Riverhounds SC are adding roster depth as they head to preseason camp with a pair of new players who have little or no professional soccer experience with the signings of forward Babacar Diene and defender Jake Lent-Koop to bring roster to 17 players signed for the 2024 campaign.
The club adds this pair of newcomers for the upcoming season as both players are signed with a 2025 team option, pending USL and U.S. Soccer approval.
Meanwhile, in a separate roster move, the Hounds have released midfielder DZ Harmon by mutual agreement between the player and club. Harmon was one of seven players the club picked up option year contract for in late November. A veteran midfielder who previously played for Charleston, Harmon scored one goal in seven appearances with the club in 2023 season.
Diene, 27, comes to the Hounds after a standout senior season at Rider University, where he led the Broncs with 13 goals as the team won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. His contributions, including the game-winning goal against Iona to clinch the MAAC title, led a massive turnaround for Rider, which won 12 games and reached the NCAA Tournament after just three wins the previous season.
A native of Thies, Senegal, Diene also suited up in both USL League Two and the National Premier Soccer League for FC Motown, where he was part of the club’s 2022 NPSL national championship team.
“Babacar brings power and pace to our front line and combines well with players around him,” Riverhounds head coach Bob Lilley said. “He has the ability to make defenders uncomfortable, and we look forward to working with him in 2024.”
Lent-Koop, 23, comes to the Hounds from perennial NCAA Division III power Messiah University, where he was a two-time United Soccer Coaches First Team All-American and helped the team to a 77-6-7 record and four Middle Atlantic Conference titles during his four seasons. Messiah reached at least the NCAA Tournament’s second round in all four of Lent-Koop’s seasons, advancing as far as the Elite Eight in 2021.
Hailing from Rio Rancho, N.M., the defender also scored 12 goals for the Falcons in four years, and, as a senior, Lent-Koop was named MVP in their MAC Tournament triumph.
“Jake had a great career at Messiah and has all the tools to make the jump to the USL Championship,” Lilley said. “He is a physical defender who runs well, and we believe he will grow quickly in our system.”
The Hounds open preseason training next week as the team gears up for the USL Championship season, which begins March 9 with a 4 p.m. match at New Mexico United.
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC 2024 Roster by Position
- Forward: Edward Kizza, Babacar Diene
- Midfield: Dani Rovira, Langston Blackstock, Junior Etou, Kenardo Forbes, Danny Griffin, Robbie Mertz
- Defenders: Mike DeShields, Pat Hogan, Illal Osumanu, Luke Biasi, Pierre Cayet, Sean Suber, Jake Lent-Koop
- Goalkeepers: Eric Dick, Jacob Randolph
Riverhounds 2023 Rostered Players who became free agents
- Albert Dikwa (Forward — Reigning USL Championship MVP)- Signed with Rhode Island FC
- Arturo Ordonez (Defender – Reigning USL Championship Defender of the Year) – Signed with Louisville City FC
- Jahmali Waite (Goalkeeper) – Signed with El Paso
- Nate Dossantos (Defender)
- Luke Biasi (Defender/Midfielder) – Re-Signed with Pittsburgh
- Marc Ybarra (Midfielder) – Signed with Rhode Island FC
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC 2023 Rostered Players who did not have contract options picked up
- Burke Fahling (Midfielder)
- JC Obregon (Forward)
- Trevor Zwetsloot (Midfielder)
- Tony Lopez (Midfielder)
- Jonathan Gomes (Goalkeeper)
- Christian Garner (Goalkeeper)
- Tola Showunmi (Forward) – Signed with Louisville City FC
- Joe Farrell (Defender) – Signed with Hartford Athletic FC
*DZ Harmon (after picking up his contract option for 2023, the club and Harmon agreed upon a mutual release)