RICHMOND, VA – (Wednesday, April 19, 2006) – The Richmond Kickers are pleased to host the Cincinnati Kings in the regular season home opener, Saturday, April 22nd. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. at the University of Richmond Stadium. This weekend’s match doubles as one of six U.S. Open Cup Qualifiers.
The Kickers and the Kings will meet this weekend for the first time in the history of the two franchises. In 2005, the Kings finished their inaugural season fifth in the USL Second Division with a regular season record of 7-8-5.
U.S. Open Cup Format
For the second consecutive year, a total of 42 (26 professional and 16 amateur) will compete in the 2006 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup when it kicks off in June. The Richmond Kickers first six regular season games (April 22nd through May 27th) will double as U.S. Open Cup qualifiers. The top six of the nine teams in the USL Second Division, including defending league champion Charlotte Eagles, will qualify for Cup play based on point percentage from regular season games played through May 28th. Charlotte and the top three qualifiers will enter the Second Round on June 28th while the bottom two qualifiers enter the First Round on June 14th.
Dating back to 1914, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is the oldest cup competition in the United States and is among the oldest in the world. Open to all affiliated and professional teams in the United States, the 91-year old, single-elimination domestic cup competition gives any affiliated team in the United States a chance at winning the title of “United States Club Champions.”
National Team Call-Up
Midfielder Tim Brown (#15) will be unavailable for selection this weekend as he has been called up to the New Zealand National Team for a pair of friendly internationals against Chile April 25th and 27th in Rancagua and Calera, respectively. Named to the 19-man squad last week and the All-Whites will depart for Chile this Friday. Brown earned his first international cap on May 31, 2004 in a 3-0 win over the Solomon Islands during the Oceania Football Confederation Nation’s Cup Tournament and made a second appearance with the All-Whites on June 9, 2005 in a friendly against Australia. During the off-season, the native of Wellington, New Zealand earned two more caps, registering a combined 167 minutes in two victories over Malaysia.
This week, the Kickers added firepower with the signing of former Virginia Beach Mariners forward Cecil Lewis (#21). Lewis spent two seasons (2002-2003) with the Mariners, making 13 appearances for 413 minutes. Most recently, he made one appearance with the Wilmington Hammerheads of the USL Second Division during the 2004 campaign before a season-ending injury. On trial last weekend, Lewis played 14 minutes with the Kickers during the 1-1 exhibition against Virginia Beach.
Players To Watch
Kickers: Second-year forward Robert Ssejjemba (#14) tallied the Kickers lone goal in the home-and-home exhibition series versus USL First Division Virginia Beach Mariners. Richmond native and graduate of Benedictine High School Steven Wolfe (#16) completed the Kickers defensive unit, making his professional home debut last weekend, starting and playing the full 90 minutes versus the Mariners. Expected back on the game day lineup is returning defender Ray Goodlett (#4), sidelined last week through injury. 2005 Player’s Choice MVP Ronnie Pascale (#22) will protect the nets for the Kickers after making a combined 14 saves against the First Division Mariners during the two exhibition matches.
Kings: Trinidad native Travis Sobers (#17) returns to Cincinnati in 2006 after finishing the 2005 campaign second in points with 10 and goals with four. Defender Derek Smith (#21) led the Kings and concluded the season third in the USL Second Division in minutes played with 1,794. Midfielder John Liersemann (#7) is a former member of the Richmond Kickers Future, making four starts in 10 appearances for 505 minutes during the 2004 season.