RICHMOND, VA – (Friday, July 13, 2012) – In a sweeping move to bolster the squad prior to the USL PRO roster freeze, the Richmond Kickers are pleased to announce a trio of player signings with the addition of veteran midfielder Mike Burke, Canadian International and former Vancouver Whitecaps FC midfielder Philippe Davies, pending P-1 visa approval, and D.C. United forward Long Tan on loan.
“We look forward to Long, Philippe and Burkey enhancing the overall performance of the team and giving us every chance of qualifying for the playoffs,” commented Leigh Cowlishaw, Richmond Kickers Head Coach and Director of Soccer. “As we reach the crucial point in our season, we are encouraged by the quality and depth of the squad. We now need to take advantage of the fact that we play five of our next six games at City Stadium.”
Burke announced his retirement from professional soccer on April 21, 2012. Concluding his 11-year playing career with the Kickers following the 2010 season, he earned USL Assists Champion and All-League Second Team honors en route to his sixth Championship appearance with the club. Leading the team to two league titles (2006, 2009), the four-time USL All-League First Team selection tops the Kickers all-time assists category with 61.
“Burkey is extremely sensitive to the fact that the Kickers retiring his jersey was one of the most emotional and memorable nights of his life,” said Cowlishaw. “He was very clear to me that he did not want to devalue that wonderful event and has rejoined the team as a personal favor to me. He is not playing for any financial reward, personal glory or desire to turn back the years. He is looking very sharp and his presence in training and potentially games will be a positive influence on our playoff push.”
The 2007 USL Most Valuable Player, Burke made 275 appearances with the Kickers and currently resides in second place on the franchise’s all-time games played list. Logging over 18,000 minutes in a Kickers uniform, the club’s perennial fan favorite garnered Supporter’s Choice MVP honors on six consecutive occasions and was named Player’s Choice MVP twice. A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Burke earned USL First Division Rookie of the Year honors in 1998 with the Jacksonville Cyclones. Making 33 appearances with the Charleston Battery, the midfielder also had a stint with D.C. United and the Dallas Burn of Major League Soccer prior to signing with the Kickers in 2000.
A native of Longueuil, Quebec, Davies joins the Kickers after an extensive professional career with the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, becoming the Whitecaps first-ever Major League Soccer homegrown player and Canadian signing in 2010.
"Philippe is a welcome addition as we look to secure a playoff spot,” commented Cowlishaw. “He is a mobile and attack-minded individual who is comfortable playing anywhere in midfield. We look forward to him making an immediate impact for the team."
Davies first joined with the Whitecaps U-23 Premier Development Team in 2007, playing an integral role in helping the team reach the PDL semifinals in their first-ever season. Making his professional debut for the senior Vancouver Whitecaps in a 4-0 victory against the Minnesota Thunder on July 9, 2009, he continued on to make 29 appearances over two seasons, notching one goal and two assists. Prior to joining the Whitecaps FC Residency squad as an inaugural member, Davies featured for the U-16 and reserve sides of the French Ligue 2 club Dijon Football Côte-d'Or in 2006.
"I am excited to get started and join the Richmond Kickers to help them with their playoff push and ultimately another USL PRO Championship,” added Davies.
Having represented Canada at the U-17 and U-20 international levels, Davies most recently led the Canada U-23’s to their first win in 20 years against the USA during CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying. Crushing the USA’s Olympic dreams, he contributed both assists on a pair of second half goals in the historic 2-0 victory.
The first Chinese-born player to sign in Major League Soccer, Tan and D.C. United teammate Ethan White will also be available for selection during Friday’s match against Pittsburgh. Acquired on June 28, 2012 from the Vancouver Whitecaps FC in exchange for a First Round Supplemental pick in the 2015 draft, Tan has yet to make an appearance with D.C. United.
“Long is a proven goal scorer making a fresh start after his move from Vancouver,” stated Cowlishaw. “While he is with the Kickers, I am sure he will want to impress to stake his claim on D.C. United’s first team.”
Tan joined Whitecaps FC for its inaugural season from USSF D-2 Pro League FC Tampa Bay. Making 17 appearances with Vancouver over two seasons, he recorded one goal and two assists in 437 minutes, notching his lone MLS goal against D.C. United last fall. The 6’1” forward was born and raised in Dalian, China, in the Liaoning Province and relocated to the U.S. in 2008. Tan has spent time with the Chinese U-23 squad, which hosted the 2008 Men's Olympic Soccer Tournament in Beijing.
The Richmond Kickers return to Richmond City Stadium this Friday, July 13 to host the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. Kickoff is slated for 7:00 p.m. and tickets are on sale now at RichmondKickers.com. Mexican food trucks will be on site and the first 200 fans through the gate will receive a stadium cup courtesy of Northwestern Mutual.