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Riverhounds SC launch ambitious youth soccer tournament series

Photo courtesy Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC

Through a media release on Tuesday, the Riverhounds SC announced the launch of a youth soccer tournament series that is scheduled to begin this July.

The organization’s goal is to attract clubs from around the country to come to Pittsburgh to take part in this series of professionally run tournaments and showcases.

“We are proud to launch our very own soccer tournament series and bring high-level youth competitions to the Greater Pittsburgh Area,” Riverhounds SC owner Tuffy Shallenberger said in the club’s statement.

“As these events target clubs from across the country, it will provide an excellent opportunity for new families and faces to see our city. Along with the development of our Academy, we are building in partnership with Allegheny Health Network a state-of-the-art facility in Coraopolis that will serve as the hub for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC Tournament Series. We are excited to be a driving force behind the growth of youth soccer in western Pennsylvania.”

The series will consist of the following events:

  • Pittsburgh Riverhounds Classic – Starting July 2021
  • Hounds Steel City Cup – Starting October 2021
  • Riverhounds SC Three Rivers College Showcase – Starting December 2021 (boys and girls weekends)
  • RDA Spring Invitation – Starting March 2022

These events will take place at Highmark Stadium, Montour Junction Sports Complex, and surrounding high-quality facilities while bringing in thousands of families to the Pittsburgh area.

The Hounds and its partners, Allegheny Health Network, have planned for the completion of its expanded complex at Montour Junction in 2021. Once this facility is up and running, it will likely become the central location for many youth tournaments and showcases.

Many of the Pittsburgh area’s biggest youth soccer clubs already host various sized versions of college showcases and youth tournaments, notably Century United and Beadling SC.

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In 2020, there was also movement on the local soccer scene which saw clubs come together as partners to pull their resources in an effort to provide more direct pathways to higher levels, to put on college showcases, doing select events and creating combined training models.

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We can now add the Riverhounds Development Academy to the crowded slate of youth soccer tournaments and showcases in the Pittsburgh region. The RDA has made attempts in the past to host tournaments and showcases, but this is by far its most ambitious effort.

The Riverhounds SC’s tournament series will feature a variety of events throughout the year that will target different age groups at every level of play.

The tournament series will conclude each year with the Riverhounds SC Three Rivers College Showcase, which will work with collegiate coaches throughout the country to display the highest-level boys and girls on separate weekends.

“The commitment to youth development from within our club and throughout the region from our owner Tuffy Shallenberger, and many others over the past decade, has been remarkable,” Riverhounds SC head coach Bob Lilley said.

“We have built a very strong Academy program with experienced and talented coaches and reached into our community with many other programs and initiatives. The Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC Tournament Series is a continuation of our desire to grow the game in Western Pennsylvania. We look forward to hosting other clubs that share our passion for the sport and also believe in the development of our youth.”

In addition, it was also mentioned in the release that the Riverhounds SC will work with Central-PA based club, PA Classics, on a consulting basis to ensure the events maintain the levels required and to provide a superb experience for families.  Lilley and his former college teammate and former assistant with the Hounds, Mark Pulisic have coached with PA Classics program, as it was also the youth club for current Chelsea FC and US Men’s National Team standout Christian Pulisic.

Justin Evans, a Riverhounds SC Hall of Fame inductee and former player and head coach, will lead the team of directors.

“As an organization, we are very excited to lead the way in the soccer community for the Greater Pittsburgh Area by presenting this tournament series in our own backyard,” Evans said. “These tournaments will provide an opportunity to teams of all skill levels and also fill the tournament void that has been absent in Pittsburgh for so many years.”

Here’s more on each of the four events slated to be part of this series.

Pittsburgh Riverhounds Classic – Starting July 2021
This event will be the first of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC Tournament Series and will feature competition from clubs throughout the Pittsburgh soccer community and the extending region. Registration for this event will begin on January 25, 2021.

Hounds Steel City Cup – Starting October 2021

The Hounds Steel City Cup will provide a tremendous opportunity over Columbus Day weekend for clubs throughout the tri-state area. The Steel City Cup will be open to all classic and travel-level teams.

Riverhounds SC Three Rivers College Showcase – Starting December 2021

The Three Rivers College Showcase will take place across back-to-back weekends for boys and girls. The event will provide players with an opportunity to showcase their talents to college coaches from across the country.

RDA Spring Invitation – Starting March 2022

The spring invitational tournament will be a perfect opportunity for teams to get back outside after the winter months. The event is built on the foundations of the Riverhounds Development Academy and will feature high-level clubs from across the Northeast, Midwest, and Mid-Atlantic regions.

Additional information will be released at a later date.

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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