Crew SC takes on Riverhounds as USL partners

Columbus Crew SC will have its third USL partner in three years as it reached an affiliate partnership agreement with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds for the 2016 campaign.

The agreement between the two clubs allows Crew SC to send players from its roster to Pittsburgh on loan during the 2016 season. Its last two partners -- Dayton and Austin -- have for different reasons not returned to the USL. In Austin's case, it has to take a year off as its stadium was flooded and it has been unable to find a suitable home.

“We look forward to beginning a USL affiliation with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds as we continue to strengthen our player development efforts,” said Crew SC sporting director and head coach Gregg Berhalter. “Pittsburgh’s philosophies and values on and off the field -- from ownership to the coaching staff -- are like-minded and exactly what we are looking for in a partnership. Their head coach Mark Steffens is a Hall of Fame coach and we feel Pittsburgh will be a strong environment for success in the development of some of our younger professionals.”

The Pittsburgh Riverhounds began play as a member of the USL's former A-League in 1999. Steffens came to Pittsburgh at the beginning of the 2015 campaign after 18 years with the Charlotte Eagles, a club that he guided to the playoffs on 14 occasions, winning two USL Second Division titles.

The Riverhounds play at 3,500-seat Highmark Stadium, a soccer-specific facility overlooking Pittsburgh's downtown skyline while bordering the Monongahela River.
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