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Riverhounds add three new players in Etou, Lopez and DeShields

The Pittsburgh Riverhounds announced the signing of three players to the roster on Tuesday, prior to the USL Championship 2023 season starting in March. They added midfielder Junior Etou, forward Tony Lopez and defender Michael DeShields.

Etou, Lopez and DeShields each signed a one-year contract with a club option for 2024, pending USL and U.S. Soccer approval. The three additions makes it 17 players on the Riverhounds heading into the 2023 season.

Etou is from Brazzau in the Republic of the Congo, but grew up in France. He worked his way through the French Leagues, starting at J.A. Drancy in the fifth division as a teenage amateur.

Etou also played with Monts d’Or Azergues before joining AS Béziers in Ligue 2 in the professional sphere. Etou played in 17 combined matches in the league and in the Coupe de France for Béziers in his lone season in 2018.

He then moved to the U.S. and played two seasons in 2020 and 2021 for the Charlotte Independence, playing 23 games and scoring one goal. He played for the Tampa Bay Rowdies last season, making 24 appearances and playing as a holding midfielder in front of the back three.

Etou, now 28 years old, will play a similar role for the Riverhounds in 2023. He also started the most recent preseason match against Pitt.

Lopez, 25, made 31 appearances in two seasons for UC Riverside before leaving to start his professional career after his sophomore season.

He started with Rio Carlo FC in the Brazilian second division, and also played for different domestic teams in the USPL, in the German lower divisions.

Lopez then signed with Cal United Strikers FC of the National Independent Soccer Association (NISA), where he spent the last three seasons. Lopez made 42 appearances with Cal United, scoring 10 goals and providing four assists, and is also coming off a career-best seven goals in 2022.

DeShields played for Wake Forest in college, started for three seasons and made 60 appearances, helping his team to make the 2019 College Cup. DeShields also made seven appearances as an amateur player for Treasure Coast Tritons in USL League Two while at Wake Forest.

D.C. United selected DeShields as the No. 5 pick in the 2021 MLS Draft and then loaned him out to USL Championship side Loudoun United, where he played 14 times in his first season.

D.C. United then released DeShields and he went to the New England Revolution II in MLS Next Pro, making 17 appearances in 2022.

DeShields has played with the Riverhounds this preseason, scoring a header in the 3-0 win over Penn State at Highmark Stadium on Feb. 11.

The Riverhounds wrap up their preseason schedule with a match against rival Louisville City FC at home on Saturday, March 4 at 2 p.m.

Riverhounds MF Kenardo Forbes

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