PITTSBURGH (December 4, 2019) – Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC has announced its initial offseason roster plans, picking up the contract options of eight players.
The team has elected to pick up the options of the following players: Steevan Dos Santos, Kenardo Forbes, Mark Forrest, Ryan James, Robbie Mertz, Dani Rovira, Thomas Vancaeyezeele and Anthony Velarde.
Six players had their options declined by the club: Prosper Figbe, Sammy Kahsai, Austin Pack, Caleb Smith, Uchenna Uzo and Christian Volesky.
The subsequent nine players are currently out of contract: Tobi Adewole, Neco Brett, Mouhamed Dabo, Jordan Dover, Noah Franke, Joe Greenspan, Kevin Kerr, Kyle Morton and Todd Pratzner.
“We are currently assessing the market for potential free agent USL acquisitions as well as continuing conversations with our players who are out of contact,” head coach Bob Lilley said. “In addition to holding combines primarily for college players, we are also looking at foreign players who have not previously played in the USL Championship. Although we feel good about our returning core, we recognize the importance of building on the successes of the last two seasons with an even stronger roster in 2020.”
Returning to the club are two All-League honorees. Forbes, All-League First Team, led the club with nine assists and was a finalist for the USL Championship MVP award. Vancaeyezeele, All-League Second Team, demonstrated tremendous positional versatility within the midfield and backline this past season en route to starting 30 of 31 games played.
Other notable players returning include Dos Santos, who posted a career-high 24 points (10 goals and four assists) in 2019, James, who led the club with 74 interceptions this past year, and Mertz, a Pittsburgh native who logged six goals and four assists in his rookie campaign.
In addition, Forrest, Rovira and Velarde return to the club for a second straight season after completing their rookie campaigns.
This past weekend, the Hounds held their annual open tryouts, which had more than 80 athletes participate. The club will hold its invitational trial this coming Saturday and Sunday.