PITTSBURGH (May 19, 2022) — Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC and the Riverhounds Development Academy are happy to reintroduce the Hounds’ Pathway Program, bridging the gap between our oldest Academy boys players and the professional team.
The Pathway Program will bring some of the top-performing, high-school-age boys from the RDA into training with the pro team. That will give them the opportunity to be instructed by head coach Bob Lilley and his staff in a professional environment, giving them a firsthand experience of what it is like to compete at the next level.
From the pro team’s side, the Pathway Program will also provide a chance for Coach Lilley and assistant coach Dan Visser to evaluate and give added perspective to RDA players, and it opens the door for deserving young players to potentially earn a regular spot with the First Team on an amateur USL Academy contract.
“The Pathway Program is something we have wanted to bring back, and it’s a valuable tool for our academy players,” Lilley said. “Under the direction of Scott Gibson, the academy has flourished, and with talented and experienced coaches, our top academy players continue to close the gap to the First Team.
“As you see more young players coming into the USL Championship and contributing, the next step for our club is to identify and develop those players from our own system who can come into the First Team and contribute. In the long term, it will only help our team if we are able to develop our top homegrown players to the point they are ready to make the leap to the professional level.”
The Pathway Program had been on hiatus since the onset of the pandemic in 2020, as USL rules governing player health and safety limited the team’s ability to bring extra players into practice. With the chance to bring the program back this season, the Academy staff is eager to once again offer its players a training opportunity unique to the Hounds in the Western Pa. region.
“We’re delighted to welcome back the Pathway Program. This opportunity will allow our top-performing Academy boys the chance to experience the environment at the pro level,” Gibson said. “It’s crucial for the development of our Academy players to experience the speed of play, standards, and professionalism that our pro players set each day. The feedback will only further enable their development as young players, and we are thankful to the coaching staff for this opportunity.”
Details on this year’s Pathway Program, including dates and participants, are still being finalized as the Hounds Academy also prepares for its upcoming USL Academy League schedule this June and July.
For more information about the Riverhounds Development Academy, visit www.riverhounds.com/academy.