The Pittsburgh Riverhounds of USL PRO have formed an affiliate partnership with the Houston Dynamo of Major League Soccer, it was announced today by Riverhounds CEO Jason Kutney.
The deal will enable Houston to loan a minimum of four MLS-contracted players to Pittsburgh for the 2014 USL PRO season.
Kutney says the affiliation is more proof that the USL PRO team is working to reach the top level of soccer in the United States.
“In partnering with a top MLS side like Houston Dynamo, the Riverhounds are now on a path to the top, both on and off the field,” says Kutney.
“In doing our homework, we found Pittsburgh to be a very professional organization and a club that will provide the right environment for our young players to develop,” says Dynamo President Chris Canetti. “In particular, we like their ownership structure, new downtown stadium, training center and technical philosophy.”
The partnership between USL PRO and MLS, now entering the second year of a multi-year affiliation, has had immediate impact for teams in both leagues.
“The partnership between the Dynamo and Riverhounds is a great step forward as we move into the second year of USL PRO’s partnership with Major League Soccer,” USL President Tim Holt said. “The Dynamo’s Brian Ownby was a standout for Richmond last season, and this partnership will offer more opportunity for Houston’s young players to gain valuable experience with a club that is swiftly rising in USL PRO. In the past year, the Riverhounds have become a model franchise, and we believe this will accelerate their growth in their local market, and offer their fans an outstanding product on the field.”
“It’s an exciting time to be a soccer fan in Pittsburgh,” says Riverhounds Head Coach Justin Evans. “Houston has been a top team in Major League Soccer since they joined in 2006 and I think affiliating with them definitely shows the positive ambition of our club.”
Evans also looks forward to working with Dynamo Head Coach Dominic Kinnear.
“Dom and I have known each other for many years. I’m excited to be able to work hand in hand with such a great person, coach and soccer visionary.”
“Justin has a good reputation and had a good playing career in MLS,” says Kinnear. “Our players will be fortunate to be play under an established coach.”
Added Kutney, “We are committed to top-level soccer development, resources, and experience in Pittsburgh, regardless of league or level.”