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Riverhounds sign Fox Chapel’s Pablo Linzoain to USL Academy contract for 2024

Photo courtesy Fox Chapel High School Athletics

17-year-old Fox Chapel Area High School and Riverhounds Development Academy talent eligible to play in first team matches starting this Saturday

In what has become an annual tradition for the Riverhounds and a sign of growth for the Riverhounds Development Academy, RDA 2005/06 Boys team member Pablo Linzoain has signed a USL Academy contract with the first team for the 2024 season – making him eligible to play in first team matches beginning with this Saturday’s contest against North Carolina FC at Highmark Stadium.

Linzoain becomes the third player to sign a USL Academy contract with the Riverhounds, following Wyatt Borso (2021-22) and Anders Bordoy (2023), and is the second to come through the RDA as a homegrown player alongside Bordoy. Formerly of the D.C. United MLS academy, Linzoain, who also attends Fox Chapel High School, where he was part of the Foxes’ varsity squad last Fall,  has spent the past four years with the Hounds academy and has had numerous opportunities to train with the first team over that time.

“We’re excited to be welcoming Pablo into the First Team environment. He has worked hard and matured as a player since he first trained with us, and the academy coaches have done a good job with him,” Hounds head coach Bob Lilley said in a team statement. “He is very quick, dynamic and an attacking threat that will continue to evolve training regularly with the First Team.”

USL Academy contracts have become an invaluable tool for Championship and League One clubs with growing academy programs.

Introduced in 2013, Academy Contracts allow players to sign with the first team and play in competitive fixtures to further their development while retaining high school and collegiate eligibility. Under the terms of the contract, Linzoain is eligible to appear in both first team and youth team games for the Riverhounds.

The USL also introduced a new rule ahead of the 2024 season to add-on to the opportunities given to these players, enabling USL clubs to include two players under the age of 18 in the gameday roster on top of the standard 18-man roster for matches (totaling 20 available players on a given matchday). This allows for deeper benches for matches, while ensuring those places are used to further young player development – a primary focus of the USL in recent years.

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