The Riverhounds are bringing back a pair of talented young players — defender Tobi Adewole and forward Kay Banjo — both on one-year deals with an option for the 2019 season, pending USL and USSF approval.
Both enjoying successful rookie campaigns with the club last season, Adewole, 22, and Banjo, 25, marked two of four rookies to appear in 10 or more games for the Hounds in 2017.
“Tobi and Kay are young players that we believe have bright futures,” said head coach Bob Lilley. “We definitely feel these are the types of players we want to develop moving forward and although they’re in the early stages of their careers, they have shown the ability to compete at the USL level.”
“For Tobi, a first year player, to show the consistency he did in the back is impressive. He has good athleticism in the air and has shown the ability to be strong in his one-on-one defending, while Kay’s creativity, quickness and technical ability around the goal will make us more dynamic in the final third.”
Adewole made an immediate impact once being inserted into the lineup for the club’s July 4 tilt against the Charlotte Independence, making 15 straight starts before seeing his season cut short by a knee injury. The defender finished second among Hounds rookies in minutes played (1,322), while also racking up 100 clearances for second-best on the team overall.
For Banjo, the forward led all Hounds rookies in scoring, tallying two goals and two assists for six points in 19 league appearances (six starts). Banjo scored in the early moments of two games early in the season, then struggled to pick-up significant playing time for much of the rest of the season after Chevy Walsh emerged as another option at forward.
Both natives of Maryland, Adewole (Ashton) and Banjo (Upper Marlboro) played collegiately at George Washington University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), respectively, before joining the Hounds. Banjo finished his collegiate playing career a year before Adewole in 2015, eventually being drafted by Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the second round of the MLS SuperDraft, but he did not make an appearance with the club.
In addition, another player who is not returning to Pittsburgh from the 2017 roster will be Taylor Washington, as the former first-round pick of the Philadelphia Union signed a deal with the new Nashville FC USL club on Thursday.
— Nashville SC (@NashvilleSC) December 7, 2017
Washington joins Corey Hertzog and Keasel Broome as players who are confirmed to be not returning to the Hounds.
These latest additions bring the Hounds roster total to four players. Adewole and Banjo join forwards Romeo Parkes, re-signed earlier this week, and Chevaughn Walsh, signed through 2018.
Roster breakdown for 2018 season
Forwards (3): Kay Banjo, Romeo Parkes, Chevaughn Walsh
Defenders (1): Tobi Adewole