[RICHMOND UNITED]The Richmond Kickers and Richmond Strikers are merging their Development Academy programs, marking the first time two current Development Academy clubs have united their academy programs. Players at the three levels (U-18, U-16 and U-14) won't be required to pay traditional player fees or league travel expenses.
The Kickers (part of the USL PRO club's program) and Strikers will be hosting membership-only informational meetings on Dec. 2. The two clubs will jointly host a Town Hall meeting on Jan. 11.
“We are excited to collaborate with the Richmond Strikers on this new initiative,” said Richmond Kickers president Rob Ukrop in a joint statement. “By uniting our club’s players and sharing resources, we have created the perfect player development environment for Richmond’s best players. The Richmond United brand will be consistent with the Kickers' current player development model, enabling our top boys players to compete with the best clubs in the country, while continuing to benefit from potential professional team opportunities in the future.”
Slated to begin play in the fall of 2014, Richmond United will field U-13/14, U-15/16 and U-17/18 Development Academy teams. The coaching staff includes Ihor Dotsenko, Leigh Cowlishaw, Jay Howell and Michael Milazzo. The teams will train and play home games at two of the top soccer specific complexes in the nation, Ukrop Park and Striker Park.
"This is a great opportunity for our two nonprofit organizations to work together to further our missions by providing the most promising male soccer players in the Richmond area in these age groups with the opportunity, regardless of financial means, to train and compete at the national level,” added Richmond Strikers chairman John Mumford.