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Kenardo Forbes re-signs for sixth season with Riverhounds

Photo courtesy Mark Goodman

The Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC are bringing back their straw that stirs their drink, announcing the re-signing of midfielder Kenardo Forbes on Wednesday.

Forbes and the club have agreed to a new contract that will keep the Hounds’ and the USL Championship’s all-time assists leader and longest-tenured active player on the field in Pittsburgh for a sixth season in 2023.

The new contract is pending USL and U.S. Soccer Federation approval.

Forbes, 34, is the USL Championship’s all-time assists leader with 55 regular-season assists, and he is coming off a career-best 10-assist season in 2022, also adding one in the postseason.

Since joining the Hounds before the 2018 season, he has accumulated a record 44 assists in all competitions and has appeared in 155 matches, the fourth-most in team history.

“Kenny continues to be a major asset to this organization on and off the the field,” Hounds head coach Bob Lilley said. “His consistency of performance since his arrival to the USL Championship is unmatched, and his positive impact on all those around him make him a very important part of the club moving forward.”

Since 2014, Forbes has served as the field general for Lilley’s teams dating back to the four years they were in Rochester together.

They’ve never had a losing season, have made the USL Championship playoffs every year, lifting the USL Cup trophy in Rochester in 2015.

Forbes and Lilley aren’t done trying to bring a championship to Pittsburgh, where the Jamaican native has now spent more time than any other place in his impressive pro career.

What the Kenardo Forbes re-signing means to the Riverhounds 

After all, when it’s all said and done, Forbes could make a case to go down as the most enduring and arguably the best player in club history.

The club has already announced they’ve picked up contract options for seven players, and with the return of Marc Ybarra and Robbie Mertz, they already have a pretty strong base for its central midfield.

Keeping Forbes in the mix provides a veteran presence to maintain continuity and leadership.  Last season, even though he turned 34 years of age, Forbes showed that he still has the stamina and can play at a high level, putting in double digit assists and playing more than 2,000 minutes.

Analysis: Foundation of Riverhounds 2023 roster centers around a young core

The Hounds will be announcing more player signings over the next week, and it’s likely that some additional players who finished the 2022 with expiring contracts, much like Forbes, could be announced as returning to the club as well.

Danny Griffin, who led the team in minutes and games played in the past three seasons, and was an instrumental part of the central midfield, announced on Wednesday that he will not be returning to the club.

Dani Rovira, who has already played four seasons in Pittsburgh, and Shane Wiedt, who played the most minutes of the central back grouping in 2021 and 2022, are possible targets too.

Rovira provides Lilley with tactical flexibility, and Wiedt is the youngest of the center back group from 2021-22.

The offseason signing period will kick off and last from now through early February. LIlley will be hoping to have a core group of somewhere between 16-18 players signed before preseason camp opens, but if he’s not entirely satisfied and needs to see more, he’ll use preseason to bring players on trial, when the final spots to the roster will be added.

Here’s the current roster make-up:

  • Goalkeepers: Jahmali Waite.
  • Defenders: Arturo Ordóñez, Nate Dossantos, Luke Biasi.
  • Midfielders: Marc Ybarra, Robbie Mertz, Kenardo Forbes.
  • Forwards: Albert Dikwa.

More from Riverhounds SC release on re-signing of Kenardo Forbes

His steady, creative play in the midfield has led to national recognition for Forbes, who is a six-time USL Championship All-League selection, including all five of his seasons with the Riverhounds. He also was one of three MVP finalists in 2019, and last season, the Hounds’ captain was selected to the All-USL Second Team.
In addition to his playmaking, Forbes also has 17 goals in his five seasons with the Hounds, and he was one of only two players to appear in all 34 regular-season matches a year ago.
A native of Kingston, Jamaica, Forbes is a former Jamaican international who first came to the U.S. in 2011 to play with the indoor Syracuse Silver Knights. In 2015, he entered the USL playing for Lilley with the Rochester Rhinos and winning a championship in their first season together.
The Riverhounds continue to assemble their team for the 2023 USL Championship season, a 34-game slate that will begin in March. More signings are expected to be announced soon, ahead of the team reporting for preseason at the end of January.

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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