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Kickin' it around the 'Burgh

KICKIN’ IT AROUND THE ‘BURGH: A new weekly feature covering local soccer scene

Often times there’s so much to cover, and so little time to get to it all.

So, here’s the concept for this new feature — once a week we provide a rundown of various happenings on the local soccer scene in the Greater Pittsburgh area and some updates about the site in general.

Since much of the coverage here on Pittsburgh Soccer Now has been Riverhounds-heavy, this will provide a way to work in news, information for other things that are going on in local soccer each week.

If you have anything you’d like to share, please feel free to contact us by email as we’ll be happy include news or happenings each week in Kickin’ it around the ‘Burgh. 

May is a busy month — with some of the ‘other local teams starting up their respective seasons and the beginning of the US Open Cup — there should be plenty of additional content to come on the site in the coming weeks in this feature — so here goes the first edition…


Pittsburgh’s women’s soccer semi-pro team, Steel City FC will be kicking off the 2018 campaign with an exhibition match on Friday, May 18, in Cleveland against the Ambassadors. The ladies will open up the regular season schedule on May 26 against FC Pride at their home field, Ellis School in Shadyside.

Steel City FC compete in the WPSL, U.S.Soccer’s second division, and will play an eight-game regular season that runs through early July.

You can find Steel City FC’s complete 2018 schedule here.


The Pittsburgh area’s NPSL side, Fort Pitt Regiment will also return to action May 18, opening its season with an away game at FC Buffalo. Once again, Pittsburgh and National soccer icon John Kowalski will be back to coach the club which will now play all of its home games at Highmark Stadium, including the home opener May 20 vs Binghamton FC Thunder. Fort Pitt’s squad consists of many recent and current college players.

Among current pro players that have been with the Regiment include the Riverhounds SC’s current leading goal scorer, Neco Brett.


Duquense University women’s team hired a new women’s goalkeeping coach — and it’s a familiar face to some of us.

After spending the past two seasons with Point Park’s women’s team, Erik Eisenhut has been hired to join Al Alvine‘s women’s team staff on the Bluff. Eisenhut is the owner and head goalkeeper trainer of GK Icon Pittsburgh and the National Franchise Coordinator for GK Icon U.S.A.

Since 2015, Erik has served as a goalkeeper coach for the Western Pennsylvania Olympic Development Program and is the former Director of Goalkeeping with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. In the summer of 2017, Erik was named the PA West ODP Goalkeeper Coach of the Year.

Erik’s goalkeeper coaching interest originated as a student and later as a coach under Tony DiCicco at SoccerPlus Goalkeeper School.

Erik has his United Soccer Coaches (U.S.C.) Advanced National Goalkeeping Coaching Diploma, his U.S.C. National Coaching Diploma, as well as all required State of Pennsylvania coaching clearances.

As a player, Erik grew up in the Massachusetts Olympic Development Program and played at Brandeis University. His senior year, Brandeis won the ECAC championship.

Upon graduation, he played club soccer for Boston Olympiakos F.C. As a member of Olympiakos, he won six Massachusetts state club championships and competed in the National USASA final four Championships.

“We’re very excited to add Erik to our coaching staff,” said Alvine. “His experience as a trainer and teacher of goalkeepers will be an excellent resource for student-athletes. While Erik’s primary job will be to work with our goalkeepers, he’ll be able to help us with every facet of our program.”


While there are no amateur clubs that will be from our immediate area that will be part of the first round that begins this Tuesday and Wednesday across the United States, the Erie Commodores and Rochester River Dogz will be playing on Wednesday at Gannon University to earn a spot in the second round where the winner will host the Riverhounds SC.

I’ll be involved in providing some additional coverage of some of the first round games being played this week for


Riverhounds SC Development Academy (RDA) has announced the official launch of its RDA East platform for the 2018-19 season.

After five years of operating as a training-specific program in Fayette County, the new competitive outfit will have boys and girls teams, comprised of age groupings Under-11 and older, formed from multiple rounds of tryouts hosted throughout next month at Shallenberger SportsPlex.

“This is a measured expansion that has been in the works for five years,” Sporting Director Jason Kutney said. “We believe in building a strong Riverhounds culture amongst the youth players and families prior to entering into competition. We used this approach in our RDA program in Pittsburgh and feel confident this blueprint will serve us well in a market that is now primed for sustainable growth.”

Overseeing the soccer operations of RDA East will be James Meara, hired by the Hounds in 2017 to manage the club’s Partner Club Program, which currently holds more than 5,000 youth players across nine local soccer clubs.

“With experience in building up youth clubs in both Western Pennsylvania and Northern Virginia, and with the deep foundation Sterling [Flunder] and the Riverhounds have anchored into this area, it is clear to me there is a high ceiling for the RDA East,” Meara said. “When you then layer in the facilities and the new coaches we have coming into the area, this is an exciting time to be a youth player in this region.”

Joining Meara is Academy East Director Sterling Flunder, who will lead the coaching staff with support from RDA Director of Coaching Scott Gibson. A former Hounds player with 123 appearances in total to his name, Flunder has served as the lead coach in the Academy East Technical Training Academy since its inception in 2013.

As part of the RDA East team platform initiative, the Academy has future plans to offer a unique developmental program tailored specifically towards 8 and 9-year-old players with further details to be available in the coming weeks.

In addition, Riverhounds SC owner Tuffy Shallenberger will be constructing a brand new indoor training complex to be completed in time for the coming winter in his hometown of Connellsville. The facility will be the official indoor training grounds for all RDA East teams.

“Since I invested in the team in 2013, the youth aspect of the sport and organization has always excited me,” Shallenberger said. “I’ve seen it grow so much through my kids and in this city in general. Now I’m excited to give back to the area I grew up in and continue to see just how much further our Academy and soccer can take off here.”


Wednesday, May 9

US Open Cup First Round – among full slate of games:

Erie Commodores host Rochester River Dogz at Gannon University – 7 p.m. kickoff


Friday, May 10

Riverhounds SC (4-0-3, 15 pts) vs Indy Eleven (4-2-1, 13 pts) – 7 p.m. kickoff

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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