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Meet the Loudoun United FC forward aiming to be on the runway for the Paris Olympics

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 05/20/24, 5:31PM EDT


New Zealand’s Riley Bidois scored his first goal for United this weekend ahead of Open Cup opportunity

Loudoun United FC's Riley Bidois is hoping to be part of New Zealand's squad for the Men's Soccer Tournament at the Paris 2024 Olympics in July. | Photo courtesy Patrick Garber / Loudoun United FC

After being held out as a precaution due to injury early in the tournament, Loudoun United FC’s Riley Bidois made his opportunity to make an impression for New Zealand in the final of Oceania Olympic Qualifying count.

The 22-year-old forward scored a hat trick within the opening 20 minutes and finished the game with five goals in a 9-0 victory that booked the country’s berth in the Men’s Soccer Tournament at this summer’s Paris 2024 Olympics last September.

Now, the aim for Bidois is to be on the plane when Head Coach Darren Bazely’s squad is announced for July’s tournament, and the former Wellington Phoenix prospect is doing so at the USL Championship’s Loudoun United FC.

While there have been a few more downs than ups as he gets acclimated to his new surroundings, this past Saturday offered a potential breakthrough as United found one of its best performances of the season overall. Bidois not only opened the scoring with a Goal of the Week-nominated finish, but was impressive throughout, recording five shots overall, putting three on target and notching four chances created in a Player of the Match performance that helped Loudoun to a 3-0 victory against Monterey Bay F.C.

“Proud of the guys,” said United Head Coach Ryan Martin after the game. “It was good to see Cole Turner back in the mix, Pape getting his debut, and Riley scoring his first goal. Overall, it was a great night.”

Bidois and his Loudoun teammates now get their biggest stage yet this season with a visit on Tuesday night to Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles FC at BMO Field. United will enter an underdog against a strong LAFC lineup which has eyes on for the first time.

If the visitors earn a victory, the spotlight could shine even more brightly on its Olympic hopeful.

Now here are a few other young standouts that stood out this past weekend…

- Ray Serrano, Louisville City FC: The 21-year-old scored his fifth goal of the season, setting a new individual single-season high, and had two shots and two chances created after coming on as a halftime substitute.

- Jack Panayotou, Rhode Island FC: The 19-year-old notched his second assist off a set piece in as many games and had four chances created while completing 18 of 18 passes in Rhode Island’s loss on the road in Colorado Springs.  

- Mohamed Traore, Phoenix Rising FC: The 21-year-old center back had a solid all-around game in Phoenix’s shutout of Miami FC, winning 4 of 4 duels and 2 of 2 tackles and completing 71 of 78 passes.

- Matai Akimboni, Loudoun United FC: The 17-year-old center back stepped into United’s back on loan from D.C. United and completed 64 of 69 passes while making two clearances and five recoveries.

- Rocco Ríos Novo, Phoenix Rising FC: The 21-year-old shot-stopper posted his third shutout of the season with a three-save performance against Miami FC and a -0.98 Goals Prevented mark.

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