Pittsburgh Riverhounds

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Wild! Coach loses USL job to D-2 requirements

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Coaching changes happen all the time, but this is one you don’t see every day.

The USL’s Pittsburgh Riverhounds have hired one of the best coaches in league history away from rival Rochester Rhinos, but that’s not the rub of the story here

That Bob Lilley would be wanted by any number of teams is no surprise, but that he’s filling a vacancy caused by United States Soccer Federation’s requirement for Division II teams feels insane.

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USSF requirements demand that a coach should hold its A License. Dave Brandt doesn’t have one despite terrific tenures with NCAA Division III college power Messiah and the D-1 program at the Naval Academy.

Pittsburgh missed the playoffs this year while Lilley again led a the low-budget Rhinos to the playoffs with assistants Mark Pulisic (Yes, that’s Christian’s dad) and Brendan Murphy, so this is a terrific pickup for Rochester.

But Brandt left a decent gig at Navy for this spot. Was there no solution for US Soccer?

“We are highly disappointed with this news, but understand the necessity to comply with the league’s decision,” Riverhounds owner Tuffy Shallenberger said. “Dave has been nothing shy of first class since joining the organization. We are incredibly grateful for his contributions to the Riverhounds and he has left the team in a significantly better position than when he arrived.”

Heck of a name on that owner, to be sure!

On the surface, this isn’t the fault of the USL or the Riverhounds, rather the requirements of D-II sanctioning. And we’re sure that Brandt was given some sort of notice to sort it out.

Those have probably been under a microscope after the NASL sued the USSF, but at some point it’s ridiculous to punish a good coach that Pittsburgh wished to employ because he hasn’t gone to your classes.

USL player who launched brutal attack has contract terminated

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The Pittsburgh Riverhounds have terminated the contract of Romeo Parkes following his shocking on-field attack last weekend.

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On Saturday Jamaican international Parkes, 25, sent a flying kick into the back of New York Red Bulls defender Karl Ouimette after both players had been sent off.

Parkes has since apologized but that hasn’t saved him his job.

In a statement released by the Riverhounds, team owner Tuffy Shallenberger apologized and revealed they had terminated Parks’ contract with immediate effect.

“I want to apologize to the fans and the Red Bulls II organization, as well as Karl Ouimette, for what transpired at the game last night,” Shallenberger stated. “Romeo’s actions are not representative of what our organization and its Academy stands for in regards to helping promote and grow this sport in not only the Greater Allegheny area, but also nationwide.

“We understand the severity of this situation and made it a point to respond as quickly as possible within our power.”

Head coach Mark Steffens reflected Shallenberger’s sentiments.

“As I stated last night, this is an unfortunate situation and one that was embarrassing for not only myself, but also the staff and the organization.” Steffens said. “The discipline being handed out is one that we, as a staff, consider to be fair and completely justified. The actions were not representative of what this team stands for as a whole.”

You can watch Parkes’ actions in the video above.

He only signed for the Riverhounds this February and has scored five goals in his first six games for the third-tier outfit.

After being called up to Jamaica’s preliminary 40-man Copa America Centenario roster for the tournament this summer, it seems highly unlikely Parkes will be able to find another team in the U.S. in the foreseeable future.

WATCH: Vile attack in USL match should lead to massive suspension

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People make mistakes, but this one is close to unforgivable and perhaps should see a USL player in an American police station.

Pittsburgh Riverhounds forward Romeo Parkes turned into a very different sort of attacker during an incident with New York Red Bulls II defender Karl Ouimette.

A Canadian national teamer, Ouimette had been shown red and continued to chatter with Parkes as he walked off the field. Parkes responds by kicking Ouimette in the back as the defender walked away.

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Ouimette needed to make taken off the field by stretcher, but later did board the team bus. The USL moved quickly to suspend Parkes. The league says it will begin a “full investigation” of the incident.

Regardless of injury, Parkes shouldn’t play again this year. Want to send a message? That’s how you do it. The USL should say, “This doesn’t stand in our league.” Even if it emerged that Ouimette said or did something incredibly heinous, does that change the fact that Parkes kicked a guy in or near the spine?

Parkes has apologized to everyone, including the city of Pittsburgh because, well, he better.

Even tennis legend Martina Navratilova was moved by the incident:

Stadium development advances, now heavier in lower tiers

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Stadium development was Major League Soccer’s top development initiative for more than a decade. With the facility element more or less in place now – yes, a couple of sticky exceptions persist – MLS development priorities are shifting.

But the domestic game’s facility initiative moves forward, with an increasing number of second- and –third tier professional organizations now gaining ground on the hunt for proper grounds.

From The Shin Guardian, here is a great first-person account, layered with fantastic context, on the Pittsburgh Riverhounds newly opened grounds.

The club’s former, prolonged facility chase looks so familiar to anyone who has seen the lower-tier clubs bounce around between like vagrants between high school stadiums, Spartan public facilities, ill-fitting football stadiums, small college grounds or retro-fitted minor league baseball grounds.

Well, the Riverhounds’ new Highmark Stadium, with picturesque views of downtown just across the Monongahela River from downtown Pittsburgh is no temporary stop. The place (pictured above in development) looks spectacular.

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The facility opened just a week after the San Antonio Scorpions debuted inside their own new ground, the 8,000-seat Toyota Field.

This is the grass-roots stuff that remains so important for soccer’s ongoing development in the United States. This is the brick and mortar permanence that the professional game has often lacked. As the piece from Shin Guardian put it:

This was an important night not just for Pittsburgh, but for all of US Soccer. Soccer specific stadiums give the beautiful game a validity and presence that gets the attention of those who, like many Pittsurghers, traditionally forget about the sport, and a permanence for locals who love it, like the Steel Army and the droves of multicultural supporters in San Antonio.