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Bothe Rises From Kickers Youth To Pro Ranks

February 23, 2010 - United Soccer League Championship (USL) - Richmond Kickers News Release

RICHMOND, VA - (Tuesday, February 23, 2009) - The Richmond Kickers are pleased to announce that former Kickers youth player, Roger Bothe, signed with the Kickers pro team following his collegiate career at William & Mary. Bothe joins the return of Kickers midfielder Ross Mackenzie as well as rookie midfielder Jonathan Villanueva, out of the University of Virginia. The new signings will be eligible pending USSF approval.

A native of Chester, Virginia, Bothe spent seven seasons with the Kickers youth system, joining the club as a U-15 Elite player in 2002 before graduating to the Kickers Premier Development League team, the Richmond Kickers Future, in 2006. Making 22 appearances over three seasons with the Future, Bothe epitomizes the Kickers vertically integrated player development system as the first player to rise from the youth to the pro ranks within the club.

"Roger's signing is a significant moment in Kickers history," comments Leigh Cowlishaw, Director of Soccer and Head Coach. "He will be the first of our youth players to return to Richmond and play professionally. We fully expect that many more will follow this path from youth to the pros, displaying the passion and commitment that comes with representing your hometown team."

Bothe concluded his collegiate career at William & Mary as co-captain, receiving numerous accolades including VaSID All-State First Team, All-CAA Second Team, NSCAA All-South Atlantic Region Second Team and Scholar All-American Second Team honors. During his senior year, Bothe spearheaded the Tribe's defense, tied for second on the team by tallying five assists for the season, and scored a goal in the Tribe's 7-0 win over Richmond on September 23. Before starting nearly every game at William & Mary, Bothe was a standout at Thomas Dale High School, taking the 2005 and 2006 Gatorade Virginia High School Player of the Year and VHSCA Group AAA Male Athlete of the Year awards.

The Kickers welcome the return of midfielder Ross Mackenzie, who re-signs after making 12 appearances with the 2009 Championship team. He tallied 10 shots, and scored one goal in the Kickers 5-0 win against the Harrisburg City Islanders on June 6. Before joining the Kickers in 2009, Mackenzie registered four goals and four assists during his rookie professional season with the Wilmington Hammerheads, and joined the Carolina RailHawks of the USL First Division in 2008.

"Ross brings a wealth of pro experience and was an important contributor in last season's championship success," states Cowlishaw. "He is focused on making a major impact this season which will no doubt bode well for the team."

A 2006 graduate of Old Dominion University, Mackenzie captained and led the Monarchs to the Sweet 16 his senior year. Finishing third on the team in points with 13 that season, the 5'11" midfielder tallied 14 goals and added 13 assists for 41 points during his collegiate career. Selected to the All-District, All-Metro, All-Region and All-State First Teams as a senior at Clover Hill High School in Midlothian, VA, Mackenzie notched 29 goals and added 20 assists over two seasons. Mackenzie was also a member of the 2005 Richmond Kickers Future squad that claimed the PDL Eastern Conference Championship en route to the National Semifinals.

Villanueva joins the Kickers in 2010 after leading the University of Virginia to the NCAA Championship last fall. His two assists in the semifinal win over Wake Forest boosted the Cavaliers to the title match, earning the College Cup's Most Outstanding Offensive Player award. During a standout career at UVA, the 5'10" midfielder tallied nine goals and 18 assists. He was named to the ACC All-Tournament Team in 2008 and ACC All-Freshman Team in 2006. A product of Grand Prairie, TX, Villanueva came to UVA after scoring 31 goals and 13 assists at South Grand Prairie, helping them to advance to the regional quarterfinals as a senior.

"Jonathan is a major signing for the club" adds Cowlishaw. "He is a player of exceptional quality that is capable of producing moments of brilliance as demonstrated in the NCAA Final Four Tournament."

Villanueva will make his professional debut against his alma mater in the Kickers home opening Pro-Am Challenge on Saturday, April 3. Kickoff is set for 4:00 p.m. at the University of Richmond Stadium. Tickets are on sale now for $12/adults and $7/youth ages 3-17 via

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