Richmond Kickers

Kickers Announce Initial Outfield Roster Decisions for 2024

December 4, 2023 - United Soccer League One (USL1)
Richmond Kickers News Release

RICHMOND, Va. - The Richmond Kickers announced their initial roster of returning outfield players for the 2024 season, on Monday, including one option exercised as the club prepares for its 32nd consecutive season.

Leading the returnees is three-time USL League One MVP, and three-time USL League One Golden Boot winner, Emiliano Terzaghi. The Argentine led the Kickers with 10 goals in 2023 and became the first player in league history to score double-digit goals in four consecutive seasons - extending his all-time goal-scoring record to 55 total league goals.

Nil Vinyals, Zaca Moran, Nathan Aune, and Chris Cole return for their fourth seasons with the Kickers after all originally joining the club in 2021.

Vinyals put together a career year in 2023 that saw him earn his first All-League First Team honor. The Spaniard finished second in the league with 66 chances created during the regular season while tying for first on the team with four assists and finishing second with six goals scored.

Aune and Moran played the second and third-most league minutes on the team, respectively, while Aune started all 31 of his appearances and Moran started all 30 of his. In central defense, Aune led the team with 121 clearances while winning 72 percent of his aerial duels, 69 percent of his tackles, and 66 percent of his total duels. Moran anchored the midfield, winning the most tackles and interceptions of any non-defender on the team, and he added one assist to his points tally.

Cole started eight of 15 league appearances and registered 956 minutes played. He also started the Kickers' Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match at MLS side D.C. United when the Kickers nearly forced a result in a closely-contested 1-0 defeat.

Dakota Barnathan and Simon Fitch return for their third seasons with the club after playing major roles on the backline since joining in 2022. Fitch started all 32 of the Kickers' league matches, racking up 2,838 minutes played which ranked fourth-most amongst USL League One outfield players and sixth-most overall. Barnathan was a fixture in central defense alongside Aune before an injury cut his season short. The VCU alum led the team in interceptions and won 95 percent of his tackles.

João Gomiero returns after a promising first professional season that saw him finish third on the team in goals, assists, and chances created. The midfielder announced himself to the league in May 2023 with a long-range strike at eventual champions North Carolina FC that finished third on SportsCenter's SC Top 10.

Justin Sukow returns for a second year with the Kickers after his contract option was picked up. The 25-year-old midfielder started 26 of 30 league appearances in 2023, totaling 2,174 minutes played which ranked sixth on the team. He scored two goals in his first campaign with the Roos which included the league's second-ever Olimpico goal.

Late signees in the 2023 season, Landon Johnson and Beckett Howell both prepare for their first full seasons as professional players after initially signing with the Kickers under USL Academy contracts during the 2023 season. The Richmond United alumni became the first two players in Kickers' history to go pro from the academy. Johnson also became the club's youngest-ever professional player.

Johnson logged 320 minutes played in three starts across 11 appearances in USL League One. His debut came in the club's international friendly against Comunicaciones FC on July 18, 2023.

Howell grew into an important contributor down the final stretch of the 2023 season, starting the final four matches of the USL League One regular season and amassing 338 of his 429 total league minutes played in that run of matches. He made 13 total appearances for the club in all competitions.

More roster details will be shared throughout the offseason and preseason ahead of the 2024 season. The Kickers will begin their 2024 campaign at league debutants, Spokane Velocity FC on March 16, 2023. Then, the Roos will return to RVA to host South Georgia Tormenta FC on March 23, 2024, at 6 p.m. during the club's USL League One home opener.

Darren Sawatzky, Richmond Kickers' Head Coach and Chief Sporting Officer said:

"We are looking forward to getting back to winning games for the fans here in Richmond. The core group of players returning are the foundation of this initiative, and we are all ready to get back to work. We will work to build a roster of character players that the community can be proud of as we get back to winning games and chasing trophies."

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