On Saturday, Riverhounds Founder, Paul A. Heasley, passed away at his home. Heasley, of Belle Vernon, founded the team in 1999 as part of the United Soccer League’s A-League, now known as USL Pro. In that same year, the Riverhounds were named the A-League Organization of the Year, packing crowds into Bethel Park High School to watch soccer develop at the professional level in Pittsburgh.
Current Riverhounds Head Coach, Justin Evans, was the first player drafted by the Pittsburgh Riverhounds and Mr. Heasley in 1999. According to Evans, Mr. Heasley stepped up behind the game of soccer and started the club on the journey toward Highmark Stadium.
"It was very sad to hear the news of Mr. Heasley's passing Saturday," said Evans. "He was a gentle visionary and should always be remembered as a pioneer in the soccer community. He was truly a great and humble man, never wanting the light to shine on him, but always providing that bright light so others could shine. He will be missed by many."
"Thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends from the organization that he created and successfully ran."
In 2004, Heasley sold the team to Sports Facility LLC, owners of the Washinton Wildthings baseball team of the Frontier League. Earlier that year, the team had moved down to the USL’s Second Division, sitting just under the A-League, and had changed venues with a move from Bethel Park High School to Moon Area High School in Moon Township, PA.
The Riverhounds have only officially retired one number in club history. The number “99” was retired in honor of Mr. Heasley and the commencement of the Riverhounds in 1999.
Prior to Sunday’s game against Antigua, the Riverhounds will hold a 99-second moment of silence in honor of Mr. Heasley.
The Riverhounds would like to extend sincere condolences to the entire Heasley family.