RICHMOND, Va. – (Wednesday, January 15, 2020) – The Richmond Kickers have signed veteran defender Kyle Venter, pending USL League One and USSF approval.
"Kyle Venter was one of the top central defenders in USL League One last year and he was an obvious choice to pursue this offseason,” stated Darren Sawatzky, Kickers Sporting Director and Head Coach. “His leadership ability and his experience are paramount in helping with the growth of young players on our team and his ability to score on set pieces adds another attacking force for us."
Most recently, Venter played the last season at under Sawatzky at FC Tucson, where he helped the club to five shutouts over 23 appearances, while also adding four goals and an assist. A familiar foe to Kickers fans, Venter was a constant opponent throughout his time in the USL Championship, including stints with Penn FC, Ottawa Fury FC and Tulsa Roughnecks FC (now, FC Tulsa). The native of Aurora, Colorado was drafted number 23 overall in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft by the Los Angeles Galaxy. He went on to make nine appearances on loan to LA Galaxy II during the club’s inaugural 2014 season.
“I am extremely blessed and grateful to have signed with Richmond for the 2020 season,” said Venter. “Being one of the longest operating professional clubs in this country, the Kickers brand is something special and I know we’ll be looking to add some great things to that history this season. I’m looking forward to getting to the city and beginning the tireless work with my teammates, the staff, and the rest of the organization that will allow us to achieve the success we’re all chasing.”
A four year starter at the University of New Mexico, Venter started in all but one of his 86 matches for the Lobos, finding the back of the net on eight occasions and added four assists. Over his time with the Lobos, Venter was named a three-time NSCAA and College Soccer News All-American. He had a standout senior year picking up Conference USA Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year honors, along with being named a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy, which is awarded to the top college player annually. Venter lead the Lobos to the NCAA tournament each year, including a berth into the semifinals of the NCAA College Cup in 2013. During his time at New Mexico, Venter made 11 appearances for USL League Two side Real Colorado Foxes in 2012.
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2020 Richmond Kickers Roster
Goalkeepers (1): Akira Fitzgerald
Defenders (6): Wahab Ackwei, Devante Dubose, Ivan Magalhães, Conor Shanosky, Scott Thomsen, Kyle Venter
Midfielders (8): Amass Amankona, Greg Boehme, Matt Bolduc, David Diosa, Victor Falck, Ryley Kraft, Mutaya Mwape, Luke Pavone
Forwards (2): Stanley Alves, Charles Boateng