PITTSBURGH – With the creation of two amateur soccer clubs in Pittsburgh in 2014, six members of the Pitt men’s soccer team earned the chance to participate at a high level and increase their exposure during the summer to help prepare them for their second season in the demanding Atlantic Coast Conference.
Midfielders Ryan Myers and Romeo Charron, along with goalkeeper Dan Lynd, all made the Pittsburgh Riverhounds Premier Development League (PDL) team while midfielder Michael Tuohy and backs Zane Meehan and Andrew Wright spent the summer with the Fort Pitt Regiment of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL). Both leagues provide an opportunity for elite collegiate players to hone their skills and showcase their talent while maintaining eligibility.
“The PDL and NPSL teams provide an opportunity for our players to compete during the summer against quality opposition from various areas of the eastern region,” said head coach Joe Luxbacher.
Fort Pitt Regiment came out on top of the Great Lakes East Conference in the Midwest Region, tallying 21 points by going 6-5-3. After winning its semifinal match of the Midwest Region playoffs against the Quad City Eagles, 1-0, the Regiment was ousted by the host, Landing United in overtime, 2-1.
Beginning the season on a low note with a 0-3-2 record, Fort Pitt turned things around, winning six of the next seven games. During that span, Tuohy recorded three of his four assists, all coming in wins, including in back-to-back games to begin the winning streak. Wright, who played in all but one game, added an assist in the Regiment’s 2-1 win over Erie while playing stout defense on the back line with Meehan, who appeared in six matches. In 16 games overall, Fort Pitt yielded an average of 1.06 goals per game to go along with five shutouts.
Tuohy explained how crucial it was having the opportunity to stay in Pittsburgh to continue competing.
“It proved beneficial for my preparation for the upcoming fall season. I was able to play and train on a consistent basis to stay sharp, while also maintaining a competitive edge.”
As for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, which also came into existence in 2014, the team became just one of 12 squads in the entire 64-team field that is affiliated with the United Soccer League PRO or Major League Soccer clubs, helping bridge the gap between the youth and professional levels.
The Riverhounds U23 season began on May 23 and wrapped up on July 20. Playing in the Great Lakes Division of the Central Conference, Pittsburgh finished the campaign with a 2-11-1 record. Myers led all Pitt players, appearing in eight contests and registered a pair of shots. Charron and Lynd both played in three games. Charron started in each of his appearances while Lynd made 17 saves against 27 shots faced in 226 minutes for a 3.98 goals against average.
Charron said of his experience: “The PDL is the level any player with the ambition of going professional would like to play at. As a young, ambitious player discovering American soccer, I could only embrace being a part of a PDL team.”
Both Tuohy and Charron, foreign-born players, feel the addition of two amateur teams in Pittsburgh has the chance to attract more players to the city in the future.
“After our success this summer in our debut season, I have no doubt that in the coming years, soccer has the potential to really gain a large following in Pittsburgh,” said Tuohy.
Charron echoed Tuohy’s sentiments, adding that the teams “will attract more and more good players to the various Pittsburgh colleges and raise the soccer level and enthusiasm in the city.”
All six Pitt players will convene in Oakland with the rest of their Panthers teammates on August 12 to begin preseason preparations. Five days later on Sunday, Aug. 17, Pitt will travel to Saint Francis for the first of three exhibition contests.