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Coming Full Circle: Riverhounds add former West Allegheny, RDA and Duquesne standout Nate Dragisich to 2024 roster

Photo credit: Zachary Weiss/Pittsburgh Soccer Now

No stranger to Highmark Stadium, where he played both for the team’s youth academy and with his high school team, and having grown up only a few miles from the Riverhounds SC training facility at Montour Junction, Nate Dragisich’s soccer journey officially came full circle on Wednesday.

The Riverhounds announced the former West Allegheny High School, Duquesne University and Hounds Development Academy standout has been signed to a one-year contract with a club option for 2025, pending USL and U.S. Soccer approval.

The signing is a significant moment for the club because Dragisich, a Pittsburgh native who played at West Allegheny High School and collegiately at Duquesne University, is the first player to play his youth soccer for Riverhounds Development Academy teams and then sign a professional contract with the First Team.

“Nate trained with the First Team when he was an Academy player and impressed, and he went on to have a productive college career at Duquesne,” Riverhounds Head Coach Bob Lilley said. “He works hard, is composed in the final third and is very good technically. We look forward to his continued development with our group in 2024.”

Dragisich began attending Riverhounds Academy training sessions from the program’s inception in 2007, and he continued to develop with the Hounds as they later established their competitive teams, playing for the RDA from 2014-18 before committing to Duquesne.

With the Hounds Academy, Dragisich was named an Elite Clubs National League All-American, in addition to being the Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Player of the Year for his play leading West Allegheny to a state championship in 2018.

“The entire Academy staff is delighted and proud to see Nate sign for our professional team,” Riverhounds Academy Director Scott Gibson said.

“Our vision in 2007 was to provide a platform for young players in Pittsburgh to have the opportunity to make it pro after developing through the Academy system. Nate joined us for our first-ever training program as a young boy in 2007 and developed each year through the competitive RDA team model. We hope Nate will inspire a generation of players who are in the Academy that aspire to follow his path to play professionally and represent the City of Pittsburgh.”

As a college player with the Dukes, Dragisich posted nine goals and 24 assists, finishing third on the school’s all-time assists list. He was an All-Atlantic 10 Rookie Team selection in 2019 and on on the all-conference Second Team in 2021, the year he also helped guide the Dukes to the final of the Atlantic 10 Tournament and the first of three consecutive conference tournament appearances.

The newest hometown Hounds player will have a chance to make his professional debut when the Hounds open their regular season at New Mexico United at 4 p.m. this Saturday, March 9. That game will be shown locally on KDKA+ and broadcast nationally on SiriusXM FC Channel 157.

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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).

Glory on the Grass

Riverhounds MF Kenardo Forbes

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