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Totally awesome: Hounds getting into the 80's 'Spirit'

Nothing gets people excited about something more than nostalgia – right?
I don’t make it a habit of re-sharing and commenting on the team’s promotions, and usually stick with my coverage of the team — mostly on the field.
But, when I first heard about this Saturday’s promotion “Pittsburgh Spirit Night” at Highmark Stadium as part of the festivities surrounding the Hounds important league match-up against the Rochester Rhinos (by the way who are coached by two former U.S. indoor soccer players — Bob Lilley and Mark Pulisic), it certainly got this old soccer fan excited.

It’s great to see the Hounds pay tribute to the Spirit, who had a short-lived, but exciting five season run from 1981 through 1986.
It was a great time for Pittsburgh soccer, as the Spirit reigned as the Steel City’s indoor pro soccer team — and sports fans in our city really got behind them.
You may find it hard to believe, as 105.9 the X sports talk show host, and soccer fan, Mark Madden pointed out earlier this week, there was a time when the Spirit outdrew the Penguins at the Civic Arena by nearly 2,000 fans a game.
The Hounds will be bringing players from those teams back for the evening — and for those that can’t make it, apparently there will also be some tribute videos on the big screen.

And even more so, it’s great to see that one of the staples from the Spirit franchise and a soccer legend Paul Child, who made 133 appearances for the club, scoring a whopping 140 goals will be involved in the festivities.
For many years, Child, who had a successful NASA and MISL career in the 1970s and 80s, has been involved with the Hounds organization in a number of capacities, and most recently as the team’s color commentator on live streaming broadcasts. This season, Child, a Birmingham, England native who has made his home in Pittsburgh since his playing days, had not been involved in the broadcasts when USL took over this year, but last Saturday, Child finally did return to the booth.

The Hounds video crew, who always do a splendid job of cutting up some nice promos in social media, the few times they actually run commercials, and on the big screen at Highmark, may have outdid themselves with this video that was making its way around social media the past few weeks:

Can you feel the funk?
While that may be a 70’s expression — I am still down with a groovy 80’s night celebration. Time to dust off the jean jackets, shake up the hair spray and look for those ‘old school’ long-sleeved soccer jerseys from back in the day.
So, are you ready?
Here’s some of what the Hounds have planned for Saturday:

  • Honoring the beloved indoor soccer team, the club will welcome former players of the Spirit and special guests for a fun night of festivities.
  • The Hounds merchandise shop will also have Pittsburgh Spirit memorabilia available.
  • Among the planned events, the Hounds will wear special throwback tops during warm ups that will be signed and auctioned off following the match with all proceeds going to the Humane Animal Rescue.
  • There will be a Delorean on location — along with Back to the Future characters Marty McFly and Doc Brown.
  • and it all of that isn’t enough — Dunkin Donuts will be on hand giving out samples of its fall donuts assortment.

Apparently, tickets remain available. So, with a Pitt game much earlier in the day and the Pirates on the road this weekend, with an added 80’s theme on tap for Saturday, it should be a fun night of soccer action in what will be a very important game for the Hounds.
I’ll have more on the match-up on with Saturday’s edition of Breaking Down the Hounds and with all of my coverage on DK Pittsburgh Sports.

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

Riverhounds MF Danny Griffin

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