Out-of-contract Riverhounds have been posting goodbye letters at a steady stream since the beginning of December. First Mouhamed Dabo announced he was going to try his luck with Reno 1868 in 2020. Then the Hounds leading scorer in 2019, Neco Brett, revealed he was joining the Birmingham Legion. Next it was Joe Greenspan‘s turn to announce that he’d suit up for San Diego Loyal, Landon Donovan’s USL expansion team, in the new year.
And now we learn another unsigned Riverhound, Tobi Adewole, is departing.
Adewole released a statement over social media to say that he would not return in 2020. In it, he thanked the coaches, the owner, his teammates, and Steel Army for a great three years in black and yellow.
Letter to Pittsburgh 🖤💛 pic.twitter.com/ARMehTOhRB
— Tobiloba Adewole (@TobiAdewole95) January 6, 2020
Adewole has yet to announce where he’s headed next.
The 24-year-old Maryland native joined the Hounds as a trialist in February 2017. In his first year he was in the regular center back rotation and earned 1,321 minutes, and showed great promise. In Tobi’s 2018 and 2019 seasons, he became an every-game starter, and showed skill at locking down opponents, tackling, and distributing the ball out of the back. Coach Bob Lilley said that Adewole was “so athletic. He’s brave. He’s strong. He’s fast.”
In 2018, Adewole was twice-named to the USL Team of the Week as a member of the USL’s best defense in 2018. In 2019, Adewole led the team in minutes played with 3050 as the Hounds finished atop the USL Championship Eastern Conference and had the second-best defense. That Hounds defense also led the USL in clean sheets with 18.
The departure leaves the Hounds thin at centerback, as only Thomas Vancaeyezeele is scheduled to return in 2020. In advance of the new season, the Riverhounds have exercised club options on Steevan Dos Santos, Kenardo Forbes, Mark Forrest, Ryan James, Robbie Mertz, Dani Rovira, Vancaeyezeele and Anthony Velarde.
Thus far into the offseason, the club has added one player, attacker Lukas Fernandes. In addition to possibly signing more free agents through the coming months, the club will be inviting trialists to training once camp breaks at the beginning of February. Riverhounds SC will play their first match of the year on March 14 on the road at Charlotte. The Hounds host their home opener for the 2020 season on Saturday, March 21 against Louisville City.