Normally, by the first week of February, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC are getting started with its preseason.
With the 2021 USL Championship season pushed back to a likely start around early May, the Hounds are still rounding its roster into shape before a projected training camp begins sometime in March.
On Tuesday, the club announced its latest signing: defender Alex DeJohn, who’s been inked to a one-year contract with a club option for 2022, pending USL Championship and USSF approval.
DeJohn, 29, is a veteran with time spent playing in the top divisions in Finland, Norway, Sweden, and MLS. He played the last two seasons in MLS for Orlando City SC, during which the center back made 15 appearances across all competitions.
Joining the Hounds will be the first stint in USL for the Marlboro, N.J., native, whose addition brings a mix of seasoned play and skill to the backline.
“Alex is an experienced pro who will bring leadership and quality to our backline,” Riverhounds head coach Bob Lilley said. “He is good in the tackle, comfortable on the ball, and plays with an edge. We are looking forward to having him represent our club for the 2021 season.”
Before going to Orlando, DeJohn played for Swedish club Dalkurd, where he made 38 appearances and scored two goals. In his first year with the club in 2017, the team placed second and won promotion to the top-tier Allsvenskan for the first time in the Dalkurd’s history, which began in 2005 playing in the country’s seventh tier.
DeJohn’s other European stops included IK Start in the Norwegian Eliteserien (first division) in 2015-16, TPS in the Finnish Veikkauskiiga (first division) in 2014, and Ekenäs IF in the Finnish Kakkonen (third division), where he helped the club to the promotion playoffs in 2013, his debut pro season.
DeJohn moved into the pro ranks when the New England Revolution selected him in the third round of the 2013 MLS Supplemental Draft as the 42nd overall selection out of Old Dominion University. DeJohn did not sign a contract with the Revolution. Coincidentally, DeJohn was chosen in the same round as two former Hounds players, ahead of Brian Fekete (with the Hounds in 2014) and Lebo Moloto (2015-16).
The Hounds currently have 11 players announced as being under contract for the 2021 USL Championship season, which is anticipated to begin in late April or early May.
Alex DeJohn Signing Takeaways
While Pittsburgh’s early roster signings came mostly in the form of midfielders, forwards, a goalkeeper and a pair of returning outside backs, they’ve now signed two center backs as part of its core roster to start the preseason.
If Bob Lilley was looking to make some upgrades and keep the standards high at this critical position, it appears he’s making progress in that department.
Earlier in January, the Hounds signed Preston Kilwien. Now, they’ve added another big man in the middle of its central defense who clearly brings another level of experience and leadership. This is the kind of signing that an organization looking to win at this level wants to make.
For a little bit more intel on DeJohn’s stint with Orlando City, you might want to read his season review from the Mane Land.
He was added to provide depth for Orlando’s back line the past few seasons.
Unable to have his contract option picked up by Orlando this off season, as he wasn’t in their future plans, he’s now moving to a place where he can potentially have a bigger impact. By all scouting reports, DeJohn is a natural leader with solid experience in Europe and the U.S. — would make a great fit for USL team like the Hounds looking to win in 2021.
Riverhounds SC 2021 Roster / Depth Chart update