Kevin Kerr and Neco Brett are in the midst of their first season playing together, but they looked more like long-time teammates when Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC battled Toronto FC II last Saturday.
Just 24 minutes after Kerr assisted Brett on a tally that pushed the Hounds ahead, 1-0, the duo was at it again – this time trading roles. After receiving the first pass in a give-and-go sequence, the Kingston, Jamaica native effortlessly returned a ball with the inside of his left foot to the Hounds veteran, who then one-timed a shot into the twine to provide Pittsburgh with a 2-0 lead.
“It’s funny,” Kerr said. “I told him before the game, I’d get him one. After the first goal went in, I asked him, ‘now get me one.’ And he did.”
Catalyzed by these two goals, Pittsburgh defeated Toronto FC II, 2-1. Riverhounds SC (4-0-3) now returns home for its first-ever clash with Indy Eleven (4-2-1) at 7 p.m. on Friday at Highmark Stadium. As he leads the Hounds with 14 chances created this season, Kerr once again figures to be a key component in the Pittsburgh attack fresh off his record-setting performance.
After notching his first goal of the season against Toronto, Kerr (68 career points) passed former Pittsburgh striker Thiago Martins (67 points) for second place on the club’s all-time points list. This tally also moved “The Archer” into a three-way tie with Phil Karn and José Angulo for No. 5 all-time with 23 career league-play goals.
Now in his sixth season with the Hounds, the Scottish veteran figures to keep climbing numerous all-time leaderboards while Pittsburgh chases playoff birth in 2018.
Kerr, who was born in Münster, Germany due to his father’s military duties, said he “never wanted to be a journeyman” and has felt this way ever since he began playing in the academy of German club Arminia Bielefeld in 2003.
The midfielder played in the Arminia Bielefeld academy system for eight years and made his debut for the first team in March 2010. After making 15 career appearances for the 2. Bundesliga side, he signed with AGOVV Apeldoorn, a second-tier Dutch team, in 2012.
“Leaving [Arminia Bielefeld] was one of my biggest mistakes,” Kerr said. “I didn’t realize it at the time. From that moment on, I was looking for a new home.”
He would play one season with AGOVV Apeldoorn before returning to Germany to compete for S.C. Wiedenbruck of the Regionalliga West. After spending a campaign with the fourth-tier team, Kerr found a permanent home – one by the Monongahela River.
Since 2013, Kerr has been at the heart of the Pittsburgh offense. He set personal season-highs of 10 goals, nine assists and 29 points en route to being named USL All-League Second Team in 2015, the first of three straight seasons he logged at least 10 points.
As he has helped the Hounds to a third-place standing in the Eastern Conference table this year, the club’s all-time minutes leader has without a doubt avoided the notion of being a journeyman and has grown into something much more within the Pittsburgh soccer community.
“I’m absolutely still loving it here,” Kerr said. “I’m really enjoying the new regime, the new coaching staff, so who knows how long it can keep going.”
While Kerr continues his career in Black and Gold, he remains a fixture in the Pittsburgh offense. Through the years, he has successfully formed a rapport with numerous different players. This campaign, he wishes to do the same with a former Robert Morris University standout.
Kerr said Brett is a player he enjoys competing alongside and he hopes to form a similar bond with him like he did in previous seasons with All-League players Corey Hertzog and Rob Vincent.
Furthering offensive success this Friday will be no easy task for Kerr, Brett and the Hounds, as Indy Eleven has showcased a stout defense. The former North American Soccer League squad has allowed less than one goal per game (0.71) and has recorded four clean sheets in seven matches to date.
“It will definitely be our biggest test at home,” Kerr said. “We just need to keep building. Under Bob [Lilley] and Mark [Pulisic], there’s certainly no place for any complacency, which is great. If a team is going to come in and going to take points, they’re going to have to work for it.”