons in the second-division USL Championship, the Kickers announced that they were self-relegating and becoming inaugural members of the new third division league, USL League One.[10][11] In addition to joining a new league, the Kickers announced that 22 Holdings, LLC, an organization consisting of former Davidson College soccer players and led by former Kickers player Rob Ukrop, had acquired a controlling interest in the team.[12] The former majority owners, the Richmond Kickers Youth Soccer Club, would continue holding a minority interest in the team and operating as the team's youth organization.[12]

Colors and badgeEdit

Richmond Kickers original logo (1993–2011)

The Kickers' primary colors are red and white, having been so since the beginning of the 2001 season.[13] Their kits are manufactured by Adidas, as they have been since at least 2009.[14][15] In March 2012, the Kickers revealed a new logo to celebrate 20 years since their inception. Along with the new crest, the club also announced they would be using a third uniform with the colors from their first season in 1993, green and blue.[16] They also have a black kit they have used during the 2013 season.

For the 2022 season, the club released "legacy kits" for the season which included the club's original green color in the home kits. The club used the original 1993 logo in the kits.[17]


Club cultureEdit


The Kickers' supporters groups sit in section O of City Stadium. The two supporters groups are the River City Red Army, which formed in 2010, and the Scuffletown Social Club, which formed in 2020.

James River CupEdit

The James River Cup was an annual competition held between the Richmond Kickers and the Virginia Beach Mariners (formerly Hampton Roads Mariners) which the team with the most points at the conclusion of all scheduled matches between the two teams would win. The Cup was held every year since 1996 with the exception of 1997 and 2001 when Virginia Beach did not field a team. In 2007, the Virginia Beach team was disbanded.

For the 2008 season, the James River Cup was contested between the Kickers' organization and the Hampton Roads Piranhas organization. The cup went to the organization that had the most points in games between their PDL and W-League teams. The series ended up tied 2–2–1, with the Piranhas winning the Cup on goal difference.[18]


Players and staffEdit

Current rosterEdit

As of September 2, 2022[19]
No. Pos. Player Nation
1 GK Akira Fitzgerald   Japan
2 DF Dakota Barnathan   United States
3 DF Chris Cole   United States
4 DF Simon Fitch   United States
5 DF Stuart Ritchie   United States
6 MF Zacarías Morán   Argentina
7 MF Matt Bolduc   United States
8 MF Ethan Bryant   United States
9 FW Matt Bentley   England
10 MF Nil Vinyals   Spain
11 MF Leonardo Baima   Argentina
13 GK Austin Causey   United States
14 MF Luke Pavone   United States
15 DF Jalen Crisler   United States
16 MF Zev Taublieb   United States
17 MF Jonathan Bolanos   United States
19 FW Ethan Vanacore-Decker   United States
20 MF Christian Molina   El Salvador
22 DF Stephen Payne   United States
23 FW David Olsen   United States
24 DF Nathan Aune   United States
27 MF Chandler O'Dwyer   England
29 GK Will Palmquist   United States
30 GK Eli Mumford ([A])   United States
32 FW Emiliano Terzaghi   Argentina
91 FW Owayne Gordon   Jamaica
99 MF Vincenzo Candela   Colombia
DF Otavio Zerbini ([A])   United States
  1. ^
    USL Academy Contract

Reserves and academy rosterEdit

Club managementEdit

Front office
Chairman/President Robert Ukrop
Coaching staff
Sporting Director/Head coach Darren Sawatzky
Assistant coach Mika Elovaara
Goalkeeping coach Adrian Clewlow
Richmond Kickers Youth Soccer Club
Executive director Leigh Cowlishaw
Assistant technical director Fred Sekyere
Team directors Michael Burke
Ross MacKenzie
Andy McIntosh
Mark Stollsteimer

Last updated: November 7, 2019
Source: [1]

Head coaching historyEdit

Dates Name Notes
1993   Bobby Lennon
1994   John Kerr, Sr.
1995–1996   Dennis Viollet Led team to only U.S. Open Cup title and USISL championship
1997   Frank Kohlenstein
1998–1999   Colin Clarke
2000–2018   Leigh Cowlishaw Longest tenured coach in club history
2018–2019   David Bulow
2019–present   Darren Sawatzky






  • Bon Secours Cup
    • Winners (2): 2019, 2020
  • James River Cup
    • Winners (7): 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005



This is a partial list of the last five seasons completed by the Kickers. For the full season-by-season history, see List of Richmond Kickers seasons.

Season League Position Playoffs USOC Continental Average attendance Top goalscorer(s)
Div League Pld W L D GF GA GD Pts PPG Conf. Overall Name Goals
2016 3 USL 30 12 9 9 33 26 +7 45 1.50 7th 12th R1 R3 DNQ 3,996   Yudai Imura 10
2017 2 USL 32 8 16 8 24 36 –12 32 1.00 14th 25th DNQ R3 4,665   Alhaji Kamara 4
2018 USL 34 6 24 4 30 80 –50 22 0.65 15th 31st R4 3,976   Brian Shriver
  Heviel Cordovés
2019 3 USL L1 28 9 14 5 26 35 –9 32 1.14 N/A 9th R2 3,468   Joe Gallardo 6
2020 USL L1 16 8 6 2 22 22 0 26 1.63 4th NH N/A   Emiliano Terzaghi 10

^ 1. Avg. Attendance include statistics from league matches only.
^ 2. Top Goalscorer(s) includes all goals scored in league, league playoffs, U.S. Open Cup, CONCACAF Champions League, and other competitive continental matches.

History vs. Major League SoccerEdit

International competitionEdit


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 April 2005. Retrieved 15 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ 2014 Richmond Kickers Media Guide (PDF). Richmond Kickers. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-12-13.
  3. ^ Wood, Patrick (18 December 2018). "Richmond Kickers Announce New Ownership". Archived from the original on 24 November 2020. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  4. ^ "Professional soccer comes to campus". The Collegian. 4 March 1993. Retrieved 1 June 2012.
  5. ^ "Kickers realign into USL2". 2005-10-25. Retrieved 2008-06-10.
  6. ^ "Kickers oust LA Galaxy". 2007-07-11. Retrieved 2007-07-11.
  7. ^ "Kickers disarm Gunners in 3–0 win". 2008-06-11. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  8. ^ "D.C. United, Richmond Kickers announce landmark affiliation". D.C. United. January 24, 2013. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  9. ^ "Loudoun United FC Joins the USL for 2019". United Soccer League. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  10. ^ Wood, Patrick (2018-09-11). "RICHMOND KICKERS NAMED A USL DIVISION III FOUNDING MEMBER". Richmond Kickers. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  11. ^ Times-Dispatch, ADAM CULLER Richmond. "Richmond Kickers will join a new league, transitioning to third division of U.S. Soccer". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  12. ^ a b Wood, Patrick (2018-12-18). "Richmond Kickers Announce New Ownership". Richmond Kickers. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  13. ^ "Kickers Logo Narrative". Retrieved 1 June 2012.
  14. ^ "Front of Jersey Sponsor Unveiled". Retrieved 1 June 2012.
  15. ^ "Kickers Unveil 2009 Jersey Saturday". Retrieved 1 June 2012.
  16. ^ "Richmond Kickers unveil new logo". Potomac Soccer Wire. 2012-03-06. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  17. ^ "Richmond Kickers 30th Anniversary Legacy Kits Launched". Footy Headlines. Retrieved March 25, 2022.
  18. ^ "James River Cup". Richmond Kickers. Archived from the original on October 29, 2006. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  19. ^ "Richmond Kickers roster archive". Richmond Kickers. United Soccer League. Retrieved September 2, 2022.
  20. ^ "Richmond Kickers vs. Columbus Crew SC - 2015 U.S. Open Cup - Fourth Round". Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  21. ^ "RICHMOND 2, SWANSEA CITY 0 - Richmond Kickers". Archived from the original on 20 July 2016. Retrieved 15 January 2022.

External linksEdit