A day after finding out that its leading scorer from the past two years, Neco Brett, has signed elsewhere, Riverhounds SC announced the addition of a young, attacking player to its 2020 roster on Thursday with the signing of forward Lukas Fernandes to a one-year contract with a club option for the 2021 season, pending USL Championship and USSF approval.
Playing at Temple University from 2016-19, Fernandes led the team in points as both a junior and senior en route to being named All-AAC (American Athletic Conference) for each campaign.
“Lukas is a versatile player who can play any of the attacking positions,” head coach Bob Lilley said. “He has exceptional movement and works hard on both sides of the ball. We look forward to having him on our team for the 2020 season.”
Fernandes became a mainstay on the Temple attack during his junior season, posting a team-leading six goals in 19 appearances while being named the squad’s offensive MVP.
As a senior, he started all 17 of his games played and tied for the team lead with three goals and paced the group with five assists.
In his collegiate career with the Owls, the Rochester, New York native recorded 55 games played (34 starts), 10 goals and nine assists.
“I’d like to thank everyone at Temple who has helped me get to where I am today,” said Fernandes, through a Temple University department release. “I can’t thank the coaching staff, my teammates, my teachers and my academic advisors enough for helping me grow on and off the field and pushing me to be the best version of myself.”
— Temple Men's Soccer (@Temple_MSoc) December 19, 2019
“I am very excited for Lukas to begin the next chapter in his soccer career,” said head coach Brian Rowland. “He has been a key player and a leader for us over the past two seasons and has all the tools to succeed as a professional player. We look forward to following his professional career, and know he will represent the Temple men’s soccer program very well.”
More on Lukas Fernandes
Hometown: Rochester, NY 5′ 10″ – 165 lbs
A Churchville-Chili High School (Rochester) graduate, was part of one of the shortest group of midfielders in NPSL history with Antonio Manfut and Rafael Godoi. That trio’s collective quickness and creativity compensated for their size and made marking them a serious chore.
Early Takeaways from Fernandes signing
Fernandes may also be a familiar face to some of those who followed NPSL action in recent years, with the Rochester Lancers who played against both Fort Pitt Regiment, Tartan Devils in Open Cup play — and Pittsburgh Hotspurs.
Lilley adds a versatile player, who has excellent pace, and is known as a lethal set-piece taker with the temerity to run at defenders. Not only can he play at the top of the attack, but has shown as a winger, he was a thorn in the side in NPSL action and at the collegiate level.
This signing pretty much backs up Lilley’s approach early in the signing period.
“If we make any moves before the holidays, but it’s got to make sense. There’s some things we know now. If its the right fit, right price,” Lilley explained to Pittsburgh Soccer Now last week. “Every day that passes, I learn more about the market. I‘ll make better decisions the more I know.”
This is clearly a pick-up for the Hounds where Lilley sees a young player, that was not going to be included with the MLS SuperDraft, who he sees has a lot of potential, and believes can be a good fit to his system.
With three forwards already signed, two younger players, the Hounds may now be real patient with looking to add at least one more veteran addition to the next year’s group of forwards.
Riverhounds SC now has nine players, including three forwards, under contract heading into the 2020 season.
Roster breakdown for 2020 season:
Forwards (3): Steevan Dos Santos, Lukas Fernandes, Mark Forrest
Midfielders (4): Kenardo Forbes, Robbie Mertz, Dani Rovira, Anthony Velarde
Defenders (2): Ryan James, Thomas Vancaeyezeele