Richmond, VA – (Thursday, September 22, 2011) – The Richmond Kickers are pleased to announce the return of defenders Henry Kalungi, Luke Vercollone and William Yomby for the 2012 season.
“These signings are a fantastic way to build upon the success of last season’s campaign,” commented Leigh Cowlishaw, Richmond Kickers Head Coach and Director of Soccer. “All three players have been major contributors over the years and we look forward to that continuing in the future.”
The Kickers back line, led by Kalungi and Yomby and flanked by Vercollone, posted one of USL PRO’s best defensive performances of the 2011 season. Contributing to 12 shutouts overall, the Kickers defense allowed the league’s second-best 21 goals en route to the USL PRO and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Semifinals. Adding firepower, these physical defenders tallied a combined four goals and three assists while earning USL PRO Team of the Week honors on 11 occasions on the campaign.
Re-signing for his fourth season in a Kickers uniform, Kalungi made 31 appearances last season and earned his first call-up with the Uganda National Team for an African Cup of Nations 2012 qualifier match against Guinea Bissau in June. The 2009 Winthrop University graduate is an advocate for youth player development and is the co-founder of the Uganda Youth Soccer Academy, which is a community based soccer academy established to offer opportunities to the disadvantaged youth of Uganda through soccer and education. In addition to his outreach abroad, he also acts as a coach for the Richmond Kickers Youth Soccer Club Advanced Development Program (ADP) and Richmond Kickers Little KICKS program.
Vercollone returns for his fifth season in Richmond after making his 100th appearance with the Kickers during the 2011 campaign. Splitting time between the defense and the midfield, the Kickers workhorse notched his lone goal of the season in the Kickers 2-1 win in Charlotte in July, while adding a pair of assists earlier in the season. An active coach with the Richmond Kickers Youth Soccer Club, Vercollone is the founder and director of the Richmond Kickers Little KICKS program, which brings a soccer enrichment program to preschools.
A native of Pembroke, Massachusetts, Vercollone spent two seasons with the Charleston Battery, where he made 66 appearances, notching three goals and six assists for 12 points overall. The 5’10” midfielder began his career when he was drafted by the Columbus Crew in the 2004 MLS Super Draft and made five appearances over two seasons with the New England Revolution later that season.
Three-time USL All-League First Team honoree and 2011 Defender of the Year Finalist, Yomby signed a multi-year contract, to anchor the Kickers defensive unit. Playing every minute of every game in 2011, he earned USL PRO Team of the Week honors five times. Also contributing to the attack, he registered two goals during the regular season and added a third with the Kickers lone goal in the 2-1 U.S. Open Cup Semifinal loss to the Chicago Fire on August 30. Active in the Richmond community, Yomby coaches the Richmond Kickers U-13 Girls South and U-9 Boys Collegiate travel teams.
The Bafoussam, Cameroon native and graduate of Old Dominion University was drafted by the Kansas City Wizards in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft and signed a developmental contract with the Wizards before joining the Puerto Rico Islanders later that season.