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Riverhounds sign rookie goalkeeper Christian Garner

Riverhounds SC has signed goalkeeper Christian Garner to a one-year deal with a club option for 2024, the team announced today. The deal is pending USL and U.S. Soccer Federation approval.

Garner, 22, is a first-year pro who completed his college career as a grad transfer last season with Northwestern. He made 13 starts and posted one shutout with a .711 save percentage for the Wildcats.

Prior to that, the 6-foot native of Orleans, Mass. stayed in his home state with Boston College, where he started for the majority of his final three seasons. In 28 games for the Eagles, Garner posted six shutouts and a .727 save percentage against a loaded ACC schedule.

“Christian has impressed us with his shot stopping and quickness off his line. He is a hard-working, coachable young keeper that we expect will grow rapidly under (goalkeeper coach) Jon Busch,” Riverhounds head coach Bob Lilley said.

Garner is the second goalkeeper under contract for the Hounds for 2023, and he joins incumbent Jahmali Waite in the first season with Busch, a former MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, as their position coach.

The Hounds continue to build their squad during the preseason, which continues this Saturday with a 4 p.m. match against Penn State at Highmark Stadium.

The USL Championship season begins March 11, when the Hounds travel to face Birmingham Legion FC.

The Hounds are expected to make a few more player signing announcements in the coming week.

Current Riverhounds roster

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

More on the 2023 Riverhounds SC 

• As of today, the Hounds have 11 players under contract for the season, and additional signings will be announced soon. Other non-roster invitees will be taking part in practice on a trial basis.

• Last season, the Hounds went 16-9-9 in the USL Championship — fifth in the Eastern Conference — and advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals before being eliminated by Louisville City FC in a penalty shootout.

• With five straight seasons qualifying for the postseason, the Hounds hold the second-longest playoff streak in the USL Championship (trailing only Louisville’s eight) and the second-longest playoff streak among Pittsburgh professional teams (trailing only the NHL’s Penguins with 16).

• Head coach Bob Lilley is entering his sixth season leading the Hounds. He has an 83-35-45 record leading Pittsburgh, and the USL Hall of Famer has not missed the postseason in 22 seasons as a head coach at the pro level.

• Team captain Kenardo Forbes was a Second Team All-USL Championship selection last season after posting a career-best 10 assists. He has been an All-USL player all five seasons since joining Pittsburgh in 2018.

• The Hounds’ current roster includes one Pittsburgh native (Robbie Mertz) and two players who played collegiately at the University of Pittsburgh (Arturo Ordóñez, Edward Kizza).

• The club is entering its 24th season of play after initially debuting in 1999, which makes it the second-oldest team in the USL Championship behind only the Charleston Battery (1993).

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 Kenardo Forbes

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