Scouring available talent coming out of the college ranks, Riverhounds SC head coach Bob Lilley has once again turned to the NCAA Division II ranks to add a new player to the roster.
The Hounds latest signing is midfielder/forward Anthony Velarde who completed a four year career with Fresno Pacific University. Valarde’s contract includes a club option for the 2020 season, pending USL Championship and USSF approval.
Velarde arrives in Pittsburgh fresh off a Division II Conference Commissioners Association First-Team All-America season with the Sunbirds, which he helped to an NCAA postseason appearance and a 14-3-1 record in 2018.
This past year, he broke the PacWest Conference’s all-time career assist record, finishing with 44 career assists.
“Anthony is a very gifted technical player who also brings creativity and sophistication in attacking areas,” Lilley said. “We feel he can bring goals and assists, and are excited to help him make the jump from the college to the professional game.”
In 2018, Velarde became the first PacWest player to record 12 or more assists in consecutive seasons. He finished his redshirt senior campaign with 14 goals and 20 assists while starting all 18 of his appearances. Notably, he also totaled double-digit goals and assists during his redshirt junior season, posting 10 tallies and 13 helpers.
In his collegiate career, the Reedley, California native logged 71 games played, 25 goals and the aforementioned 44 assists.
A season ago, the Hounds added the NCAA Division II Player of the Year, Thomas Vancaeyezeele, who attended Charleston University (WV). In his first year in the pros, the versatile Vancaeyezeele played multiple positions, leading the Hounds in minutes played, appearances and starts.
Riverhounds SC now has 13 players under contract heading into the 2019 campaign.
Roster breakdown for 2019 season
Forwards (2): Neco Brett, Steevan Dos Santos
Midfielders (6): Mouhamed Dabo, Kenardo Forbes, Noah Franke, Kevin Kerr, Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Anthony Velarde
Defenders (4): Tobi Adewole, Jordan Dover, Joe Greenspan, Ryan James
Goalkeepers (1): Kyle Morto