PITTSBURGH (May 2, 2018) – Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC professional team and the Riverhounds Development Academy (RDA) has announced the official launch of the club’s Pathway Program, which will integrate select RDA boys who have been identified as top performers into the professional team training environment.
Serving as a link between the professional team and RDA, this initiative is designed to create a structured and direct on-field developmental relationship between the two channels. The player pool will initially include current members of the Under-17 and 18/19 RDA Boys ECNL sides, but will also stretch into both the Under-15 and Under-16 age groupings.
“This program is years in the making,” Sporting Director Jason Kutney said. “It represents the culmination of tremendous efforts to raise the standard on our boy’s side and an overarching vision to directly link youth to pro.”
Identified “Pathway Players” will be brought into professional team training sessions on a rotational basis, which will be established and managed by Kutney in conjunction with the Riverhounds SC professional team staff. These players will be cycled into select opportunities, allowing time to nurture long-term potential in young athletes who demonstrate the qualities necessary to advance to a higher level of competition.
Due to the morning training times of the professional team, the majority of sessions in 2018 will take place through the summer while schooling is on hiatus. The rise of non-traditional educational programs, such as cyber school, may offer additional options to keep players involved on a year-round basis.
“The intention of the program is to introduce players to the intensity of the professional environment,” Kutney said. “This will alter our landscape entirely, fostering an unparalleled stimulation to player development within our entire club.”
“We are fortunate to have a very experienced staff working with our Academy players, many with high level playing backgrounds,” Riverhounds SC head coach Bob Lilley said. “They are continually raising the bar for our players and the next step is to start integrating them with the pro team. I, along with the other first team coaches, are excited to help facilitate the further development of these players on their soccer journeys. We are optimistic that in the near future some will merit opportunities to play with our top team.”
The first batch of RDA players selected to participate in the Pathway Program will be notified in the coming weeks. The program will take on varying forms based upon performance levels of RDA players. The professional team staff will work with RDA coaches and directors to manage expectations, physical workload and short and long-term planning.