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Youthful additions: Hounds Sign Luke Biasi and Marc Ybarra

Marc Ybarra (L) and Luke Biasi (R) were signed by Riverhounds SC on Thursday. Photos courtesy of University of Michigan Athletics and Memphis University Athletics

Riverhounds SC has signed two more first-year pros for the upcoming season, defender Luke Biasi and midfielder Marc Ybarra. Both deals are one-year contracts with a team option for 2023 which are pending USL and U.S. Soccer Federation approval.

Biasi, 22, hails from Buford, Ga. and finished his college career at Syracuse University, where he started 17 of 18 games as a graduate transfer with the Orange.

Prior to Syracuse, he played four seasons and graduated from the University of Memphis, where he started 41 of 49 games played in his career. He had a goal and two assists in his time at Memphis, and in his 2019 junior season, he helped lead the Tigers to host the American Athletic Conference title game as they finished with their first 10-win season in eight years.

“Luke is a hard-nosed player with good pace. He excels in 1-v-1 situations at both ends of the field and will grow quickly as he learns our system. It will not be a surprise to see him earning important minutes in his first year here in Pittsburgh,” Riverhounds head coach Bob Lilley said.

Ybarra, 23, is an Ann Arbor, Mich. native who finished his five-year career as a record-setter at his hometown University of Michigan.

A two-time First Team All-Big Ten selection and the 2021 Big Ten Midfielder of the Year, Ybarra is the Wolverines’ record holder for games played (91), starts (90) and minutes (7,655), and he is second in school history for assists with 24.

In Ybarra’s time at Michigan, the Wolverines reached the NCAA Tournament three times and finished with a winning record all five seasons. In his first two college seasons, he operated in the midfield alongside former Hounds midfielder and Pittsburgh native Robbie Mertz.

“Mark has had a solid preseason and is very comfortable on the ball. His decision making and ability to deliver a pass should help him earn valuable minutes in a very talented group of midfielders,” Lilley said.

Both Biasi and Ybarra have been training with the Hounds as invited trialists this preseason, which will continue with the team’s fourth exhibition match against Louisville City FC on Saturday at 2 p.m. Highmark Stadium.

The Hounds begin their USL Championship regular season March 12 with a 7 p.m. road game against Memphis 901 FC.

Riverhounds Roster (as of 2/17/2022)

  • Goalkeepers (1) — Kevin Silva
  • Defenders (8) — Luke Biasi, Robby Dambrot, Jelani Peters, Dani Rovira, Shane Wiedt, Jesse Williams, Mekeil Williams, Arturo Ordonez
  • Midfielders (4) — Kenardo Forbes, Danny Griffin, Angelo Kelly-Rosales, Marc Ybarra
  • Forwards/Wingers (5) — Russell Cicerone, Albert Dikwa, Alex Dixon, William Eyang, Dane Kelly

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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).

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