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Hounds receive veteran center back Joe Farrell via transfer from Rising FC

The RhinoHounds legacy continues!

On Thursday, the Riverhounds SC announced the addition of veteran defender Joe Farrell, who’s contract was transferred from Phoenix Rising FC.

Since 2018, Farrell has been a mainstay with Rising FC, making 125 appearances in five seasons, scoring 14 goals and tacking on seven assists, and even earning all-USL Championship second team honors in his rookie season in Rochester.

That’s right, Farrell began his pro career with the Rochester Rhinos playing under current Hounds Head Coach Bob Lilley.

The Pennsylvania native comes back to his native state, where he also played collegiately, at LaSalle University in Philadelphia.

During his time in Phoenix, the 6-foot-2 center back helped anchor a defense that won the Western Conference in 2018 and 2020 and finished with the USL Championship’s best record in 2019.

The transfer reunites Farrell with Hounds coach Bob Lilley, for whom he played in his first two professional seasons with the Rochester Rhinos. In his first campaign in 2016, Farrell was a finalist for USL Championship Rookie of the Year and was voted to the Championship All-League Second Team. He appeared in 64 league matches for the Rhinos, missing just two games in two seasons. In addition to his defensive work, he has 15 goals in his seven years as a pro.

“Joe is an experienced center back that is very strong in the tackle and has a presence in the air,” said Lilley. “He is also comfortable on the ball and a good organizer from the back line. I’m excited to bring Joe to Pittsburgh after seeing his habits and quality for two years in Rochester.”

Farrell is a native of Blue Bell, Pa., in suburban Philadelphia, and he played his college soccer at La Salle from 2012-15. While in college, he also played for the New York Red Bulls U-23s.

Farrell joins a core group of seven confirmed returning players from last year’s Riverhounds team that reached the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

The team will continue to build its roster by adding new and returning players in preparation for the 2023 USL Championship season beginning in March.

Here’s the current Riverhounds SC roster make-up:

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

Farrell also joins the following list of former Rochester Rhinos who have played in Pittsburgh for Bob Lilley:

  • Kenardo Forbes (2018 – present)
  • Dan Lynd (2018)
  • Ray Lee (2018, 2020)
  • Todd Pratzner (2018, 2019)
  • Christiano François (2018)
  • Jordan Dover (2018-2021)
  • Steevan Dos Santos (2019, 2020)
  • Ryan James (2019, 2020)
  • Kyle Morton (2018, 2019)
  • Tony Walls (2020)
  • Alex Dixon (2021, 2022)


Impact of Joe Farrell Signing

With the more than likely departures of Mekeil Williams and Jelani Peters, the Hounds were sorely needing to add reliable, veteran presence along the backline and a center back mate for Arturo Ordóñez, who had an oustanding rookie season in 2022.

Farrell brings a lot a positive qualities, including his leadership, knack for scoring goals in the box on set pieces, size and physicality and solid one-on-one defending skills.

With just Farrell and Ordóñez signed, Lilley will be looking to add at least two or three more center backs, as he likes to have tactical flexiblity to play with two, three or even as he did a few times last year, four true center backs across the back line.

The Hounds have said they’re looking to still re-sign some players from last year’s roster, so it’s a possibility that Shane Wiedt could potentially return to the roster and add additional continuity to the back line.

It’s most likely that two additional isted defenders on the roster, Luke Biasi and Nathan Dossantos, will be featured as outside backs/wingers

More on Joe Farrell

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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