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Success in 2023 is ‘irrelevant’ for Bob Lilley as Riverhounds’ begin preseason

Pittsburgh Riverhounds head coach Bob Lilley has no time to live in the past as he and the squad returned to preseason work on Monday. 

The 2023 season was one of the best that the Pittsburgh Riverhounds have had since Bob Lilley took over the head coaching role in 2018, with the team picking up their first Supporter’s Shield in franchise history and also going deep in the U.S Open Cup. And even if the postseason didn’t quite live up to the expectations of many fans, players and analysts, there can be no arguments that it was a success overall, especially given the ever-growing attendance numbers that will hopefully set the stage for a bigger presence for the team within the city’s sporting landscape. 

But that was last season, and as players flocked to the AHN Montour Health & Sports Medicine Center in Corapolis from all over the country, and indeed from all over the world, to begin their work ahead of the 2024 USL Championship season, Lilley and the coaching staff are not dwelling in the past, as they have got their eyes solely focused on their aims for the new campaign.

Speaking exclusively to Pittsburgh Soccer Now, I asked Lilley whether 2023 could be seen as a ‘benchmark’ for what the team should be aiming to produce this upcoming year, however Lilley was keen to stress that each year represents a new challenge, because no two seasons are ever quite the same for a whole host of factors:

“It’s a new season. Last year is irrelevant to a certain extent. Every team changed their personnel, different things will come up, whether it be injuries, whether it be rhythm, everything’s changing.” 

And whilst the team might not be able to spend big in terms of cash when it comes to player acquisitions, as a veteran of the league, with this now being Lilley’s 7th season at the helm, he knows that the fundamentals of making a team better has to come from the training ground, and even though it was only one session, Lilley felt that the team had already managed to make a great start to proceedings: 

“I think you invest as a team with the work you put in at training. You’ve got to invest, so that you can get the payday at the end, you have got to have money in the bank, you have to put in the time and effort. It starts today and I was happy with what we did.

“We’re further ahead than we’ve typically been at this point, I think we got a good group back and I think we’ve we’ve made some some good signings, so hopefully it’s the start of a really big season.”

Glory on the Grass

Riverhounds MF Kenardo Forbes

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