RICHMOND, Va. – (Friday, March 22, 2019) – The Richmond Kickers are pleased to announce the signings of midfielders Justin Grove, Lucas Mendes and defender Luke Pavone for the 2019 season, pending USSF and USL League One approval.
A Richmond native, Grove grew up in both the Kickers and Strikers youth clubs before staying local to attend the University of Richmond from 2007 to 2011. After college, Grove made the move to Red Star FC in France for three seasons before a move to South Africa for stints with Magic FC and Grassy Park United. In 2018, Grove returned to the states to play with NPSL side Charlottesville Alliance.
Playing three seasons in the D.C. United Academy, Mendes was honored as the Gatorade National Player of the Year in 2016, along with the Virginia State High School Player of the Year while attending Washington-Lee High School in Arlington. The 21 year-old signed with the New York Cosmos in 2017 before making the move to FC Baltimore 1729 in 2018. Mendes has also made appearances for both the United States U-18 and U-20 national teams.
Starting his collegiate career at University of Massachusetts for two seasons, Pavone played his final three years at Buffalo State College. In 2018, Pavone signed his first professional contract with Hapoel Petach-Tikvah in Isreal.
The Kickers now have 27 players heading into the start of the 2019 USL League One season with the additions of Grove, Mendes and Pavone, including Wahab Ackwei, Alex Ainscough, Amass Amankona, Charles Boateng, Greg Boehme, Matt Bolduc, Matt Broomall, Dennis Chin, Jannik Eckenrode, Akira Fitzgerald, Joe Gallardo, Josh Hughes, Daniel Jackson, Aboubacar Keita, Eli Lockaby, Ivan Magalhães, Sam Moore, Mutaya Mwape, Nick Retzlaff, Joe Rice, Maxi Rodriguez, Conor Shanosky, Scott Thomsen, and Braeden Troyer.