RICHMOND, VA - (Wednesday, November 18, 2009) – The Richmond Kickers are pleased to introduce a new ownership group, Richmond Kickers Youth Soccer Club (RKYSC). With more than 6,000 players under its umbrella and programs for youth ages 3-19, RKYSC recently acquired the assets of the professional team after claiming their fourth national Championship. Adding the pro program fulfills the club’s mission to grow the beautiful game of soccer and serve the community through a successful soccer club that entertains, invites community participation, and inspires all.
“The youth club and the pro team have worked closely together since RKYSC’s inception in 2000,” comments Rob Ukrop, President of RKYSC and former Richmond Kickers pro player. “By combining the programs, we are better positioned to grow our club model and fulfill our mission to teach life skills through the beautiful game of soccer. We will build on the fine tradition of selecting pro players, such as Mike Burke, Matthew Delicâte, Sascha Görres, Ronnie Pascale and Luke Vercollone, who are not only focused on bringing Championships to Richmond, but are also committed to making a positive impact in our community.”
The vertically-integrated structure creates an inspirational environment for player development while utilizing professional resources for the betterment of the community. The Kickers community-driven initiatives and programs use soccer to teach life-long skills.
“USL Hall of Fame inductee Leigh Cowlishaw and Ihor Dotsenko are two great examples of former professional players who have chosen to immerse themselves in the Richmond community to help build our youth club,” adds Ukrop. “We see this new model as a win-win for all soccer families and fans in the community.
The Kickers are guided by values to help young people strengthen their character as well as their bodies. Pursuit of personal excellence, goal setting, teamwork, and sportsmanship in a challenging, yet fun environment provide the foundation on which the Kickers philosophy is built from youth to the pros. A full-service soccer club with youth, adult, amateur and professional programs, the Kickers pyramid structure serves as a model to soccer clubs across the country.
In addition to the professional team, RKYSC has acquired a vibrant brand, licensing and merchandising rights, a state-of-the-art team bus, year-round sponsorship inventory, an established soccer camp business, website, economies of scale, and the ability to provide resources of professional soccer players to its members and the community, differentiating the club from competitors.
"To oversee a club that provides so many opportunities for individuals to experience the beautiful game of soccer is very important to me,” states Leigh Cowlishaw, Director of Soccer. “Soccer is such a wonderful sport to play and offers countless character building moments to learn and grow. The Kickers have always used the beautiful game to develop players on the field and in life. This is truly what our organization is about and I look forward to signing professional players who epitomize those values to our community."
The Richmond Kickers Soccer Club will be led by Leigh Cowlishaw, Director of Soccer and Shelley Sowers, General Manager. All inquiries regarding sponsorship opportunities should be directed to Hunter Leemon, Sales Director at (804) 644-5425 x 301 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Richmond Kickers Soccer Club
The Richmond Kickers Youth Soccer Club is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that was formed in May 2000 when Eastern FC and Richmond United youth clubs joined forces with the Richmond Kickers Pro Club. Since then, the club has merged with programs in Midlothian, Ashland and Pocoshock.
Today over 6,000 soccer players participate in programs sponsored by the Kickers and partner clubs, including Midlothian Youth Soccer League, Ashland Youth Soccer League, City of Richmond Parks and Rec., Goochland United Soccer Association and littleKICKS. The Kickers travel program consists of 64 teams and over 900 players who compete in the US Soccer Academy Program, Super Y-League, VCCL and ADSL. The club was recently named as one of only 30 adidas Sports Marketing Clubs in the U.S. The club provides opportunities for all players of all abilities and unites soccer in the Central Virginia community. Benefits include economy of scale, consistency of coaching philosophy, professional administrative and coaching staff expertise, positive role models for youth players and a clear pathway from youth to pro for aspiring young players.
RKYSC created an entity and purchased the assets of the Richmond Kickers pro team, which was established in 1993 and has consistently been one of the most successful professional soccer clubs in America. Over the past 17 seasons, Richmond has qualified for postseason play 15 times, and reached the title match in 2009 for the fifth time in the past eight seasons. Richmond’s six previous league Championship appearances (1995, 1996, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007) include winning the Premier League title in 1995, a shoot-out loss to Seattle in the USL First Division final in 2005 and taking the USL Second Division crown against Charlotte in 2006. In addition to on-field success, the Kickers have taken United Soccer Leagues Organization of the Year honors on four occasions (1995, 2000, 2006, 2007).