Pittsburgh Riverhounds midfielder/defender Dani Rovira is set for his sixth season with the club as one of seven players to have their contract options exercised for the 2024 USL Championship season. | Photo courtesy Chris Cowger / Pittsburgh Riverhounds
PITTSBURGH – Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC announced on Wednesday its first roster moves ahead of the 2024 USL Championship season, exercising seven contract options to bring the club’s total number of players under contract to 11 for the next campaign. The transactions are pending league and federation approval.
Longtime Hounds defender/midfielder Dani Rovira will be back for a sixth year with the club after having his contract option exercised, while forward/wing back Langston Blackstock, midfielders Junior Etou and DZ Harmon, and defenders Mike DeShields, Pat Hogan and Illal Osumanu will each be entering their second seasons with the club.
Those players join the four who were already under contract for 2024: forward Edward Kizza and midfielders Kenardo Forbes, Danny Griffin and Robbie Mertz.
The group of 11 already is the largest retained from the previous season under coach Bob Lilley, and one of the largest in club history, as the team looks for continuity from its successful 2023 season in which it won the USL Championship Players’ Shield for the first time.
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC’s success under Head Coach Bob Lilley has regularly seen year-on-year turnover, but the core group that is set to return provides a solid group to rebuild around as the club takes aim at another strong campaign in 2024.
The absence of 2023 Championship Player of the Year Albert Dikwa and Defender of the Year Arturo Ordóñez is notable, however, as is that of Jamaican Men’s National Team goalkeeper Jahmali Waite, who has emerged impressively over his two seasons with the club. The work for Lilley and new Sporting Director will be to find ways to either retain more of the squad that earned it silverware this past season, or weave their usual magic in finding pieces that fit for what the Hounds continue to strive for.